They say smoking gives you lung cancer, but have you heard about these other side effects?

The images of healthy lungs compared to the lungs of a smoker have been held up in many a classroom to teach kids to just say no. Smoke cigarettes and you’ll get lung cancer, they warn, assuming this will be enough. Of course, you know smoking is affecting your lungs, but there’s less conversation happening about other risks and side effects involved.

Here a few ways in which long-term nicotine use affects your health:

01 Feeling weak, aging too fast? Smoking has been associated with decreased appetite, a grey appearance, early wrinkles, eye cataracts and yellowing, yellow teeth, tooth decay, and bad breath. Long-term nicotine use has also been shown to slow wound healing, contribute to osteoporosis, increase the likelihood of back pain, and increase susceptibility to infection. All these little weaknesses are quick to add up.

02 Want to have a baby? Long-term nicotine use has been associated with (ladies) lower fertility and increased the risk of miscarriage, irregular periods, early menopause, and (in men) damaged and reduced sperm.

03 It’s not just lung cancer: Smoking has been linked to myeloid leukemia, stomach and bladder cancers, and cancers of the nose, lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Smoking increases your risk of blood clots and can increase plaque buildup in your arteries – including the arteries leading to your brain – increasing your risk of a stroke.

04 Have other health conditions? A number of the members we’ve helped to quit smoking were motivated by the fact that this bad habit made them ineligible for treatment. Smoking interacts with certain medications. It also weakens your body in ways that increase your risk of dying on the table, so there are a number of procedures that you can only get if you find it in yourself to quit.

05 Does smoking aggravate your symptoms? Smoking has been shown to aggravate symptoms of respiratory conditions, as well as autoimmune conditions such as RA and MS.

Many smokers we’ve worked with have found it difficult to see the link between their health issues and their smoking, but when cutting back and quitting makes them feel better, they make progress in leaps and bounds.

The decision is yours, but you have a right to know the risks involved.

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