Tips From UPMC Health Plan - Butt Out

Butt Out - Quit Smoking

Despite dire health warnings, one out of five Americans still smokes. If you’re one of them, here are some new reasons to crush that butt.

Before you light up your next cigarette, consider this: With every puff, you’re inhaling more than 7,000 chemicals.

Hundreds of them are poisonous, and about 70 can cause cancer. And no organ or tissue in the body is immune to this toxic cloud.

Most people know that cancer, heart disease, and lung disease are major health threats caused by smoking. But are you aware that smoking increases your risk of getting diabetes by 44 percent?

That’s just one of the not-so-obvious reasons to put that butt out. Here are five more:

  1. See the difference. If you smoke, your risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, doubles. Smokers also have double the risk of developing cataracts.
  2. Heal better. Smoking weakens the body’s ability to heal from surgery, disease, broken bones, and even minor back strains.
  3. Now hear this. Smokers are more likely to develop hearing loss. Exposure to secondhand smoke also puts former smokers and nonsmokers at risk.
  4. Stand tall. Smoking weakens bones and raises the risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures in men and women.
  5. Keep your head. If your mind is cloudy, smoking may be the culprit. It’s been linked to memory problems and poor reasoning skills in middle-aged smokers.

You’re Not Just Hurting Yourself

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 people every year and sickens many more. Children who live with a smoker are especially susceptible to lung and breathing problems, and they run an increased risk of hearing loss as adolescents.

If you’re among the eight out of 10 smokers who want to quit, talk to your primary care doctor. To locate a doctor in your area, visit UPMC.com/FindADoctor or call toll-free 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Journal of the American Medical Association.

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