The prevalence of smoking has decreased sharply over the last 50 years. However, it is still a fairly common habit in the United States. The CDC reports that 13.7% of Americans over the age of 18 are regular smokers.
Smoking Poses Significant Health Risks to Americans
The epidemiological health effects will persist as long as millions of people use cigarettes. Some health problems are widely known, while others have not been as widely publicized.
Here are some of the most concerning health problems that smokers face. You might want to use tobacco free pouches instead to avoid them.
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The biggest reason that smoking leads to higher mortality rates is due to heart disease.
Extensive research has linked smoking with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. One study found that smokers had a 60% higher rate of dying of heart disease than non-smokers. Even former smokers had a 37% higher risk of dying of heart disease.
Higher Risk Of Cancer
Cigarettes are responsible for many different types of cancer. Smokers face an especially high risk of developing lung cancer. Between 80% and 90% of all lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
Smokers can develop other types of cancer as well. They face an increased risk of mouth, larynx, esophagus and even stomach cancer.
Severe Vision Problems
Smokers are also at a greater risk of developing long-term vision problems. Cigarettes can damage vision in a number of ways.
Smoking doubles the risk of developing cataracts. It also increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is the biggest cause of blindness in seniors, so smokers are more likely to permanently lose their vision as they age.
Increased Risk Of Diabetes
Diabetes is another serious health problem that smokers have to be concerned about. The FDA states that smokers are up to 40% more likely to be diagnosed with type two diabetes than people that don’t smoke. Smoking can also lead to worse symptoms for patients with diabetes.
There appear to be multiple reasons that smoking and diabetes-related health problems are correlated. Smokers have lower endurance and energy levels, which tends to make them less physically active. Nicotine may also reduce the effectiveness of insulin. As a result, smokers might need to produce more insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels. This can put smokers at an elevated risk of developing diabetes and place patients that have already been diagnosed with diabetes at a higher risk of serious health complications.
Ectopic pregnancy is a serious health complication that can affect pregnant women. This condition is caused by fertilized eggs being transplanted somewhere other than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening if it is not diagnosed and properly treated.
The Mayo Clinic warns that female smokers are at a higher risk of having ectopic pregnancy complications. Women that smoke more heavily are at a greater risk.
Health experts discovered a strong connection between smoking and osteoporosis decades ago. They are still trying to determine how much of the risk is due to smoking itself and how much of the problem is due to correlating risk factors. Smokers are also more likely to consume large quantities of alcohol and make poor dietary choices, which makes it harder to distinguish between the effects caused by smoking and the comorbid risk factors.
However, it is clear that smoking is a known risk factor for bone loss. Smokers are more likely to suffer from hip fractures and other complications of osteoporosis.
Smoking is also a contributing risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis. Health experts still don’t fully understand the reasons that smoking is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, there is a strong connection between the two. Medical scientists suspect that smoking weakens the immune system response for patients that are genetically predisposed to the disease. Future research might corroborate this hypothesis.
Smoking doesn’t just increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. It also leads to more severe symptoms, reduces the effectiveness of treatment and lowers the likelihood of remission.
Quitting Smoking Must be a Top Priority
Smokers face a number of significant health risks. They can reduce the severity of these concerns by participating in a smoking cessation plan.