Dangers of smoking

Tony Blay via Flickr

I always tell my smoking patients this same truth whenever I can.

Before, you get the dreaded diagnosis that starts with “C” (Cancer or COPD- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a.k.a. emphysema) in your 50’s and 60’s you will most likely endure decades of suffering from the earlier and more severe onsets of more insidious and deceptively “milder” maladies.

These include more frequent episodes of infections in general, chronic sinus infections, allergies, asthma exacerbations, heartburn, joint pains and nerve problems, oral sores, poor oral health, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Not to mention earlier onset of heart disease symptoms and speeding up the aging process in general. One simple analogy is to quantify one cigarette as aging you an extra day- ie: a pack a day habit would age you 20 days!

The above is definitely not an all inclusive list but is an accurate portrait of the 20-30 years of “health” prior to the lifelong smoker getting a mortal diagnosis.

That’s alot of issues that usually hit earlier and harder- a lot of treatment needed, more cost and loss of productivity and premature death (average 10 years less lifespan) and disability. Now, one can see why insurance for smokers cost more and why those who smoke are riskier to insure in the first place.

Fortunately, more and more knowledge and resources are available (free even) to treat this destructive and highly addictive nicotine addiction.

Does anyone in your inner circle smoke? Do me a favor by sharing this write-up with them.

About the author

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Dr. Carol

Dr. Carol- doctor, wife, mom and maker PB&J!
One of my passions is to help people Embrace change, Try new things and be BOLD for a healthier and balanced life!


    • Paula,

      Don’t lose heart. Keep giving the speech. Nicotine is highly addictive and difficult to break from. The strategy that I use in my practice is to check for my patient’s level of motivation. The more highly motivated they are, they higher the likelihood of quiting.

      For the folks that are not motivated to quit, I keep nagging (lovingly) and let them know that I will be there to help when they become ready.

  • Having a smoking grandfather and father was enough to make me never smoke. I can remember being a child and worrying about them getting cancer and having their smoke make my allergies worse. I would never want to do that to my child.

    • April,

      You don’t know how many of my patients would quit for their kids and grandkids- never for the nagging spouse though. Your child does not have to worry about you like you worried about your dad and granddad. That’s a good thing.

  • I will be a year smoke free in May . It has NOT been easy at all but I’m glad I did it. Only smokers can understand but I still miss it. I find myself waiting for break to go smoke only to realize I don’t smoke any more.

    • Way to go Amber!

      Those nicotine strongholds are tightly wired in the brain, so keep suppressing it. Your pocket book will thank you for it.

    • Nicotine is so addictive that the threat of death and disability would not deter a lot of smokers.

      I say hit them in the pocket book!

    • Nicotine addiction is one of the hardest forms of addiction. You are doing your best for the smokers around you Laura.

      All those nags add up to convincing them to quit eventually, trust me.

  • I had a double lung transplant at age 16 due to cystic fibrosis so I know what its like to be dependent on oxygen and to be barely able to breath. To bring this fate upon yourself by smoking is seems like such a shame of the beautiful gift of being able to breathe!

    • Agatapokutycka,
      Please don’t give up the fight to quit. Studies have shown that it takes an average of 5-6 attempts and I know people who have had more attempts than that.

      The important thing is being ready to quit. Your chances of success improves significantly when you feel done with smoking.

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