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Mar 2014
12 reasons to give up cigarettes ahead of No Smoking Day
12 reasons to give up cigarettes ahead of No Smoking Day FROM your mind to your feet, Adrian Monti asks medical experts to explain some of the lesser-known health effects of smoking ahead of No Smoking Day on March 12. No Smoking Day is on March 12 WE all know that smoking can cause cancer, heart disease and deadly lung conditions. But here, ahead of No Smoking Day on March 12, Adrian Monti asks the experts for some of the lesser-known health effects of smoking. BONES Smoking has been shown to slow down the work of osteoblasts, which are responsible for building bone cells – and the effects can be serious. “It may result in an earlier menopause, which can also increase your risk of breaking a hip later in life,” explained Siobhan Hallmark from the National Osteoporosis Society. TEETH Dentist Richard Guyver, author of Live Another 4006 Days And Improve Your Health With Dental Medicine, said smoking raises the risk of periodontal disease, a severe gum disease. “Not only does it make it worse but it also hides the early warning signs – bleeding gums – because of reduced blood supply.” TASTE Smokers’ sense of taste is worse than that of non-smokers, according to a study carried out at the Aristotle University in Greece. “Nicotine tends to monopolise smokers’ taste sensors so they can’t enjoy the full range of flavours,” said GP Martin Godfrey. SKIN Smoking ages skin by making it less elastic, leading to lines and wrinkles. It also turns skin yellow and puts you more at risk of skin cancer. EYES Most of the 4000 compounds that make up tobacco smoke are toxic and can potentially damage the eyes. Dr Susan Blakeney said: “They can reduce macular pigment density, leading to macular degeneration – the main cause of blindness in the West.” FEMALE FERTILITY Smoking can harm a woman’s chances of getting pregnant and also of carrying a pregnancy to full term. “Components in cigarettes interfere with the ability of cells in the ovary to make oestrogen and cause eggs to be prone to abnormalities,” explained Sabah Baghdadi, a consultant gynaecologist. BREATHING If you’re asthmatic, cigarette smoke increases your risk of experiencing severe symptoms. That’s because, for some asthma sufferers, tobacco smoke can irritate the airways. HAIR Studies show that smoking can make your hair thinner. Trichologist Sara Allison said: “Smoking can deplete the body of essential nutrients such as zinc, B vitamins, carotene, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C. This contributes to DNA damage at the follicles.” SMELL Smell is another sense that is affected by smoking, as it damages the sensitive nerve endings that give us our sense of smell. Daniel Tweedie, consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon, added: “Smoke also causes thicker mucus in the nose. This results in a worse sense of smell.” MALE SEXUALITY Smoking furs up the arteries. If the arteries that supply blood to the penis aren’t working properly, erections become difficult to maintain. “Erection problems are also a well-known sign of the development of a heart problem,” said Alan Doherty, a consultant urologist. FEET Smoking impairs the blood supply to your feet, making it harder for cuts to heal. “Smokers may also find they get a pain in the back of the calf when they exercise and demand on muscles is greater,” said podiatrist Jane Faulkner. MIND Psychologist Dr Lesley Parkinson said: “Nicotine addiction affects the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. “When these feel-good chemicals’ levels go up due to the nicotine, mood and concentration improve. “But tolerance to nicotine develops so the person gets less satisfaction from smoking. “They then smoke more to get the same pleasant effect. “When they try to quit, they become anxious and irritable.” • The British Heart Foundation are backing No Smoking Day with a V For Victory campaign. Find tips on quitting at nosmokingday.org.uk
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