Smoking Harmful to Entire Body, Not Just Lungs — Expert

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Smoking harms organs throughout human body, and not just the lungs, medical expert Maria Ocampo has said.

Ocampo, who is the coordinator of the Clinic Against Tobacco and Other Addictive Substances at the General Hospital of Mexico, said this in a recent interview with Xinhua news agency.

“There isn’t a single body organ or system that isn’t affected by smoking because it has to do with oxygen, and we can do everything except stopping breathing,” said Ocampo.

Explaining further, she said: “When you smoke, “your red blood cells stop transporting oxygen because they are transporting carbon monoxide (CO), which adheres more easily to the red blood cells, and you begin to have bad blood circulation towards the whole body, the brain, arms and legs. That’s why we see smokers with purple lips and very red hands. It’s the lack of oxygen.”

Ocampo also revealed that the carbon monoxide from cigarettes carries anywhere between 4,000 and 7,000 chemical compounds, more than 60 of them carcinogenic, adding that heart ailments are the major diseases among smokers.

According to her, a smoker’s body tends to compensate for the lack of oxygen by producing too many red blood cells, making the blood thicker, while the nicotine in cigarettes hardens the arteries.

The combination of the two, coupled with a smoker’s higher cholesterol level, lead to cardiovascular diseases.

Women smokers are also more likely to get cervical and breast cancers, and “their skin ages quicker,” while among male smokers, “there is a greater predisposition for prostate and bladder cancers,” she said.

She however stated that the good news is that from the moment a smoker quits smoking, his or her body begins to feel the benefits.

“The first thing that happens is that there is more oxygen (and) the detoxification begins.”

The expert noted that for smokers trying to quit tobacco addiction, it is also important to have a healthier lifestyle, including “drinking more water, sleeping better, exercising and seeking recreational activities that are not linked to smoking.”

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She added that quitting aids such as e-cigarette or vaporizer also contain harmful chemicals or directly damage the lungs.

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