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How Smoking Compromises Your Immune System and Overall Health

Cigarette smoking has long been known to impact health negatively, and recent reports have discovered a specific way it does this. A new study found that smoking is detrimental to the immune system of avid users. Cigarettes were found to cause variability in cytokine secretion, which is the body’s process when fighting illnesses. This means smokers are more likely to get sick from viruses or bacterial infections because their immune systems are struggling to fight illnesses.

Aside from this, cigarette smoke is harmful to one’s general health. The chemicals and soot in cigarette smoke can irritate the esophagus, impact circulation, and even hinder organ function. This is why more updated research has focused not only on first- and secondhand smoke but also on the impact of thirdhand cigarette smoke. With regular consumption and exposure, cigarettes can cause long-lasting and even chronic health issues, which is why quitting is important. 

Cigarette smoking health effects

Respiratory health

Because of the nature of smoking, one of their main health effects is seen in the respiratory system. This research explains that because of a lower immune system, smokers are more likely to experience chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pollution, chemicals, or cigarette smoke often cause this inflammatory condition. Smoking can also cause lung cancer, with an estimated 85% of cases stemming from it. 

Cardiovascular conditions

The chemicals in cigarettes affect blood chemistry, causing plaque build-up in arteries. This makes it difficult for the blood to travel, which can ultimately cause chest pains, arrhythmia, heart attacks, and heart failure. A health site writes that smoking can also lead to strokes, which are caused by a blockage in blood vessels to the brain. This can lead to disability, paralysis, or death in extreme cases.

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Diabetes

Individuals who smoke are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes — a preventable disease. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause cells to change and become inflamed, causing insulin resistance. As mentioned in this post, lifestyle changes, such as having a healthy diet and cutting back on stress, can certainly make diabetes manageable. However, it is still a chronic illness that can easily progress if risk factors like smoking are kept in the mix.

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How to quit

Ease into the process

Going cold turkey can be the hardest part of quitting, as this brings about withdrawal. As such, smokeless cigarette alternatives can be a great solution, as they help wean you off cigarettes without releasing any of the harmful soot or chemicals. They are also accessible and come in a variety of forms that can suit different people.  To illustrate, this website hosts nicotine pouches from Zyn, which come in a multitude of flavors and strengths. Avid smokers can tailor their experience with strengths between 3mg to 6mg and flavors like citrus, menthol, and coffee. They also have the benefit of being discreet, so you can manage your cravings well. Other alternatives are also readily available. Nicotine gum from Nicorette is a popular alternative, according to this page. Like nicotine pouches, they are a smokeless oral nicotine delivery product that can satisfy any oral fixation, too. This makes them a great way to begin smoking cessation without shocking the body.

Start exercising 

As noted here, smoking can impair your ability to exercise, which is why many smokers opt not to. However, physical activity can be beneficial for smoking cessation. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which can counter many withdrawal symptoms. It can also help boost the immune system and gain back the health that smoking deminished. Cardio workouts can also improve lung capacity, which is often limited by smoking. Among the best exercises for smokers to get into are low-impact ones first. For instance, pilates, swimming, and aerobics are great workouts that help move the body without too much pressure on the lungs or joints, which can be weaker among smokers. As some smokers may prefer a more personalized experience, cessation apps like QuitNow and Butt Out offer communities where you can chat and get advice from others in the same boat. Since exercising can be more enjoyable with others, you can even take this time to form workout groups for extra motivation. 

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Find new hobbies

Giving in to withdrawal symptoms is one of the main reasons people can’t quit. Aside from exercise, finding new hobbies can help individuals cope better. They can serve as distractions as well as new activities people can do instead of smoking. Activities like painting also promote relaxation, lowering the need for a smoke break. Other hobbies like cooking or reading are also good because they are productive and healthy.

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At the end of the day, smoking is definitely bad for one’s health. But by quitting and getting regular check-ups, the long-term effect of cigarettes won’t be as bad.

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