11/24/2010 03:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Weekly Health Tip: Never Smoke. If You Smoke Now, Quit

A smoker's body shows evidence of the habit's deadly effects from head to toe. The way tobacco smoke ravages lung tissue is well known. The cardiovascular system is also imperiled as smoking damages the cells lining blood vessels and causes arteries to constrict. Smokers' risk of heart disease is 2 to 4 times that of nonsmokers, and their risk of sudden death from a heart attack is twice that of nonsmokers. Smokers also are more likely to suffer vision loss from cataract development or macular degeneration. Expectant mothers who smoke expose the fetus to grievous harm. Smoking causes the uterine blood vessels to narrow. As a result, overall fetal growth is slowed and brain development can be seriously impeded. The likelihood of premature birth and other delivery complications is higher for smokers. The effects of smoking also include slower healing of wounds, muscle fatigue and premature aging. Smoking is an all-out assault on nearly every function of the body.

Learn more about the benefits of smoking cessation: Never Smoke. If you Smoke Now, Quit