Is Smoking Dragging You Down?
10 reasons to quit smoking beyond the big health threats.
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.
7. Increased infections
You may know about the long-term health risks associated with smoking, but
did you realize that smoking also makes you more susceptible to seasonal flus
and colds? "People don't realize how much more frequently smokers get viral,
bacterial and other infections," Fiore says.
Tiny hairs called cilia that line the respiratory tract, including the
trachea and bronchial tubes, are designed to protect us from infection. "Cilia
are constantly waving in a way that grabs bacteria and viruses that get into
the trachea and pushes them up and out so we cough them out and swallow them and destroy them with
our stomach acids," Fiore explains.
One of the toxic effects of cigarette smoke is that it paralyzes the cilia,
thereby destroying this core protective mechanism. That's why smokers have so
many more infections. Within a month of quitting, however, your cilia start
performing their protective role once again.