Smokers have even more reason to try and quit after it has been revealed cigarettes are linked with more than 200 medical conditions.
The University of Oxford has revealed smoking status, together with body mass index (BMI), are indicators of whether someone is at risk of 226 health problems.
Anthony Webster looked at data from half a million people in the UK Biobank study, analysing the connection between smoking, BMI and certain conditions, New Scientist reported.
He found those who regularly smoke and have a high BMI (a healthy weight is between 18.5 and 24.9) are more likely to develop heart failure, hernias, sleep apnoea, nail disorders, and many more.
While the risks of smoking have long been researched and documented, these findings detail the extent of the health repercussions associated with cigarette smoke.
Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute Nick Hopkinson told Metro: “The toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke that people breathe in are harmful to the lungs, but also pass through into the bloodstream so they get transported to all the organs in the body to cause damage.”
The Chair of Action on Smoking and Health added that the chemicals in cigarettes can damage DNA, disrupt repair mechanisms in cells, and these can both increase the risk of cancer.
Professor Hopkinson revealed it particularly increases the risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which causes cervical cancer.
While most people are aware that cigarette smoke will raise the risk of lung conditions, far fewer knew about its impact on other forms of cancer.
However, an investigation in the European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology stated tobacco is “the most important co-factor of progression” for HPV. In fact, it increases the risk from between two and four times compared with a woman who does not smoke.
It has also been reported that nicotine and tobacco carcinogens have been found in cervical mucus of those who smoke, compounding the hypothesis that smoking encourages the development of cervical cancer.
Not only does smoking make it more likely to develop cancers, but it also makes it more difficult for the patient to beat the illness too.
Professor Hopkinson stated: “Smokers also have poorer outcomes from treatment if they develop cancer, increasing the risk of complications from surgery and decreasing the effectiveness of some treatments.”
At the same time, researchers discovered those who quit smoking were able to reduce their risk for heart failure, as well as types of cancer.
Seoul National University Hospital’s Jung Eun Yoo said heavy smokers who gave up smoking had a lower risk for heart failure compared with heavy smokers who carried on with their habit.
He added: “The beneficial effect of self-reported smoking cessation on heart failure risk reduction was more prominent in younger participants than in the older age group. Although smoking cessation is beneficial at all ages, the greatest benefit was seen in those who quit earliest in life.”
One of the best ways to quit smoking is to take up vaping, with Public Health England reporting success rates of between 59.7 per cent and 74 per cent in 2019 and 2020 among smokers who used e-cigarettes instead.
For DIY vape juice kits to help quit smoking, take a look here.