We’re into our third week of information about the harsh effects of smoking on your body. Each week, we’re exploring how different areas of your body change and are attacked by the chemicals and toxic poisons from cigarette smoke. The Smokefree Health Harms campaign is raising awareness of the effects of smoking through TV ads and information on their website.
Each week so far, we’ve investigated how the body is altered after each cigarette, and have looked into the effects on circulation, the brain, the heart and lungs. This week – the stomach, mouth, throat and skin, and how stopping with those cigarettes an eliminate the risk of cancer and other diseases, as well as the huge impacts on your appearance.
Smoking is a huge risk factor for an endless list of problems with your body, but the more you smoke, the greater your risk of developing stomach and kidney cancers or stomach ulcers. Cigarettes can weaken the muscles that control our oesophagus and a process known as ‘reflux’ can occur, where acid from the stomach travels in the wrong direction.
Research has shown that if a person regularly smokes 10 cigarettes per day, you’re one and a half times more likely to develop kidney cancer compared to someone who doesn’t smoke. This is also increased to twice as likely if you’re someone who smokes over 20 cigarettes a day – a huge complication, and stopping smoking completely is the only way to rectify this.
There are obvious signs of mouth and throat problems with a person who smokes, and you can probably tell if someone smokes by looking at their appearance. Smoking causes unattractive and very visible problems such as bad breath and stained teeth and can also be the cause of gum disease. Smoking also damages your sense of taste and you may never be able to fully taste again like you were once able.
There is also the possibility of increased risk of cancer in your lips, tongue, throat, voice box and oesophagus. A shocking 93% of cancers in the throat are caused by smoking. However, the good news about cutting out the cigarettes from your life is that even after many years of smoking, the chance of developing head and neck cancers is reduced. After being 20 years smoke free, your risk is reduced to that of someone who doesn’t smoke at all.
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin, so it will age more quickly, becoming grey and dull. It prematurely ages your skin between a massive 10 and 20 years and you’ll be three times more likely to get facial wrinkling, mostly around the eyes and mouth. You may also gain a yellow-grey complexion and hollow cheeks, as well as cellulite caused by the amounts of toxins being pumped around your body.
Even though most of the changes are irreversible, there is good news if you stop smoking. You will be able to prevent further deterioration to your skin, and give it the care it needs to begin looking better again.
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