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Smoking is bad for your health. That is the bottom line. There are no ways to get around it, no hidden health benefits, no tips about “moderation.” In fact, cigarettes are the only legal product whose only intended use is completely harmful to your health and proven to cause cancer.

The worst part about smoking is that cigarettes are addictive. Most people who smoke once will develop an addiction to cigarettes, and usually regret their first try. The nicotine in cigarettes is what causes the addiction. Nicotine is a drug. Nicotine is present in a very small amount in cigarettes, and the immediate effects cause smokers to feel more alert, or calm and relaxed. In reality, nicotine is a poison. It lowers your skin temperature and also reduces the blood flow to your legs and feet. Nicotine is the ingredient in cigarettes that causes heart disease and stroke. Cigarettes contain many other harmful ingredients, including formaldehyde, ammonia, cyanide, and other less familiar toxins and poisons. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that you breathe in when you smoke cigarettes.

Smoking-related illness
As a woman, you are acutely aware of the health risks and prevalence of breast cancer. But did you know lung cancer kills more women every year than breast cancer? And lung cancer is also virtually preventable. That’s right, smoking cigarettes and tobacco use most definitely cause cancer. Ninety percent of lung cancer is caused by smoking (according to the American Cancer Society). Other cancers such as cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus, bladder, liver, kidney, stomach, colon and rectum, can also be caused by smoking cigarettes.

Smoking cigarettes really does a number on your lungs. Smokers have generally weaker lungs than nonsmokers. Chronic bronchitis is a common problem with smokers, characterized by lungs that produce an excess amount of mucus, which causes a persistent “smoker’s cough.”

Emphysema is characterized by the slow deterioration of your breathing ability because the surface of the lungs is severely damaged. This is a common long-term effect of consistent smoking.

Secondhand Smoke
S econdhand smoke is a big pain for nonsmokers. It’s also harmful for your health. Secondhand smoke contains all of the same harmful ingredients as cigarettes. Furthermore, secondhand smoke causes eye irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness and can also cause bronchitis and other problems. Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children. If you are a smoker mom, please refrain from smoking around your child. Secondhand smoke can cause your child to develop bronchitis, chronic ear infections, asthma, coughing and wheezing.

Quit Smoking
If you are a smoker and think your health is doomed, there’s hope. It’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking is better for your health and your future than continuing smoking. Many times, the effects of smoking can even be reversed. Your lungs can regenerate themselves when you are young, and if you stop smoking, you can relieve your body and skin of the harmful agents present in cigarettes. Lots of options are available to you if you want to quit smoking but don’t know how. Your doctor will be able to provide useful advice. You may also want to try out products such as the nicotine patch or some prescription medications to help you quit smoking.

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