If it’s going to thin your hair and rob you off your sense of taste. Experts reveal the lesser-known health effects of puffing away
We all know that smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, lung conditions and affect a woman’s chances of conceiving and a man’s ability to get an erection. But here, ahead of No Smoking Day on March 12, we ask the experts to reveal some of the lesser-known but equally alarming health effects of smoking.
Your hair thins, loses lustre
Studies show that smoking can make your hair thinner. It depletes the body of essential nutrients such as zinc, B Vitamins, carotene, magnesium, calcium and Vitamin C, contributing to DNA damage at hair follicles.
Your cuts don’t heal
Smoking impairs the blood supply to your feet, making it harder for cuts to heal.
Smokers may also find that they experience pain in the back of their calves when they exercise, and that the demand on their muscles is greater, say podiatrists.
You don’t smell bread in the bakery
Smell is a key sense affected by smoking. Smoke damages the sensitive nerve endings which give us our sense of smell. It also causes thicker mucus in the nose. Particles from things we smell get stuck in this mucus, and cannot reach the nerve endings. This gradually results in a worse sense of smell.
You are more prone to a fracture
Smoking has been shown to slow down the work of osteoblasts, which are responsible for building bone cells, and the effects can be serious. It may result in an earlier menopause, which can also increase your risk of breaking a hip later in life. One study has shown that fracture risks are higher for smokers.
You don’t taste celery in soup
Smokers’ sense of taste is worse than that of non-smokers, according to a study carried out at the Aristotle University in Greece. Nicotine tends to monopolise smokers’ taste sensors so they can’t enjoy the full range of flavours.
You look older than you are
Smoking ages skin by making it less elastic, leading to lines and wrinkles. It also turns the skin yellow and puts you at a higher risk of skin cancer. Smoking increases the production of tropoelastin and matrix metalloproteinases, which degrade skin proteins and produce abnormal elastosis material in the skin.
You can’t read fine print
Most of the 4,000 compounds that make up tobacco smoke are toxic and can potentially damage the eyes. They can reduce macular pigment density, leading to macular degeneration — the main cause of blindness in the West.