Worldwide, cigarette smoking destroys over 5 million lives yearly. In the US alone, 443,000 people die each year, according to the American Cancer Society. And 49,000 of which are linked to second-hand smoke. If this trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths by year 2030.
Despite the known risks, quitting smoking has been a great challenge for many. That’s because after several months or years of smoking, the human body becomes easily dependent on cigarettes, particularly on nicotine. The good thing is, within 20 minutes after quitting, the body starts to recover from the damage tobacco brings. So in what ways does the body react with cigarette smoke? Continue reading to find out.
1) Blood pressure increases. Do you know why your heart beats faster for a few minutes after smoking? That’s because the nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco causes your blood pressure to rise. Most people associate tobacco use with lung cancer and breathing problems. But smokers are also more likely to develop heart disease and hypertension. Smoking reduces the flow of oxygen to the heart, so it has to work harder to pump blood, leading to an increase in blood pressure. Aside from this, smoking causes damage to the cells that line the coronary arteries and blood vessels, raising your risk of heart disease, including stroke.
2) Blood flow is reduced. Regular smokers experience a dramatic drop in their blood circulation, which could result serious health problems, including inflammation. Basically, the body depends on blood circulation to supply all organs the nutrients and oxygen needed to nourish and keep them functioning. Poor blood flow is a risk factor for many illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, peripheral vascular disease, and much more.
3) Levels of carbon monoxide increases. Carbon monoxide is naturally present in the blood, as it is a by-product of metabolism. Instead of oxygen, regular smokers have higher levels of carbon monoxide in their blood. Too much of this gas can damage the brain, the heart, and all other vital organs in the body. But within 10 hours of not smoking, the levels of carbon monoxide in the body can be reduced by half.
4) Withdrawal symptoms are experienced. The unregulated levels of nicotine in tobacco can create an imbalance in the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, affecting one’s mood, thoughts and behavior. During withdrawal, the body experiences a host of negative symptoms, like irritability, headache, anxiety, fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
5) Senses are impaired. Another negative bodily response to tobacco use is altered senses. People who have smoked for a long time often have impaired sense of smell and taste. But the good news is this – when you quit smoking now, you can restore these senses, especially when the toxins in tobacco has completely been eliminated from your body.
As you can see, the body does not positive react to smoking. Your body knows that smoking is dangerous so it will do everything to protect you from it. But then, tobacco is such a powerful stick of toxins that can expose your body to a wide range of illnesses. So before it’s too late, consider stopping smoking today.