Smoking: New Report Shows Other Effects

It’s common knowledge that smoking causes cancer. But there are other factors to consider if you smoke and you’re a woman, a diabetic or someone undergoing chemotherapy.

Smoking makes it harder for a woman to become pregnant, according to a new report from the U.S. Surgeon General. And pregnant women who smoke may have a miscarriage or a preterm baby. Smoking mothers deliver babies with low birth weights, their babies’ lungs and brains damaged by the chemicals contained in cigarettes. Babies who are around second-hand smoke also have a greater risk of dying from sudden infant death syndrome.

It’s not just women at greater risk.

Diabetics who smoke have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, according to the report. And if you’re undergoing chemotherapy treatments, exposure to second-hand smoke and smoking can lessen its benefits.

Here’s the good news.

Quitting helps. No matter how long you’ve smoked. It gives your body an opportunity to heal, federal health officials say. And after just one year, your risk of having a heart attack drops. If you stay smoke-free for two to five years, your risk of having a stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker. The longer you quit smoking, the better your chances for not getting cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder and lung.

Take a deep breath. And quit.

Source: The U.S. Surgeon General

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Alice Warchol is a freelance health writer.

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