Kicking a bad habit can be tough, but it’s a whole lot easier when you have good support. Smoking is a habit that harms your health, but nicotine’s addictive qualities make it hard to quit. If you have been wanting to quit smoking, mark November 21 on your calendar. The American Cancer Society has declared the third Thursday in November The Great American Smokeout. This is a special day that provides support for smokers to help them decide to quit on that day or to create a plan to quit.
Tobacco is the most preventable cause of death. It contributes to 1 in 3 cancer deaths, and it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Smoking damages the lungs, decreases blood circulation, and increases the risk for osteoporosis, arthritis and reproductive problems. Another way that smoking damages your health is that it increases the risk of cataracts (Source: American Cancer Society).
Smoking and eye problems may not seem to be connected but smoking does increase the risk for cataracts. A cataract forms when a normally clear lens becomes cloudy because proteins in the lens begin to clump together. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, and over 24 million Americans are affected by cataracts after the age of 40.
Although cataracts can affect anyone, smokers are much more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts and the risk increases the more they smoke. Smokers also are at risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age. Many smokers think that quitting won’t help because they have already damaged their health, but this is not accurate. After quitting, their risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration become almost as low as if they have never smoked.
Smoking does not just compromise your lungs and heart; it affects your vision. Commit to quitting smoking on November 21, or encourage a family member or friend to quit that day. Together, we can snuff out smoking and make ourselves, our families and our communities more healthy!