A scientific look at six common smoking narratives to sift the many myths from facts.
The myths about smoking are so widespread that it is often difficult to recognise them. We accept them as facts because everybody seems to believe so. It’s time we take a scientific look at these common smoking narratives in order to sift the myths from facts. (Take look at the video our fact checkers worked on this World No Tobacco Day.)
Here are six important facts about smoking:
Smoking affects fertility
Studies show that smoking is a leading cause for erectile dysfunction. It can affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage. Similarly, women who smoke also have more difficulty becoming pregnant. Besides, women who smoke during pregnancy have a higher chance of delivering preterm babies, or babies with cleft lip.
Smoking does not relieve stress
Research shows that smoking actually increases anxiety and stress. Nicotine, the major toxic ingredient in cigarettes, is a stimulant and releases stress hormones such as adrenaline. Although smoking may create an immediate sense of relaxation, the feeling is followed by the need to smoke again, and subsequent anxiety – making it a vicious cycle.
“Light” cigarettes are harmful too
Contrary to popular perceptions, “light” cigarettes are not safer than regular cigarettes. Tar exposure from a “light” cigarette can be just as high as that from a regular cigarette, if the smoker takes long, deep, or frequent puffs. In other words, “light” cigarettes do not reduce the health risks of smoking.
Vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking
Given that there is very little research on the dangers of vaping, it’s hard to determine the true extent of the damage that e-cigarettes can cause. However, early evidence shows that e-cigarette aerosol is indeed harmful.
Secondhand smoke is just as bad
Secondhand smoke is the smoke that non-smokers breath when they are in the company of people who smoke. Studies show that passive smokers have a higher risk of getting lung cancer and breast cancer, among other diseases.
It is never too late to quit smoking
Research clearly shows that quitting smoking, irrespective of the age at which one does it, significantly improves one’s health and adds years to the person’s life. No matter what your age or how long who have been smoking, it’s never too late to kick the butt.