Long-Term Smoking Risks: Not Just Lung Cancer
Tobacco harm is one of the world's most severe public health issues. Smoking and secondhand smoke seriously jeopardize human health, and many smokers are aware of the link between smoking and lung cancer. Many smokers have smoked for decades, but they don't suffer from lung disease, so they think everything is OK.
Little imagine that smoking will produce smoke, which contains a lot of harmful substances. When smoking, toxins will enter the bronchus. Cilia on bronchial mucosa is used to prevent dust and other microorganisms from entering the lungs during breathing. Inhibiting cilia activity will increase the possibility of lung infection.
At the same time, smoking will weaken the role of macrophages, reduce lung resistance, and bring disease to the lungs. It's important to note that smoking is associated with various diseases beyond just lung cancer.
Long-term smoking can lead to the following diseases:
1. Cardiovascular disease
When smoking, people inhale harmful substances such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, oxygen free radicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and butadiene. Nicotine can increase free fatty acids and cholesterol in the blood, leading to arteriosclerosis. It can also cause vasospasm and release endogenous catecholamines, leading to hypertension.
Carbon monoxide will reduce oxyhemoglobin content, reduce oxygen utilization rate in capillaries and myocardial tissue, and cause myocardial ischemia and hypoxia. Oxygen free radicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, butadiene, and other substances can lead to endothelial function damage, thrombosis, coronary artery spasm, insulin resistance, and other abnormal changes.
2. Other cancers
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 known chemicals, of which at least 69 are carcinogens. In addition to closely related lung cancer, it may also be associated with cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer and so on.
3. Oral diseases
The culprit of periodontitis is dental plaque, and the growth rate of dental plaque and dental calculus in the mouth of smokers is much faster than that of non-smokers. The chemical components in smoke can also cause chronic damage to periodontal tissue, and the risk of periodontitis is very high; Smoking will reduce saliva secretion and cause dry mouth. Once the mouth lacks saliva, the self-cleaning ability of the mouth will be greatly reduced, which will aggravate halitosis.
4. Other respiratory diseases
Smoking can affect respiratory, immune function, lung structure and lung function and cause a variety of chronic respiratory diseases. There is sufficient evidence that, in addition to lung cancer, smoking can also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, respiratory system infection, tuberculosis, and a variety of interstitial lung diseases, and the greater the amount of smoking and the longer the duration of smoking, the higher the risk of disease.
5. Affect male reproductive function
Smoking can interfere with the function of the hypothalamus pituitary gonad axis, reduce semen quality, and lead to oligospermia and asthenozoospermia. It may even induce varicocele and affect fertility.
6. Induce prostatitis
Smoking can irritate the urethra and prostate. Under the stimulation, the urethra and prostate tissues become congested and blood vessels expand, which will reduce the immunity of the prostate to resist bacterial infection, thus easily causing bacterial infection and inducing prostatitis.
Smoking offers no benefits and poses numerous health risks. Smokers are advised to quit and avoid secondhand smoke exposure to safeguard their well-being and that of their families, ultimately reducing the risk of cancer.