Do you always feel the need to reach for a pack of cigarettes whenever you get stressed? Maybe it's time to review your smoking habits, as research reveals that it causes our bones to become brittle.

After 20 years since scientists first identified smoking as a major factor in the development of osteoporosis, ScienceDaily.com reports exactly how this habit has gone beyond respiratory diseases.

In a study funded by the Cancer and Smoking Related Disease Research Program and the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Biomedical Research Program, researcher Gary Guishian Xaio and his colleagues discovered that the toxins contained in cigarette smoke disrupt the natural progression of two important cells: osteoblasts, which aid in bone construction and restoration, and osteoclasts, which promote bone dissolution and resorption. Smokers have been found to produce abnormally large amounts of proteins that produce osteoclasts, making their bones brittle and prone to osteoporosis.

Although smoking is a common de-stressor for many, its long-term effects outweigh its short-term benefits. If you have decided to kick the habit, here are a few tips that can help.

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(Photo by CELAL TEBER via sxc.hu)

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