Most everyone has heard that smoking is not good for you. It’s still true – and there are plenty of statistics to prove it. Besides the fact that tobacco is addictive, now is still a good time to reconsider the facts about smoking and quit – if you want to live longer.
The news about cigarettes and long life has not changed – it’s still bad news. As researchers learn even more about the effects of smoking on the human body, the more they understand just how harmful it is and how it hurts the body.
1. Life Expectancy of Smokers
The average life expectancy of people in the United States is currently 77.3 years. Thanks to COVID, this is a slight drop. Even with the slight drop in overall life expectancy, cigarette smokers can expect to live at least ten years or more less than non-smokers. Someone who is a heavy smoker should not expect to reach 65. Even light smokers can expect to cut their life span by as much as five years.
Some researchers say that every cigarette you smoke reduces your life by 11 minutes. Depending on how long and how much you smoke, you could be reducing your life by as much as 25 years. Statistics indicate that when people die before reaching 80, four out of ten of them died as a result of tobacco use.
2. Lung Damage May Be Permanent
One problem that starts rather quickly is damage to the lungs. Every cigarette you smoke helps to destroy your lungs. Two diseases that often result from years of smoking are lung cancer and COPD. The lungs do not heal very fast, which means you could have some lasting breathing problems even if you quit. The destruction already caused by years of smoking may not be reversed at all – leaving you with ongoing breathing problems.
3. Genetic Damage
Smoking also causes damage to your cells and genes. The chemicals in cigarette smoke damages your body’s ability to stop cancer cells from reproducing – which is one reason so many smokers die from cancer. Also, they can affect your DNA – which can lead to birth defects.
4. Primary Causes of Early Death
Smokers can expect to develop and then die of some disease. It is what causes early death. The primary cause of death will be lung cancer, but smoking often leads to other types of cancer as well. Another leading cause of death from tobacco use is cardiovascular disease.
There is no safe level of smoking. Even smoking just one to four cigarettes a day will cause damage. Besides damaging your lungs, the habit is damaging your blood vessels, and it can lead to blood clots, which can cause heart attacks, strokes, and even sudden death.
5. Second-hand Smoke
People that breathe second-hand smoke can also expect to have similar problems as smokers but to a lesser degree. More than 40,000 people will die each year from its effects, and the primary causes of death will be the same as for smokers – lung cancer and coronary heart disease.
6. Benefits If You Quit Smoking Now
If you stop smoking now, you will likely start to extend your life expectancy and live longer. How much you increase longevity will depend on when you quit and how long you have been smoking. Most likely, any time you stop smoking, will live longer than if you did not.