Central Peninsula Hospital | Pulse | Summer 2021 | 50th Anniversary Edition

How tobacco affects your body If you’re trying to quit smoking, switching to vap- ing might seem like a good idea. After all, it’s not the same thing as inhaling burned tobacco, right? That’s true. But vaping is not without health risks. We’re still learning about the long-term effects of using vaping products—such as e-cigarettes, JUUL devices and vape pens. But we do know that the aerosols from these products could expose you to potentially harmful chemicals and particles, including: ● Diacetyl, a flavoring that has been linked to a serious lung disease called popcorn lung. ● Ultrafine particles that may be inhaled deep into the lungs. ● Cancer-causing chemicals. ● Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead. In addition, just like cigarettes, most vaping products contain highly addictive nicotine. So you could end up getting hooked on vaping. Quitting without vaping Since switching to vaping could be risky to your health, you may want to use other strategies to kick a tobacco habit. Here are a few ideas for quitting cigarettes or vaping: ● Pick a quit date and add it to your calendar. ● Consider how you want to quit. For instance, do you want to go cold turkey—stopping smoking or vaping all at once? Or would it be easier to cut back, between now and your quit date, on the number of cigarettes you smoke or how much you vape? Rethinking vaping THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO QUIT SMOKING Airways. Delicate tissues in your lungs become inflamed because of smoking. This can lead to serious disorders, such as chronic obstruc- tive pulmonary disease. Smoking can also cause cancer to develop in your lungs, throat and mouth. Other blood vessels. Damage to vessel linings can cause them to narrow, restricting blood flow to the kidneys, stomach, arms, legs and feet. This can lead to a range of problems, including pain and gangrene. Immune system. Smokers have smaller amounts than nonsmokers of some types of cells that destroy germs. That leaves you more vulnerable to infections. In addition, smoking can cause cancer of the pancreas, kidneys, cervix and stomach. It also can cause leukemia, which is cancer of the blood. And smoking increases your risk for eye diseases and dental problems. Women who smoke tend to have more compli- cations with pregnancy, including premature births, low-birth-weight babies and stillbirths. And their ba- bies are more likely to die of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) than babies whose mothers don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, you probably know you should stop. That’s a good start toward quitting, but you need a powerful motivator to follow through. Knowing the truth about how smoking harms your health may be what it takes. An alarming fact is that smoking affects nearly every part of your body, including your: THE ANATOMY OF smoking 4 Central Peninsula Hospital