Despite repeated claims from the tobacco industry, smoking never has been a safe activity and it remains unsafe today. A look at the warning on any pack of cigarettes reveals the potential for lung cancer and heart disease. But, even many longtime smokers remain unaware of the short and long-term adverse effects of this addiction in the guise of a simple habit.
High Blood Pressure
Smoking increases blood pressure. Hypertension is a common disorder experienced by smokers. What is less realized is that smoking just one cigarette can raise blood pressure five to ten mm Hg for as long as thirty minutes. Since one-third of all deaths in America are from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, anyone who is smoking should have their heart checked on an annual basis.
Lung Cancer in Women
Lung cancer among women was historically ranked far below breast cancer as a fatal disease. The rise of smoking among females since the 1960s has changed that dramatically. According to the Cancer Research Campaign, lung cancer now actually surpasses breast cancer as a killer of women. Of course, lung cancer is a major cause of death among men.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children of women who are smokers are more likely to suffer from low birth rates and a host of birth defects ranging from a cleft palate to a club foot. The children also can suffer heart defects or an imperforate anus, meaning there is literally no opening through which feces can pass. The full extent of what harm smoking does to unborn fetus is still not known.
Effects on the Mouth
There are a number of both short and long term effects on the mouth from smoking. Smoking causes bad breath and, in some cases, it can be quite severe. Smoking causes a yellowing of the teeth, not to mention stains on the fingertips. The loss of the ability to taste certain flavors can be either long-term or intermittent.
Oddly, for a product that has been advertised as promoting a sense of manliness, one of the most unpleasant short term effects of smoking cigarettes is erectile dysfunction. A recent study from Tulane University concluded that there is a statistically significant link between smoking and problems getting and maintaining an erection. In addition, there is also the long term effect of infertility in women who smoke.
Studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute have found that smoking leads to anxiety and even depression. The majority of people who develop anxiety with depression, or just anxiety alone, are women. But it can also affect men, too. Making this effect all the more troubling is that most smokers believe that lighting up a cigarette actually decreases their anxiety and so are more likely to smoke when feeling the pressures and stressors of the world closing around them.
Perhaps the most common effect of smoking across the population is coughing. Nearly every smoker can expect to develop a short term cough and great many go to develop a hacking cough that lasts a lifetime. Then there are the extreme cases where a smoker develops a cough so severe that it actually interferes with their daily interactions from conversing to working to playing games and sports.