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How Bad Is Smoking – Really?

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If you grew up in the 90s, you might remember a significant shift in how American culture talked about smoking. While in the generations before, smoking cigarettes was rather popular and prevalent, healthcare professionals and governments started to see the negative impacts of tobacco. 

The increased negatives of smoking led to many public health initiatives and laws being passed to stop public smoking. In fact, California was the first state to enact a statewide smoking ban in 1995 (more details here). Most other states followed suit in the following decade. Also, age restrictions were placed, and warning labels were added to cigarette and tobacco products in 1969.

Are The Impacts Of Smoking Exaggerated?

While it’s clear that the negative impacts of smoking cigarettes were known decades before culture started to limit smoking, many people still have questions about how bad smoking is for health. 

As a kid, you likely heard that smoking was harmful and that you shouldn’t do it. And you probably know that smoking is linked to lung cancer, but how bad is smoking really? Learn about the severe impacts in this guide.

Smoking and Public Health

Smoking is terrible for the body, but it’s something most people can avoid. However, it’s important to note that smoking doesn’t just impact you. Secondhand smoke is also harmful to adults, children, and even pets, according to CDC

It’s vital to think about how environmental factors and contaminants can hurt other people. According to MesotheliomaGuide.com, asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, and secondhand smoke can cause asthma and more. 

What Smoking Does To The Lungs

Smoke inhalation of any kind can cause lung problems. Even inhaling smoke from a campfire isn’t healthy, and smoking any substance, especially frequently, can have long-term negative impacts. Smoke can make it harder for the lungs to fight off pathogens, leading to mucus production and bronchitis.

With cigarettes, there are even more issues at play. Cigarettes are full of toxins, chemicals, and additives that are bad for the human body. Tobacco is an addictive substance that makes quitting smoking quite difficult for many individuals.

Most cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, and dozens are linked to cancer.

How Smoking Cigarettes Hurts The Lungs

Smoking is harmful to the lungs and respiratory system in many ways. It’s important to note how cigarette smoke harms the body. Here are some of the changes that occur when you smoke, many of which happen even if you’ve only smoked a couple of cigarettes.

  • Increased mucus production: When you smoke, the cells in the lungs that create mucus grow and become more active. This leads to constant coughing. 
  • Premature aging of the lungs: Smoking also causes the lungs to age more quickly and lowers their ability to fight off infections.
  • Reduced airflow: Smoking in and of itself can irritate your lungs. Then, when you combine all the extra chemicals that are in cigarettes, the lungs are even more likely to become inflamed.

Along with these impacts, smoking can impact your circulation and skin and even make illnesses like the cold and flu last longer. 

Smoking And Lung Cancer

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. In fact, nine out of ten lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. Because of this, it’s essential to stop smoking to reduce your risk of lung cancer and remain healthy throughout your life.

For help quitting smoking or assistance with lung conditions and symptoms, seek help from a healthcare professional in your area. Even if you’ve smoked for many years, stopping now and seeking treatment can have many positive impacts on your health. 

Last Updated: May 22, 2023

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