Is Smoking Dragging You Down?
10 reasons to quit smoking beyond the big health threats.
2. Sense of smell and taste continued...
Some smokers realize that foods don't taste the way they used to, but the
process can be quite gradual, making it difficult to detect. Quitting brings a
swift return of the senses.
"I can't tell you how many smokers who have successfully quit come back to
the clinic and say eating is a totally different experience," says Michael
Fiore, MD, MPH, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Center for
Tobacco Research and Intervention. "The pleasure of eating is dramatically
enhanced when smokers quit. And it happens within a few days but can continue
for up to three to six months."
3. Premature aging
"One of the chief and significant causes of premature aging of the face is
smoking," Fiore says. Skin changes, like leathery skin and deep wrinkling,
are more likely in people who are regular smokers. According to the
American Academy of Dermatology, smoking leads to biochemical changes in the
body that speed the aging process. For example, smoking deprives the living
skin tissue of oxygen by causing constriction of the blood vessels. As a
result, blood doesn't get to your organs as easily, and that includes the
Another classic smoker giveaway is tar staining of the hands and skin from
holding cigarettes. "Burning cigarette smoke is most apparent around the face
and I think that what we sometimes see is staining of the skin from the tars
and other deadly toxins in tobacco smoke," Fiore says.
Fiore also points out that the muscle actions required to inhale lead to the
classic smoker's wrinkles around the mouth.
4. Social pressures
Schroeder cites a study published in The New England Journal of
Medicine in 2008, which looked at the dynamics of smoking in large social
networks as a part of the Framingham Heart Study. The study, which took place
during the period between 1971 and 2003, examined smoking behavior and the
extent to which groups of widely connected people have an affect on quitting.
One of the findings was that smokers have increasingly moved to the fringes of
social networks. "Smokers have become marginalized," Schroeder says.