One in two lifetime smokers will die from their habit. Half of these deaths will occur in middle age. Tobacco smoke also contributes to a number of cancers. The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, straining your heart and blood vessels. This can cause heart attacks and stroke. It slows your blood flow, cutting off oxygen to your feet and hands. Some smokers end up having their limbs amputated. Tar coats your lungs like soot in a chimney and causes cancer. A 20-a-day smoker breathes in up to a full cup (210 g) of tar in a year. Changing to low-tar cigarettes does not help because smokers usually take deeper puffs and hold the smoke in for longer, dragging the tar deeper into their lungs. Carbon monoxide robs your muscles, brain and body tissue of oxygen, making your whole body and especially your heart work harder. Over time, your airways swell up and let less air into your lungs. Smoking causes disease and is a slow way to die. The strain of smoking effects on the body often causes years of suffering. Emphysema is an illness that slowly rots your lungs. People with emphysema often get bronchitis again and again, and suffer lung and heart failure. Lung cancer from smoking is caused by the tar in tobacco smoke. Men who smoke are ten times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers. Heart disease and strokes are also more common among smokers than non-smokers. Smoking causes fat deposits to narrow and block blood vessels which leads to heart attack. Smoking causes around one in five deaths from heart disease. In younger people, three out of four deaths from heart disease are due to smoking. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight, prematurity, spontaneous abortion, and perinatal mortality in humans, which has been referred to as the fetal tobacco syndrome.
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