When it comes to smoking cessation, all the talk is usually about heart and lung health. And while that’s with good reason, it’s worth mentioning that the rest of your body will benefit as well.
Consider your gastrointestinal system. Smoke doesn’t confine itself to your lungs, but also works its way into the digestive tract. Secondhand smoke and exposure has been linked to heartburn and indigestion, as well as esophageal, pancreatic and colon cancers. What’s more, smoking slows your immune system’s response, so it takes longer to heal from any digestive problems, such as acid reflux or ulcers, which you may have.
Smoking also increases the risk of Crohn’s disease and gallstones, as well as damage to the liver, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Ulcers are another digestive issue linked to smoking. And to top it all off, there’s also evidence that if you suffer from hemorrhoids, smoking can slow down the healing process.
In fact, here are some serious numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Of the top 10 cancers that affect men, three involve the digestive system or its accessory organs. Those are colon and rectal cancer, cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx and pancreatic cancer.
So if you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking, why not backtrack and put it on the list? Your entire body will benefit almost immediately, and your overall health and wellness will be boosted in the days, months and years to come.