Studies have shown that smoking causes many different types of cancer. But cancers account for only about half of the deaths linked to smoking. Long-term, smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke. It also makes pneumonia and asthma worse. Smoking is linked to about half of the gum disease in the United States, which means more tooth loss and mouth surgery. Wounds take longer to heal and the immune system may not work as well in smokers as in non-smokers.
Smoking also damages the arteries. This is why many vascular surgeons refuse to operate on patients with peripheral artery disease (poor blood circulation in the arms and legs) unless they stop smoking. And male smokers have a higher risk of sexual impotence (erectile dysfunction) the longer they smoke.
The truth is that cigarette smokers die younger than non-smokers. In fact, according to a study done in the late 1990s by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking shortened male smokers’ lives by 13.2 years and female smokers’ lives by 14.5 years. Men and women who smoke are much more likely to die during middle age (between the ages of 35 and 69) than those who have never smoked.