5 Lesser-Known Dangers Of Smoking

It is well-known that smoking can increase the risk of developing lung cancer, dental staining, and premature signs of aging. But what are some of the lesser-known dangers of cigarettes?

1. Premenstrual syndrome

Your PMS symptoms may be worsened by your cigarette habit. For instance, women who smoke experience a 50 percent increase in cramps lasting two or more days, as noted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

There is also a higher risk of developing other symptoms such as backaches, bloating, breast tenderness, and acne. Researchers suggest that smoking alters the levels of hormones and depletes vitamin D, both of which contribute toward this risk in women.

2. Damaged eyesight

Heavy smoking could lead to a decline in the quality of your vision, according to studies, including a recent one from Rutgers University. Participants who were heavy smokers were not as good as their counterparts when it came to noticing subtle differences between shades of various colors.

It was suggested that exposure to compounds in tobacco smoke may decrease activity in the area of the brain that processes vision. Past research has also stated that smoking over a long period of time can double your risk of age-related macular degeneration.

3. Erectile dysfunction

In a survey by Tulane University which involved more than 7,500 men, researchers found a link between the number of cigarettes smoked by a man and his chances of developing erectile dysfunction. 

Aside from reducing the levels of testosterone in the body, it should also be noted that nicotine has an impact on blood flow, which is important for maintaining erections. "It is particularly relevant for men in that there is a much higher rate of impotence in men who smoke," Harry Lando, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota told Everyday Health.

4. Other cancers

When looking into the risks of smoking, the first and most common danger we hear about is that it can significantly increase your risk of lung cancer. But that is far from the only type of cancer a smoker should worry about.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society have attributed close to half the deaths from 12 different types of cancer to smoking. Aside from lung cancer, these include liver, colon and rectum, oral cavity and throat, esophagus, larynx, stomach, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia.

5. Urinary problems

"What many people do not realize is that the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke are absorbed into the blood, pass through the kidneys, and collect in the urine that is stored in the bladder," explained Rian Dickstein, director of the Bladder Cancer Program at Chesapeake Urology.

These chemicals can irritate the bladder and contribute to urge incontinence, worsening the urgency and frequency of urination. Experts add the "smoker's cough," which longtime smokers are familiar with, may also increase the likelihood of involuntary urination or leakage.