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5 Surprising Ways Tobacco Affects Your Body

You know that smoking and tobacco can affect your health. We’ve published articles on how it can affect your performance as a Marine, your stress, and even your pets. But did you know that tobacco and smoking can have even greater effects on your body and appearance? Check out these top surprising things you may not know are affected by tobacco-use.

  1. Pretty much everything about your skin
    Cigarette smoking can wreak havoc on your skin. Smoking produces free radicals into your body, which causes aging effects such as wrinkles to accelerate. Heavy smokers in their 40s often have facial wrinkles more like those of nonsmokers in their 60s, reports the University of Maryland. The chemicals in cigarettes also trigger destruction of collagen and elastin, which help skin retain its elasticity.

    Smoking also affects your resistance to the sun. Those who smoke tend to have much lower levels of vitamin E secretions in their skin — these secretions are vital in protecting you from sun damage.
  2. Hair Loss
    Several studies have determined that smoking can accelerate hair loss. The cause of hair loss in smokers is due to a lot of factors, including causing damage to DNA in their hair follicle. Either way, if you’re concerned about what’s on top of your head, you may want to consider quitting.
  3. Cataracts
    Smoking is actually related to two major eye issues: macular degeneration, which destroys the central vision you need to read, drive, and differentiate faces, and cataracts, which cause blurry vision that worsens over time. Smokers are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration, and three times as likely to develop cataracts. Although cataracts can be corrected with surgery, there is no cure for macular degeneration.
  4. Brittle Bones
    Studies have suggested that smoking is a risk factor for osteoporosis, and also makes it more difficult for bones to heal once they’ve fractured. This may be due to the chemicals in cigarettes disrupting the natural cycle of bone health. Your body becomes less able to form healthy new bone tissue. As a result, existing bone tissue breaks down much more rapidly.
  5. Early Menopause
    Not only can menopause begin up to nine years earlier in smoking women, but the menopausal symptoms can be much more severe. Researchers believe that one of the reasons this happens is because tobacco toxins reduce circulating estrogen in the body.

For help or more information, contact your local Health Promotion office today.

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