The Most Frequently Overlooked Short-Term Effects of Smoking

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If you’re like most smokers, I’m sure you’re willing to admit that smoking is a dangerous and expensive habit. You may even joke among other smokers in a similar fashion to the popular Billy Joel song, “Only the Good Die Young.” Although you may be familiar with most of the smoking data out there, you may need something more to gain motivation to quit. Most research on smoking focuses on long-term effects, which is likely to remain a distant thought in the back of your mind, allowing you to feel somewhat safe for now in spite of your negative habit. The truth is that there are several immediate, short-term effects of smoking that threaten your health that are just as serious as the long-term consequences. Unfortunately, those are frequently overlooked.

After One Cigarette

Time and time again we ask, “What are cigarettes really costing you?” While the average price is nearly $6.00 a pack in the US, the true cost is much greater. Many smokers develop chronic bad breath, or smoker’s breath, almost immediately after smoking a cigarette. This is because the smell of a freshly smoked cigarette stays in your system, including your lungs for an extensive period of time, which produces a consistent stale odor on your breath. Moreover, smoking decreases the amount of saliva in the mouth which is needed to remove bacteria and microscopic food particles. The lack of saliva then causes unhealthy bacteria to build up, further exacerbating foul smelling breath.

Bad breath is not only unhealthy, but it can also affect your friendships, romantic relationships, and, of course, your sex life. It’s just no fun kissing someone when you can barely tolerate their breath. Eventually smoking cigarettes will cause even more serious oral health issues as well. Smoking places at least 24 harmful chemicals into your mouth that attack the soft tissue along the gum line. If this is left untreated, it may lead to plaque, periodontal gum disease or even oral cancer.

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30 Minutes After Smoking

Most people fail to realize just how quickly the negative effects of smoking begin. However, smoking affects heart health immediately. A report released by the Surgeon General indicated that just after 30 minutes of smoking the resting heart rate begins to increase, which is an indication that the heart is overworking.

Similarly, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, as soon as you smoke a cigarette, more than 4,000 chemicals enter your lungs and begin to cause harm. More precisely, the little thin hairs called cilia that normally clean the lungs become damaged and remain impaired for several hours as a result of smoking just one cigarette. In addition, mucus in your respiratory system begins to build up, increasing your risk of infections.

 

How Quickly Smoking Affects the Immune System

Smoking cigarettes has an immediate effect on immunity. The job of the immune system is to identify and remove dangerous substances from the body. Your immune system is at work daily eliminating viruses, harmful bacteria, and other toxins. When you smoke, you’re taking in additional toxins that place an unnecessary strain on your immune system, which must work harder to function. The harder your immune system works to fight the chemical introduced from cigarettes, the weaker it becomes. This leaves your system more vulnerable to colds, infections and influenza. As a result, smokers are generally absent from work more frequently due to illness.

 

How Quickly Smoking Affects Your Sex Life

Smoking can even hinder your sexual relationships. According to smokefree.gov, the toxic chemicals from cigarettes increase the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Smoking also affects infertility. Male smokers often have a lower sperm count and their semen contains large amounts of malformed sperm. Women who smoke also have an increased risk of experiencing infertility. Research indicates that the ability of a woman to conceive is reduced by smoking just 10 cigarettes a day. Smoking causes premature aging of the ovaries, damages the lining of the uterus and causes problems, including blockages, of the fallopian tubes. Once a woman has conceived, smoking increases the likelihood of having a spontaneous abortion.

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Your Costs Under ObamaCare

The government is cracking down on cigarette smoking, and it makes things more expensive for smokers, partly in hopes that they will quit. Cigarettes are already costing the average smoker a few thousand dollars each year, and there is a consistent demand to continue raising taxes on cigarettes.

In addition, the new healthcare plan, ObamaCare, can charge up to 50 % higher premiums to smokers than nonsmokers. This is because smoking isn’t a pre-existing condition, but as noted, it does aggravate several conditions.  Smokers may also need extensive counseling, costly nicotine replacement therapy or other treatment options to help them quit smoking which warrants more expensive health coverage.

The evidence is there that smoking has detrimental effects on the body and our wallets, and if we don’t quit soon, we might really be dying way too young. We can end this epidemic by making a choice to quit and letting our bodies regenerate. Although kicking the habit is easier said than done, you have the power to quit. Alternative treatments such as hypnosis could offer you the additional support that you need.

Roxana Saidi

In June 2011, Roxana became the third founding team member of The Kerry Gaynor Method. Kerry’s mission to rid the world of cigarettes was a very personal one as many of her friends and acquaintances had already quit smoking thanks to Kerry. Roxana regards her role at the company not as a position, but instead as a leader in a movement to eradicate death, suffering and illness due to cigarettes.

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