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The Lesser Known Health Hazards of Smoking

There are a lot of facts about cigarette smoking that we are aware of today. It causes different forms of cancer such as lung, oral, stomach, pancreas, kidney, and bladder and even in sex organs such as the uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, and ovaries. It can be harmful to a baby’s health before and after birth because levels of nicotine can be found in breast milk (hopefully the mother would use a nutritional substitution instead of trying to breastfeed her child in such a case) if the mother smokes cigarettes. It is also known that smoking can cause heart disease, poor blood circulation, rheumatoid arthritis and infertility. But some health hazards of smoking are not quite as well-known in comparison. Here are some facts about smoking you probably do not know about and what your options are to live a healthier life.

Health Hazards of Smoking

What else is there in a cigarette?

There are about 600 different ingredients in a cigarette that give off over 4,000 different chemicals in the air including tar, arsenic, and acetic acid. What is even worse about these ingredients is that they are used for different uses from construction to household items: to pave roads, rat poison, and in hair dye.

What might not be known is that about 20% of a cigarette is made with sugar (as well as cocoa) which might be what makes smoking so addicting besides the nicotine. Because so much sugar and cocoa is used for added flavor to create a cigarette, it can harm diabetics when they take in the cigarette smoke. Not only are diabetics inhaling extra sugar, but the cigarette smoke can harm their blood vessels and flow as well by hardening and narrowing them.

Not only are the tobacco and other ingredients harmful to your health, but so is the filter. Cigarette filters are made out of cellulose acetate which is a synthetic fiber that is also used to make different adhesives and plastic material. Littered cigarette butts also harm the environment because they do not easily break down and once they finally do, it can cause harm to natural elements such as soil and water.

What’s the deal with ‘light’ cigarettes? Healthier than regular?

Definitely not. People think that just because they are not smoking “regular” cigarettes but those that are advertised as being “lighter” or with a different flavor instead means that they are being healthier. Light cigarettes are made differently, but with the exact same ingredients that make them just as unhealthy as regular cigarettes. Some cigarettes have porous paper or the tobacco is not packed as tight as other cigarettes, but either way the nicotine chemical reaches the brain in 10 seconds. Nicotine just doesn’t effect a person’s lungs, but traces of it can be found throughout the whole body including in urine (two to 4 days), blood (two to four days), and saliva (one to four days).

In 2009, US President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to ban manufacturers from putting words such as “light” or “low” on cigarette packaging but the different colors used on the packing and white colored filters to differentiate cigarettes and then consumer behavior leads people to believe that one is healthier than the other.

Alternatives to Cigarettes

If you are considering steering away from smoking cigarettes, consider the options that are out there for you to consider. Electronic cigarettes allow smokers to still have a nicotine fix by vaping without all of the extra ingredients. Other treatment options such as nicotine patches and gum can help to “kick the habit.”

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