Smoking Seriously Reduces Longevity
Most of us know someone who is 70 or 80 years old and has been smoking since he was a teenager. Yes, there are always exceptions and survivors, but most of that person's smoking contemporaries are dead. There are no two ways about it – smokers suffer from very poor longevity. Lifespan is cut unfairly short, and families suffer as their loved ones die painful deaths from any of a large range of smoking-related diseases. We will also explain why the longevity of family members is reduced, too.

The problem is that the active ingredient of tobacco, nicotine, is addictive, and addiction can kick in even after a few cigarettes. There are social aspects to smoking, but the basic fact is that smokers are addicted to a drug, and the chemical products inhaled and ingested during the smoking are poisonous and carcinogenic, and seriously impact longevity health.

Nicotine works very much like other addictive drugs, by flooding the brain's reward circuits with dopamine (a chemical messenger). Nicotine also provides a small adrenaline rush - not enough to notice, but enough to speed up the heart and raise blood pressure. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, 37 of which cause cancer. Smoking produces tar, which gets into the body. Does anyone consciously eat tar? No. So, why inhale it and seriously cut your life expectancy in the process?

The drug, nicotine, enters the body as tiny droplets resting on particles of the tar in cigarette smoke. Inhaled into the lungs, the drug passes quickly into the bloodstream, reaching the brain within about 10 seconds. Tar clogs the lungs and inhibits the body's capacity to breathe; it causes lung and throat cancer, heart disease, emphysema, bronchial and lung disorders. Nicotine is also known to contract the blood vessels and to release hormones that raise the blood pressure. Both effects could have an adverse effect on the heart. What does all that do for longevity?

In fact, approximately 50% of all individuals who smoke will die of smoking related illnesses. On average, a smoker will die 15 - 20 years before a non-smoker. Smokers are about 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers, and smoking causes about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80 percent in women. With reduced efficiency of the lungs, then infection and other illnesses more easily take hold. And, with all the illnesses associated with smoking, quality of life is lowered drastically during prolonged sickness.

Smokers also put their loved ones and others at risk of disease and shortened lifespan. So, anyone who regularly mixes with smokers in enclosed or semi-open spaces has their longevity expectation cut. 'Second-hand' smoking is dangerous, carrying the smoking products and any bacteria from the smoker's lungs. We've all heard and seen someone with 'smoker's cough' spraying the air with infection.

Smoking is an addiction, but there are ways to kick the habit. The sooner a smoker kicks the habit, then the sooner he or she can expect improved longevity health, and also the sooner they can contribute to a longer lifespan for their family members. 
Kasia Wojsiat is a respected chiropractor in nearby Los Gatos. She embraces using preventative medicine and natural products in her practice. Please send her an email if you have any questions pertaining to longevity and health.
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