Is Your Vice Killing You? The Consequences of Living Dangerously


Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has that one thing, or sometimes more than one, that they just love, despite knowing that it’s bad for them. That danger often feels like an abstract thing, though, and it’s easy to trade future abstract suffering for immediate momentary pleasure. Everyone should be educated about the things that might kill them, though. Maybe it will be enough to get you to quit, or just give you a perspective on the consequences of your vice. Regardless, the only way to treat yourself the way you should be treated is by making sure that you’re informed, so here’s a list of some of the most common vices, along with the potential consequences to your health that they can bring.

Smoking Tobacco

Nearly everyone at this point know that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are bad for you. But what specifically are the dangers of tobacco? Smoking can be a cause of several different types of cancer, specifically lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, and heart cancer. The cancer side is moderately well known, but tobacco can also be a contributor to developing type II diabetes, going blind, getting erectile dysfunction, gum disease, and even arthritis. Due to the prevalence of smokers in America, though that number is thankfully going down, and the different ways that tobacco can mess up your body, smoking cigarettes is one of the top causes of death yearly, accounting for roughly one in five deaths.

Smoking Marijuana

Many vocal proponents of marijuana will say that it’s totally safe and that you can’t get addictive. While it’s true that marijuana is safer than many of the other vices on this list, safer isn’t the same as harm-free. You can, in fact, get addicted to marijuana; not chemically, but just like people can get addicted to gambling or shopping, it’s very possible to become addicted to marijuana and not even realize it. Roughly one in ten users are addicted. When you smoke marijuana, you burn it, and that naturally causes carcinogens. No matter what the substance, inhaling smoke is not good for your lungs. If you can, vaping marijuana instead of smoking it is a healthier option. If you have an unhealthy heart, then marijuana might be able to potentially induce a heart attack in the several hours following smoking it. It’s also possible that smoking marijuana might trigger schizophrenia, if you are already predisposed to it, which there’s no way to know. Finally, marijuana can have a negative effect on developing brains, so, despite the stoner teen stereotype, it really is something that should only be used by adults.

Drinking Alcohol

The most common and widely known health effect of drinking too much is liver damage or liver disease. This is because the liver processes everything we eat and drink, and treats alcohol as a toxin that needs to be purged from your body. Over time, the liver simply can’t keep up. There are a myriad of other potential health factors caused by drinking too much, though. Drinking heavily raises your risk of a number of different cancers, something that is just compounded if you smoke and drink. Drinking, especially binge drinking, can also cause your blood to clump together into blood clots, potentially giving you a heart attack or a stroke. Drinking over the course of a lifetime also has a negative effect on the brain, and many older people who drank throughout their lives develop dementia in their old age. Other potential outcomes of heavy drinking include high blood pressure, nerve damage, and gout, an incredibly painful joint condition.

Over-Eating

It might not be a drug, but eating too much is definitely a vice for some people. The main problem with overeating is quite obvious: it leads to obesity. Obesity is defined as when a person’s BMI is over 30. Obesity is another one of the major killers in American society today, as it can lead to a number of conditions, many of which have already been mentioned. High blood pressure, heart disease, various cancers, and gout are all potential effects of being obese. One of the most prevalent consequences is developing type II diabetes, a condition which, untreated or managed poorly, can lead to a very unpleasant death. Generally, the more obese someone is, the more chance they have of developing complications, so if you have a habit of eating too much, then you should probably look into a fitness and diet plan for your own present and future wellbeing.

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction isn’t directly putting anything into your body, but it does come with a number of risks, some health, some otherwise. The major health issue related to sex addiction is the increased odds of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Some STDs, like chlamydia, are relatively easily treated or, like herpes, aren’t treatable but also aren’t particularly dangerous. There are others, though, that could seriously harm and even kill you. Hepatitis and HIV are all STDs that are both incurable and potentially fatal. Syphilis, on the other hand, can be treated, but because it doesn’t show early signs and sometimes has the same symptoms as other STDs, it is notoriously hard to diagnose, and if it isn’t treated quickly enough, it can also lead to death.

Drugs (Cocaine, Meth, Heroin, etc.)

With all the many drugs on the market now, it would be nearly impossible to list every single one along with their potential consequences. There is one major factor, though, that differentiates these, and other, drugs, from everything else on this list (except alcohol). Everything else can kill you after years of sustained use and addiction,  but drugs can kill you today, with no warning. Especially with things like heroin being cut with the highly deadly fentanyl and home-cooked meth, every time you use the drug, even if you do everything right, you’re taking a chance. Any factor can go wrong in one way, and you can end up overdosing or dead. The long term effects of things like meth and cocaine look pretty similar to a lot of this list, especially when it comes to blood pressure and heart disease, but addicts of these drugs often don’t live long enough to die of health complications when they’re older.