Hemophilia and cigarette smoking

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Teens living with hemophilia can learn why smoking is bad news for their health.

There are many different reasons why people start smoking. What’s important to know is that cigarette smoking is bad news for your health. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in tobacco. The body and mind become so used to the nicotine that you feel that you need to have it to feel normal.

While the main health concern associated with smoking is lung cancer, it can also cause osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and thin, and more likely to fracture. If you smoke, you have a higher chance of developing osteoporosis. Because joint inflammation is already an issue for those with hemophilia, osteoporosis just adds to this complication. Men with chronic joint disease are at a higher risk for falls, and when this is coupled with osteoporosis, can also lead to a higher risk of fractures.

Smoking can harden blood vessels in your body, which can prevent oxygen and nutrients from getting to your skin. It can make you look pale and unhealthy, and can make you prone to wrinkly skin at an early age.

People who smoke often find it difficult to participate in physical activities and exercise. Smoking can cause a faster heartbeat, poor blood circulation, and shortness of breath, making it hard to be active.

Other consequences of smoking include:

  • Developing wrinkles and yellow teeth.
  • Bad breath.
  • Bad-smelling clothes and hair. It’s often hard to get the smell of smoke out as it lingers for a while.
  • Greater risk of injury and slower healing time. Smoking can affect your body’s ability to produce collagen, which is the protein that connects your bones, tendons, cartilage, and muscles. This means that damage to tendons and ligaments will heal more slowly in smokers.
  • Increased risk of illness. Smokers tend to have more colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia than non-smokers. Also, young people who diet by smoking instead of eating lack the nutrients to grow, develop, and fight off illness properly.
  • Cost. It won’t take long for smoking to make a big dent in your wallet.

Staying smoke-free

The best way to avoid the problems caused by cigarette smoking is to not start smoking in the first place. It may be difficult to do this if others around you smoke and you are offered cigarettes. If you find yourself in this situation, have your reason for not smoking ready, such as “I just don’t like it,” or “I want to stay in shape for swimming,” or “No thanks, not right now.”

If you do smoke and would like to quit, there is a lot of support available. Information is available on the Internet, through your local hospital, and organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society. You can also speak to your health-care provider. These resources can help you with whichever approach to quitting you prefer. Some people decide to give up smoking all at once and others find that a gradual approach is better. Others may even prefer a support group for teenagers who would like to quit.

Most people who smoke feel that they can quit at any time, but nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the world. This doesn’t mean that you can’t quit, but it does mean that the earlier you quit the better. If you don’t think you can quit, keep track of how much you smoke for a week, then cut back by two cigarettes the next week. Once you get used to that you can continue to cut back more and more until quitting seems like a more realistic option.

Quitting smoking can be difficult at first, but don’t give up! Staying smoke-free can help bring back more energy, better looks, and more life to live!

Last updated: March 13th 2019