We all know about the harmful effects of tobacco, and yet nearly 6,000 people die each year from a smoking related disease in Ireland and thousands of others suffer from different diseases related to smoking.
Unsurprisingly surveys showed that smokers tend to underestimate the consequences of cigarette on their health: they minimize the risks by 30% to 50% compared to the real gravity of the situation.
Did you know that 4000 different chemicals are used to produce one cigarette? All of them will go through your body with each inhalation.
So, what happens exactly in your body when you smoke a cigarette?
Obviously the smoke goes through several parts of your body, here is the circuit/journey:
- First, all these chemicals pass through the mouth, the nose and the throat. And the consequences are well known in the long term: hoarse voice, discoloured teeth, bad breath, but also the progressive loss of taste and smell. In addition, smoking triggers an inflammatory process that is particularly harmful for health in the long term and it can lead to cancer.
- Then the chemicals continue their journey, heading joyfully to the lungs, into the pulmonary alveoli. The tars will stick to the tissues and mucous membranes, especially the lungs, larynx, pharynx. Tar remains the main compound responsible for cancers linked to smoking.
- These chemicals cross the membranes of the pulmonary alveoli and then enter the bloodstream. This blood, supposedly loaded with oxygen, will go to the heart and then it will be redistributed, via the arteries, throughout the various organs. But because of the carbon monoxide coming from the cigarette, your blood is lacking in oxygen.
- According to INSERM (European Centre of Scientific Research) it takes between 9 and 19 seconds for the cigarette to go from your mouth to your brain: that is quicker than an intravenous injection. Consequences: very quick addiction and presence of microparticles of nicotine in your brain.
- Your digestive system is not spared: even if smoking seems to have a laxative effect on the body a smoker will go through a period of constipation when quitting. Not to mention the appearance of stomach ulcers and risks of cancer.
- Finally, the kidneys will filter these toxic chemicals and your body will discharge them via the urine. That is why smoking cigarettes causes about 30% of kidney cancers in men and about 25% in women.
Also, according to HSE, an estimated 120 men and 65 women die each year from bladder cancer in Ireland. Smoking is the leading risk factor for bladder cancer, and is thought to be responsible for 50% of all cases.
Patients with HHT have a tendency to form blood vessels that are abnormal, fragile, and bleed more easily. Therefore, smoking has a much more negative impact on an HHT Patients.
What is more, studies show that HHT Patients who smoke are more prone to AVMs recurring after lung embolization (closure of bleeding vessel).
We know very well that smoking is an addiction and quitting can seem overwhelming. However, there are many options available to help you in this process.
Get the help and support you need to quit smoking:
You can free call 1800 201 203 or visit www.QUIT.ie for stop smoking tips and resources, a free QUIT Kit, and to create a QUIT Plan or read other people’s stories.
Design/images: by ArthurHidden / Freepik