One in five deaths in the United States are a result of illnesses related to smoking, according to the American Cancer Society. In addition, smoking accounts for 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States. No matter what form it takes, there is no safe way to use tobacco.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34.2 million people smoke. Many of these smokers want to quit. Are you a smoker looking for a reason to quit? Here are seven.
1. Smoking and Bladder Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 80,000 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed and that almost 20,000 people will die from bladder cancer in 2020.
Tobacco usage is the most common risk factor for developing cancer. Smokers are up to seven times more likely to develop bladder cancer than nonsmokers. Up to 65 percent of bladder cancers in men are attributed to smoking, and up to 30 percent of bladder cancers in women are attributed to smoking. Smoking causes chemicals to collect in the urine, which affect the lining of the bladder. These chemicals increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.
2. Smoking and Kidney Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 70,000 new cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed and almost 15,000 people will die from kidney cancer in 2020.
Risk factors for kidney cancer include smoking. This risk is related to how much a person smokes and is greater in those who have been smoking longer and frequently. If a person stops smoking, the risk drops, but it takes years to reduce the risk to that of a nonsmoker.
Smoking affects the kidneys. While smoking, tobacco enters the bloodstream. Blood is filtered by the kidneys.
3. Smoking and Prostate Cancer
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and over 30,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2020.
Recent research in Austria found that men with prostate cancer who also smoked are twice as likely to die of prostate cancer than nonsmokers.
There are a few theories about the link between smoking and prostate cancer. One is that smokers excrete cancerous pollutants in their urine, which flows through the prostate. Another is that smoking could increase inflammation. A third theory is that smoking doesn’t affect prostate cancer risk, but that smokers are more likely to make other poor lifestyle choices, like not getting enough exercise or drinking alcohol excessively.
4. Smoking and Overactive Bladder
33 million people in the United States suffer from overactive bladder (OAB), a condition that includes sudden urges to urinate, urge incontinence, and frequent urination. Urge incontinence, specifically, is three times more common in women who smoke than women who are nonsmokers.
OAB has been linked to smoking. Smoking irritates the bladder, causing frequent urination. Chronic coughing caused by smoking can lead to leakage because of weakened bladder muscles.
5. Smoking and Infertility
Infertility in smokers is twice as high as nonsmokers. Smoking can damage the genetic material inside eggs and sperm, decrease hormone production, and change the environment of the uterus. All of these factors can lead to infertility.
Smoking decreases the chances of success from in vitro fertilization if either partner smokes. Smoking increases the chance of miscarriage and birth defects.
The effect of smoking on fertility can be reversed within a year of smoking cessation. Even two months after quitting, chances of conception can be higher.
6. Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects half of men between 40 and 70. ED is caused by a wide range of psychological and physical factors. One of the most common causes of ED is smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, and ED can be the result of poor blood supply to the penis.
ED is more common in older men, but it can develop at any age. Studies have found that ED was more common in smokers and that in younger men, ED was likely caused by smoking. Smoking cessation can improve vascular health and reduce or completely alleviate the symptoms of ED.
7. Smoking and Post-Surgery Healing
Smoking affects healing. This is because smoking changes the way bodies handle oxygen, which restricts blood vessels. Restricted blood vessels make it hard for hemoglobin and oxygen to get to damaged tissues that need to heal. Smoking makes the blood thicker, which slows its flow through the restricted blood vessels. Smokers have up to ten times the risk for improper healing of bones and wounds after surgery. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can increase the risk of poor healing. Smokers take longer to heal than nonsmokers.
Ready to Quit?
It’s never too late to stop smoking. Immediate benefits of smoking cessation include improvements to the vascular system, like heart rate and blood pressure returning to normal levels and circulation improvements. Smoking cessation even after being diagnosed with a disease can improve health. Those who quit smoking reduce their risk of urologic conditions, diseases, and cancer.
If you’re ready to quit smoking, the CDC has many types of support available. One resource is the CDC’s Quitline. The phone number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
If you’re experiencing any of the conditions or diseases mentioned above and want support, schedule an appointment today.