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© WikipediaVan Goghโ€™s Skull With A Burning Cigarette
So we all know and are well aware of the effects of smoking. In fact, governments are working hard to reduce the amount of places where you can smoke. That still doesn't mean there aren't advantages to lighting up everyone once in a while.

In fact, science is showing that short-term exposure to cigarette smoke can have surprising benefits. From mental stimulation to physical transformation, smokers themselves are aware of a lot of these lesser-known impacts of tobacco.

Millions try for years to quit smoking, and for many it is just not an option. With workplace stress or physical dependency, it's difficult for the majority of smokers to give it up. For those who have tried and failed to kick the habit, let these scientific words of encouragement ease your pain.

Here are just a few of these unknown benefits of smoking cigarettes based on recent scientific studies.

1. Weight loss

Perhaps more obvious to many, tobacco suppresses the body's appetite and overall desire to eat for brief periods of time. For those who are excessively overweight and for those who battle over-eatingdisorders, tobacco has proven to show that there are direct benefits to smoking cigarettes.

2. Relaxant

Again, like weight loss, one of the main reasons people take up or continue smoking cigarettes is because it relaxes them during stressful periods. Although people have suggested taking upalternative habits to coping with stress, smoking is undoubtedly the most common method to relieving anxiety and stress for a short term.

3. Mental stimulation

Related to Benefit of Smoking #3 is the mental advantages of smoking you get. Nicotine - contained in all cigarettes - has been proven to stimulate the release of dopamine, a chemical contained in the brain that releases euphoric bouts of pleasure. Smokers often combat stress with smoking and in turn increase levels of happiness and pleasure for a brief period of time before the chemical subsides.

4. Lower risk of death following a heart attack

A recent study showed that another benefit to smoking cigarettes is that cigarette smokers appear to have a lower likelihood of death following a heart attack. Evidence also shows that smokers who do have heart attacks seem to have less dangerous heart attacks than non-smokers. Some studies have also shown that smokers respond more positively to post-heart attack treatment than non-smokers.

Of course, these studies are likely flawed because heart disease may be linked to the very act of smoking itself, but it's a nice thought if you're a smoker, isn't it?

5. Lower risk or impacts of mental illness

Evidence also shows that a significant amount of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia use tobacco as a way to self-medicate. This reduces impacts of the disease and inhibits frequency of episodes. Smoking has also indirectly been shown to reduce the risk of mental illnesses such as Alzheimers and dementia.

6. Lowers risk of neurological disease

Prominent studies have shown smokers as less likely to suffer from neurological diseases such as Parkinson's. Longer-term smokers, as it seems, appear to be virtually immune from contracting the disease, as opposed to short-term or non-smokers.

7. Lowers risk of need for knee-replacement

In a more specific area of the body, smoking has shown in scientific studies to reduce the likelihood that smokers will require knee-replacement procedures. Of course, the most likely explanation for this finding is that the majority of those requiring knee-replacement surgeries were joggers or rigorous athletes; a description that doesn't exactly fit traditional smokers.

Caveats

It's important to keep in mind the psychological and mental rewards that smokers get from cigarettes. After a rough day at work or bouts of mental illness, cigarettes have proven to alleviate negative symptoms. And for those looking to lose weight, tobacco has been known to help suppress appetite at least short term. Understanding the psychological and physiological benefits of smoking cigarettes can provide valuable insight for those looking to quit or help others quit smoking.

As stated before, the majority of us know that smoking has its hazards. We are bombarded through advertisements, campaigns and our friends and family. So at the next gathering, whenever you are getting berated for enjoying a smoke, let them know these few health benefits of smoking cigarettes.

Please keep in mind; even if we accept that there are some benefits to smoking cigarettes, smoking in general is still detrimental to your health. It will undoubtedly increase your risk for various cancers and heart diseases. Some of the scientific studies noted above that link health benefits with smoking are flawed and are likely a result of a correlation finding rather than causation.

Keep in mind that every smoker is different, so make sure to make regular visits to your doctor. If you are having difficulty quitting and you would like to do so, bring it up with a professional. Note that the intention of this article is to inform, enlighten and provide persistent smokers with a glimmer of hope, not to encourage you to take up smoking. Light up at your own risk!