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Smoking In-Depth

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Please copy/paste the following text to properly cite this HowStuffWorks article:
ADAM. "Smoking In-Depth." 03 April 2007. HowStuffWorks.com.
<http://healthguide.howstuffworks.com/smoking-in-depth.htm> 16 December 2008.

Inside this Article
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Introduction
Nicotine Addiction
Health Risks
Quitting Smoking
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Failure to Quit
See more »
7. Lifestyle Changes
8. Lots More Information
9. See all S-U articles
Health Videos

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Health Risks
Effects on the Lungs

Effects on Pregnancy and Female Infertility Studies have linked cigarette smoking to many reproductive problems. and may cause genetic changes that can affect a man's offspring. One study noted that among men with high blood pressure. However.300. Ten of them quit smoking for 10 weeks. according to a study published in the Lancet. Parental smoking has been shown to affect the lungs of infants as early as the first 2 . Exposure to secondhand smoke in the home increases the risk for asthma and asthma-related emergency room visits in children who have existing asthma. smoking is directly responsible for about 90 percent of the deaths due to lung cancer. Smoking.000 such cases of such every year. Negative effects of smoking on female fertility include:  Greater risk for infertility. Heavy smoking is frequently cited as a contributory factor in impotence because it decreases the amount of blood flowing into the penis.10 weeks of life. Environmental exposure to smoke is thought to be responsible for 150.According to the American Lung Association. In less than 2 months. lung function test scores in those who stopped smoking improved considerably. Continuing to smoke during pregnancy may also cause health problems in the baby. Effects on Male Fertility and Impotence Smoking has a negative affect on a man's sexuality and fertility. Women at greatest risk for fertility problems are those who smoke one or more packs a day and who started smoking before age 18. the study also found that the risk of a heart attack among those who stopped smoking slowly decreased over time. lung function scores among those who stopped smoking improved by more than 15%. reduces sperm lifespan. In some cases.” Secondhand Smoke Secondhand smoke is produced by a burning cigarette or other tobacco product. A study in the July 2006 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed that smokers with asthma who give up smoking can improve their lung function in as little as 1 week. After just a week. Parental smoking is believed to increase the risk for lower respiratory tract infections (such as bronchitis or pneumonia) by 50%. which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Study authors say their findings show that there is a “reversible component to the harmful effects of smoking on the airways in asthma. An earlier study reported that men who smoke also have lower sex drives and less frequent sex. Smoking is also responsible for the majority of deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).000 . The small study involved 21 smokers with asthma. smoking caused a 26-fold increase in impotence. Effects on the Heart and Blood Vessels All forms of tobacco raise one's heart attack risk. . Smoking impairs sperm motility. An estimated 4 million children a year get sick from being around secondhand smoke. chewing tobacco. the risk of heart problems in people who smoke or are epoxed to smoke may be three times greater. and such abnormal lung function could persist throughout life. One 2002 trial found that men or women who smoke have lower success rates with fertility treatments. while the others continued to smoke. and being exposed to secondhand smoke greatly increase one’s risk of a heart attack.

 Postmenopausal women who smoke have a significantly greater risk for hip fracture than those who do not. perhaps because toxins in cigarette smoke damage eggs. Effects on Bones and Joints Smoking has many harmful effects on bones and joints:  Smoking can keep new bone from forming. Smoking during pregnancy is harmful to an unborn child in many ways. Women who smoke tend to start menopause at an earlier age than nonsmokers.  Earlier menopause. Click the icon to see an image of an ectopic pregnancy. Women who smoke are at high risk for loss of bone density and osteoporosis. Smoking reduces the mother's folate levels. they should be sure not to smoke in the same room as their infant. Some women carry particular genes that may make it especially likely that they will deliver low birth weight infants if they smoke. and low birth weight in their babies. although newborns of all female smokers have a greater risk for low weight. Pregnant women who smoke increase the risk for stillbirth. Pregnancy complications. . Women who smoke have a greater risk for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. Women who want to become pregnant should try smoking cessation aids before they try to conceive and make all attempts to quit. prematurity. The good news is that women who quit before becoming pregnant or even during the first trimester reduce the risk for a low birth weight baby to that of women who never smoked.   Smokers have more trouble recovering from surgeries. Effects on Unborn Child. If new mothers cannot quit. Children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy may also be at increased risk for obesity and diabetes. Click the icon to see an image of osteoporosis. a B vitamin that is important for preventing birth defects. Infant mortality rates in pregnant smokers are increased by 33%. Smokers whose jobs involve lifting heavy objects are more likely to develop low back pain than nonsmokers.  Smokers are more apt to develop degenerative disorders and injuries in the spine. mostly because of low birth rate. including knee or hip replacements. This simple behavior can considerably reduce the risks to the child.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Click the icon to see an image of inflammatory bowel disease. Other studies. a condition in which small bumps develop in the wall of the colon. A 2000 study suggested that smoking was a major risk factor in diverticulitis. Smokers with Crohn's disease who quit are said to have less severe symptoms. have found no increased risk for ulcers in smokers. Peptic Ulcers. Smoking and Diabetes Smoking may increase the risk of developing diabetes. It also reduces blood flow and production of compounds that protect the stomach lining. Click the icon to see an image of rheumatoid arthritis. The results were published in Diabetes Care. the bacteria that causes many peptic ulcers. Results of studies on the effect of smoking on ulcers are mixed. Some evidence suggests that smoking delays the healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers. pylori). Diverticulitis. In addition. published in the British Medical Journal. A study released in 2006 supports earlier beliefs that smokers have a higher risk of developing glucose intolerance. Smoking and the Gastrointestinal Tract Smoking increases acid production in the stomach. which helps control blood sugar (glucose) levels. involved 4. A 2006 study in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that smoking nearly doubled the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in postmenopausal women who did not have the most established genetic risk factor for the disease. Smoking may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in some older women. Smoking has mixed effects on inflammatory bowel disease. . but higher than average rates of Crohn's disease. Inflammatory bowel disease is the collective term for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Smoking does not appear to increase susceptibility to Helicobacter pylori (H. Diverticulitis mostly affects people over age 50.572 people. The findings suggest that chemicals in smoke could affect the pancreas. Smokers have been shown to have lower than average rates of ulcerative colitis. a condition that precedes diabetes. Researchers involved in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) looked at the relationship between smoking and diabetes and found that 25% of smokers who started the trial with normal blood sugar had diabetes 5 years later compared to 14% of non-smokers. about half of smokers relapsed after a year. and that all heavy smokers relapsed after 3 months. The study. The pancreas is the organ that produces insulin. smokers were at risk for complications from diverticulitis. however. including bleeding and abscess. One 1999 study reported that after ulcers healed. a genotype called HLA-DRB1 SE.

a swelling of the thyroid that occurs in people who do not get enough iodine.  Baldness and premature gray hair. a chemical found in tobacco smoke.Click the icon to see an image of peptic ulcers. Smoking and Disorders Related to Aging The following are age-related conditions that occur at higher rates in smokers than non-smokers:  Cataracts. Smoking and Thyroid Disease Cyanide. which makes it difficult to read. Smoking triples the risk for developing thyroid disease. particularly hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Smoking and Surgical Recovery Smokers are at increased risk for heart and circulatory problems and delayed wound healing after surgery. Click the icon to see an image of a cataract. a leading cause of blindness in older people.  Gum disease and tooth loss. which leads to hair damage. although not to the level seen with non-smokers. Click the icon to see an image of the thyroid. A government study found that more than half of the cases of severe gum disease in adults in the United States may be due to cigarette smoking. . Women smokers with subclinical hypothyroidism (a symptom-free condition in which the thyroid gland is mildly underactive) have a higher risk for developing full-blown hypothyroidism than their nonsmoking peers. Quitting smoking lowers the likelihood of needing cataract surgery in the future.  Wrinkles. Symptoms of macular degeneration include a loss of central vision. Smoking is linked to increased liver scarring (cirrhosis) caused by either excessive drinking or chronic hepatitis B or C viruses. Certain chemicals in smoke break down in hair cells. In one study. Studies confirm that smokers are nearly five times more likely to develop more and deeper wrinkles as they age compared to non-smokers. Smoking has also been linked to goiter.8 weeks prior to knee or hip replacement surgery were much less likely to suffer complications.  Macular degeneration. Hepatitis and Cirrhosis. interferes with thyroid hormone production. patients who were able to cut down or quit smoking 6 .

Incontinence. the part of the ear that carries sound to the brain. Some experts believe that losing the ability to hear high pitched sound in smokers may be due to a decrease in blood flow to the cochlea. particularly high-frequency hearing loss.  Hearing loss. One study of 600 women indicated that smokers and former smokers are twice as likely to develop incontinence as women who never smoked. .