Thanks to research, education and advertising, most people are aware that smoking cigarettes can lead to heart disease and lung cancer.
But did you know there are many other less-publicized benefits to kicking the addiction to cigarettes, besides the obvious improvement in lung quality and heart health?
Below are 7 reasons to quit smoking that might surprise you:
We can’t see the damage being done by cigarettes inside of our bodies, but perhaps the realization that smoking causes wrinkles and dark under-eye circles will give smokers the motivation to quit. The premature aging and skin damage caused by smoking can be easily viewed by looking into a mirror.
In addition to wrinkling the face by reducing the skin’s elasticity, smoking has also been shown to contribute to the sagging of breast tissue. On the positive side, once you quit smoking, this process stops, with skin quality improving soon thereafter.
2. Breast Cancer—
Speaking of breast tissue, researchers are now finding that smoking plays a bigger role in the development of breast cancer than previously realized.
The National Cancer Institute has announced that women who’ve smoked have a 30% greater risk of breast cancer than those who have never smoked.
Age-related macular degeneration is a genetic and progressive condition that leads to the loss of central vision. It has recently been determined that smoking increases the chances of age-related macular degeneration, making smokers four times more likely to eventually become blind than non-smokers.
On the positive side, quitting immediately lowers this risk, making dropping the cigarette habit a great idea, especially if macular degeneration runs in the family.
Yes, smoking can affect sexual desire and performance, lowering the sex drives of both women and men, and leading to impotence in males.
Men who smoke have been shown in studies to have a 60% higher erectile dysfunction rate than non-smoking men. This is because nicotine constricts blood vessels and impairs blood flow, which directly affects the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
While this can cause permanent damage, the vascular system may heal over time, and many patients find that after cessation of smoking, blood flow increases immediately.
Smoking can make you sad. This goes against what is commonly believed because nicotine is a stimulant, which we generally associate with mood and energy elevation. But despite their stimulant status, smoking can lead to depression and anxiety disorders.
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that smokers were twice as likely to suffer from depression as non-smokers. So if you’re hanging onto this unhealthy habit because you think it makes you happy, give life without cigarettes a try—it may boost your spirits.
A painful autoimmune disease that can cause tissue damage via inflammation, lupus is exacerbated by the negative health effects of smoking.
Smokers have been also been shown in studies to have a slightly increased risk of developing lupus, but fortunately, this risk disappears once they stop smoking.
Often, food and drink are blamed for acid reflux disease, but research has proven that smoking drastically increases the occurrence and severity of heartburn.
Those with acid reflux issues often also have esophagitis, which can be irritated by cigarette smoke, making heartburn more painful.
If you’re seeking the motivation to quit, maybe one of the lesser known ways that giving up cigarettes can improve your health, body and life you’ve learned about above will give you the push you need to stop smoking.
There are many tools available today to help people quit smoking, such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, medications and eCigs that wean you off traditional cigarettes by replacing smoke with vapor. Talk to your doctor today about the best plan for you, and good luck on your journey to better health!