In spite of the well-documented relationship between smoking and lung cancer, lung cancer remains the number one killer of more Americans. It is responsible for increasing upper respiratory infections like pneumonia, and for exacerbating lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
Nicotine wreaks havoc on the body by decreasing our blood hemoglobin’s capacity for carrying oxygen. It also increases blood pressure by constricting blood vessels. It increases the body’s low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), what I like to call the “lousy” cholesterol, while decreasing the body’s high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) which is protective.
A study was published in the European Heart Journal in 2011, which examined a cohort of 405 children whose mothers smoked in pregnancy. These children were studied from birth to 8 years of age (1). Interestingly, they found that these children had lower HDL cholesterol levels, higher triglycerides and a higher systolic blood pressure compared to children without this smoke exposure.
If you need more reason to butt out, check out this article here. Of the 3,321 children under the age of 12 exposed to second hand smoke at home, 272 children developed learning disabilities, 195 children developed attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and 119 children developed conduct disorders (2). Children exposed to second hand smoke at home had a 50% increased risk of having greater than 2 childhood neurobehavioral disorders compared to children who were not exposed to second hand smoke. This is something for you think about before you light up your next cigarette.
Remember – you don’t have to do this by yourself! Visit your Naturopathic Doctor to help you prepare to quit, to better understand what your triggers are, and to reverse some of the damage to your lungs after a history of smoking.
For more reasons to quit, visit the Smoker’s Helpline.
(1) Ayer, J.G. et al. (2011). Maternal cigarette smoking is associated with reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in healthy 8-year-old children. European Heart Journal.
(2) Kabir, Z., Connolly, G.N. & Alpert, H. (2011). Secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of neurobehavioral disorders among children. Pediatrics.