The Advantages & Disadvantages of Smoking

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Few people would argue the advantages of smoking. Ever since the Surgeon General's 1964 "Report on Smoking and Health," it has been well established that smoking is severely detrimental to one's health. In fact, the American Medical Association identifies tobacco smoking as the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Thus, while some may believe there are personal advantages to smoking, they are far outweighed by the disadvantages.

Cigarettes have many disadvantages and few alleged advantages.
Cigarettes have many disadvantages and few alleged advantages. (Image: grafvision/iStock/Getty Images)

Claimed Advantages

It is difficult to make a case for the advantages of smoking. Some of the purported advantages include a sense of calm and relaxation during and immediately after smoking a cigarette. Smokers also frequently receive a number of short breaks throughout the work day to indulge their habit. Some argue that smoking cigarettes makes one look cool, sexy and mature. Finally, many smokers find that smoking cigarettes gives them something to do with their hands.

Smoking could make you look good to some people.
Smoking could make you look good to some people. (Image: badmanproduction/iStock/Getty Images)

Health Disadvantages

The connection between smoking and early death is irrefutable and well documented. There is an increased risk of a number of cancers, including cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, cervix, kidneys, stomach, bladder and uterus, as well as leukemia. In addition, smoking increases the risk of emphysema, heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. The last of these causes complications such as gangrene and tissue loss. Even if you don't develop any of these diseases, you will suffer from shortness of breath. Some men even suffer from impotence due to smoking.

Many diseases can be caused by smoking.
Many diseases can be caused by smoking. (Image: newphotoservice/iStock/Getty Images)

Financial Disadvantages

Smoking is an expensive habit. The website CostOfSmoking.com estimates that the average cost of a smoker's habit in 2010 is $1,500 a year. This is money that could be spent on healthy habits or even hobbies. Instead, smokers literally pay this much money every year for an early death. There are a number of other indirect costs, such as higher cost of health, homeowner's and life insurance. Smokers also earn between 4 and 11 percent less than nonsmokers, according to the same website.

Smoking costs an average of $1,500 a year.
Smoking costs an average of $1,500 a year. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Social Disadvantages

As smoking becomes increasingly unpopular in American society, so do smokers face social difficulties. People seek to avoid smokers due to the health risks posed by secondhand smoke. Further, smokers often have to leave social situations to go outside to feed their habit, interrupting social interactions. Some people, wishing to avoid secondhand smoke and its attendant health risks, may choose not to go to your house if you smoke indoors.

Secondhand smoke will upset others.
Secondhand smoke will upset others. (Image: Martin Novak/iStock/Getty Images)

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