The video reminds us of personal reasons to give up smoking, alongside the multi-faceted medical risks.
Our clinic is concerned with skin conditions and we will point to information which highlights smoking’s effect on skin cancer. Taking a wider view on a habit that is part of 8 million lives in the UK seemed equally important.
The most obvious link between cancer and smoking is lung cancer. If we remove workplace causes and forms of radiation, 90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking, 9 times the remainder, which largely arises from air pollution.
Smoke goes into the lungs, so this may seem to be the core problem but the implications are broader. Smoking is known to bring about 27% of all cancer deaths in the UK, with recent research suggesting this may be an underestimate.
A number of areas are firmly in the frame. Oncologists accept that smoking can cause cancer in the sinus, nasal and oral cavities, the lips and tongue, larynx, pharynx, oesophagus, liver, pancreas, kidneys, stomach, bowel, ureter, ovaries and cervix.
Myeloid leukaemia (bone marrow cancer) is fairly well linked, breast cancer a significant area of concern, with prostate and others close behind. Further research is needed but findings to date suggest a causal relationship.
The factor joining them together is DNA damage caused by smoking. The cellular mutations this launches affect the lungs by direct exposure but also initiate molecular changes across other areas of the body.
By direct effect on the blood and cellular change, smoking also plays a part in heart disease, strokes and vascular issues. This includes cerebrovascular disease, with growing evidence that smoking increases the likelihood of dementia.
Neither are the unborn, or their parents protected. Smoking during pregnancy increases miscarriages, premature birth and stillbirth.
If someone who smokes escapes the effects above, they can expect chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema. Any infections of the respiratory area, even a cold, are likely to be worse.
Alongside breathing problems, fertility can become an issue, or impotence. Reduction of ability in many areas of life can occur, from sport to social activity, even looking after a home, or walking down the road.
The self imposed financial penalty from smoking is hardly a pleasure but the true cost adds up to more. The reason that over half of known, previous smokers in the UK have made the decision to quit.
We know this isn’t easy and suggest you seek help if needed. Stop smoking services, including medication if required are available via your GP.
From our perspective, we know that stopping smoking will slow facial ageing and wrinkles. Valuable in itself, although surviving the relationship between skin cancer and smoking deserves more detail.