5 Little Known Facts About Smoking

Smoking Causes Diabetes, Cataract and Orofacial Clefts in Infants
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  • Pilates instructor Zainab Abbas smokes a cigarette as she sits with a friend after lunch in Lahore
    Pilates instructor Zainab Abbas (R) smokes a cigarette as she sits with a friend after lunch in Lahore February 19, 2014. Abbas opened her fitness studio, Route2Pilates, in Lahore, after receiving training in Bangkok, Thailand. She carries out rehabilitation workouts for people with joint problems as well as specialised workouts for pregnant women. Though instability continues to plague Pakistan and many areas are dominated by social conservatism, some of the country's more affluent residents have worked to fashion a very different kind of lifestyle for themselves. Pictures of men and women taking part in all sorts of activities and professions - from being a pilates instructor, to a textile retail entrepreneur, to a member of a rock band - offer a different view of Pakistan to images of conflict that often make the news. Picture taken February 19, 2014. Reuters
  • File photo of cigarettes are seen during manufacturing process in BAT Cigarette Factory in Bayreuth
    File photo of cigarettes are seen during manufacturing process in BAT Cigarette Factory in Bayreuth Reuters
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According to the American Lung Association, smoking is a major cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. Nearly 443,000 lives are lost every year to the habit and not just that it also affects passive smokers. These are individuals who are exposed to the smoke but are not smoking.

The health problems that come with the habit are many, the Centres  for Disease Control (CDC) states that it causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis and chronic airway obstruction) and diabetes. Most people are aware that smoking causes cancer and other lung related disease, there are many other facts about smoking that people are not aware of.

1. Smoking causes diabetes

According to the Surgeon General's 50-year anniversary report on smoking, smokers have a 30% to 40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The report concluded that it had enough proof to support the fact that cigarette smoking causes cancer. Serena Tonstad, MD, PhD, MPH, professor at the School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, California, told Medscape Medical News said, "The link between smoking and diabetes is really interesting".

The University of Lausanne in Switzerland analysed several data of over 100 million patients and found that smokers had a 44 per cent higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, the risk increased with the number of cigarettes an individual smoked daily.

2. Smoking has a greater effect on second hand smokers  

The smoke of the cigarette contains 4,000 different chemical compounds and 50 of them cause cancer. It affects to a greater degree when inhaled by non-smokers. The chemicals that are inhaled are hydrogen cyanide (a highly poisonous gas), benzene, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde (a chemical used preserve corpses). A 2006 surgeon general's report stated that second hand smoke is extremely unsafe causing nearly 50,000 deaths of passive smokers in the U.S. alone.

3. Smoking decreases the fertility of a woman

Smoking can harm a child prenatally and it also affects fertility. Prolonged smoking and a high frequency of smoking causes fertility problems in women that delays their pregnancy or a long time conceiving. Ovulation problems, genetic issues, damage to a woman's reproductive organs, damage to eggs or premature menopause and increased risk of miscarriage are also caused by smoking.

According to the CDC, passive women smokers also have a risk of miscarriages and can affect the baby's health as well. It also results in per term death of babies.

4. It causes orofacial clefts in infants

The CDC revealed that in the U.S. around 2,650 infants are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate. The CDC stated on the basis of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study that women who smoke were more likely to give birth to children with orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke.

5. Smokers are more likely to be affected with cataract

Cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque resulting in the blurring of the affected person's vision. A study by researchers in Sweden, published in AMA Ophthalmology found that among the men on whom they conducted the research, those who smoked 15 cigarettes per day had a 42 per cent increased risk of being affected by this condition. The study also pointed that quitting the habit may reduce the risk as well.

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