No matter how little or often you smoke, it is dangerous for your health and can have a significant impact on your entire body. There are both short and long term benefits to quitting smoking; and since smoking affects every body system, finding a way to quit is the most important step you can take to living a longer and happier life.
Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for more than 80,000 deaths each year. It is important to understand exactly how smoking is damaging your body and once you’ve got an understanding of exactly what is going on beneath the surface, you are much more likely to stop.
As a smoker, you are much more likely to suffer from a stroke than a non-smoker- 50% more likely in fact. Smoking can increase your chances of developing an aneurysm, a bulge in the blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall. These can burst or rupture, leading to a serious health condition which can cause brain damage and even death.
However, after just 2 years of quitting smoking, your chances of a stroke is significantly reduced.
Smoking has a significant effect on the functionality of your lungs. Coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma are just a few of the smoking-related health problems, as well as cancer, emphysema and pneumonia. Smoking can cause narrowing in your lungs’ pathways and can destroy the surrounding tissue. Smoking can cause increased breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections.
There are more obvious health impacts with smoking, and most of those are visible on a smokers’ skin, hair and nails. Substances in tobacco smoke can change the structure of your skin and can even increase the risk of skin cancer. Your fingernails and toenails aren’t immune from the effects of smoking either, as it can also increase the chances of nail infections and discolouration too.
Hair is also affected by nicotine and can increase the chances of hair loss, balding and greying. However, once you quit smoking, you will prevent further deterioration to your skin, nails and hair and you will start to feel much better in yourself.
Although these health impacts can appear extremely daunting, it’s never too later to ask for help and quit smoking for good. There are plenty of non-prescription and prescription medications that can help you quit and you can also talk to our LiveWell advisors for help and support.