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Proven Strategies to Quit Smoking

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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, please."

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.

6. Impotence

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.

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