Is Smoking Dragging You Down?
10 reasons to quit smoking beyond the big health threats.
4. Social pressures continued...
Joyce Wilde, a small business owner and former smoker in Pittsburgh,
remembers feeling marginalized when she smoked heavily. "Smoking really messed
with my self-concept," Wilde tells WebMD. "I usually hid somewhere and
smoked so no one would see me. The experience of smoking embarrassed me
and I felt weakened by it, both physically and emotionally."
The reasons for the increasing unpopularity of smoking and diminished social
standing of those who continue to light up likely has roots in our increased
understanding of the health implications of smoking, not just for the smoker,
but for those breathing in secondhand smoke as well.
"The reason for [clean indoor air] ordinances is to protect the healthy
nonsmoker from the known danger of toxins of secondhand smoke," Fiore says.
"It's not just the inconvenience of it makes my clothes smell bad when I go to
get a drink, it's that risk from the carcinogens and side stream smoke, some of
which are at higher concentrations than direct smoke."
5. Finding a mate
Anyone who has perused the dating advertisements in papers, magazines or
online, has seen more than his or her fair share of the phrase, "No smokers,
Long after quitting smoking on a daily basis, Wilde found herself once again
reaching for cigarettes during the stressful time of her divorce. She was a decade older than when she last
smoked and at the time, living in Southern California where she felt the
competition in the singles market was stiff. Smoking, she says, only added to
the challenge of finding a new mate after her marriage ended.
"After I crossed 40, the dating scene became harder because my peers were
looking at people much younger, so if you add smoking into that, it's even
harder," Wilde says.
That's not surprising to Fiore. "There is a general sense that I'd rather be
with someone who did not smell like a dirty ashtray," he says.
If smoking generally adds a hurdle to finding a new partner, impotence sure doesn't help. Yet smoking increases the
chances of impotence dramatically for men by affecting blood vessels, including
those that must dilate in order for an erection to occur.
"It's been said in the scientific literature that one of the most powerful
messages to teenage boys is that not only does it make you smell like an
ashtray and no one wants to kiss a smoker, but it can cause impotence or impact
your erections. It's a message that is frequently used to motivate adolescent
boys to step away from cigarettes," Fiore says.