Smoking affects millions, including the blind, and can also lead to visual impairment – or total vision loss. We are asking that individuals living with blindness reach out to others in their community.
For those that suffer from vision loss or blindness, smoking may seem like it is a separate issue. However, it is sometimes directly related. The blind are not immune to the dangers of smoking. Although smoking can lead to vision loss or blindness, there are a myriad of health issues for those with an existing visual condition to contend with. While increased educational efforts and public services have made smoking’s dangers increasingly well-known for current or would-be smokers, many individuals across the country – even the blind – continue to smoke. Smoking is an epidemic, although all is not lost.
The Dangers of Smoking and how it Affects the Blind
While many now understand that cigarettes are bad for them, many still do not know the extent of the damage caused by cigarettes. Approximately 17% of all deaths in America annually is because of smoking. According to the CDC, smoking cigarettes causes almost half a million premature deaths in the U.S. each and every year, and an additional 16 million people suffer from debilitating diseases. These illnesses can range from OCPD, heart disease, stroke, lung and blood cancers, chronic bronchitis, collapsed lung, and more. Smoking can also lead to total vision loss.
These diseases affect the blind in the exact same way that they affect the general population. Although, there is a difference. An individual living with a complete loss of vision has learned, or is in the process of learning, how to accomplish daily tasks without sight. Many do not consider this a disability, but a new chapter in life. While one has become acclimated or is becoming acclimated to their routine, living with an illness can cause a significant decrease in life quality. Respiratory disease, for example, would make living by listening, feeling, and memory, a most difficult task due to constant fatigue and shortness of breath. This is not to mention the constant doctor visits, and visits to the E.R.
Smoking leads to numerous health complications. It also affects the immune system. This causes a deficit in your body’s ability to fight off infections. With the myriad of complications that are caused by smoking, there is little logic in creating additional medical issues to have to live with and address. Living without sight may or may not pose certain challenges to some, but smoking poses the risk of contracting dozens diseases, cancers, and death, to all. According to the American Lung Association, smoking is the #1 cause of preventable disease and death in the world. Additionally, it costs the US billions due to health care, and billions in lost productivity.
We are asking that individuals living with blindness, or any degree of visual impairment, to reach out to others in their community. Making education available is only the beginning. Taking the invaluable step in teaching others and supporting them in their struggle to quit can be life changing for countless sufferers. For those who are only experiencing the onset of visual impairment, quitting now will reduce symptoms and progression brought about by smoking – even in those who have smoked for a long time. For those who are already living with a visual impairment, loss, or total blindness, many are counting on you to be the voice of reason. They are counting on you to help educate and teach others about preventing disease, while living with blindness. Though blindness may not be considered a challenge for some, life without sight while managing numerous diseases or cancers can be a challenge to great for many. We are asking that you help make a difference in somebody’s life today.