What Are The Risks Of Smoking – Medical review by Megan Soliman, MD – Danielle Dresden and Hana Ames – Updated July 29, 2022
Cigarette smoking can have many negative effects on the body. Some of them can lead to life-threatening complications. Smoking increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and more.
What Are The Risks Of Smoking
, smoking cigarettes damages almost every organ in the body and causes many diseases. It reduces the overall health of smokers.
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Cigarette smoking affects the respiratory system, circulatory system, reproductive system, skin and eyes and increases the risk of many types of cancer.
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Cigarette smoking also poses a greater risk of developing and dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The American Lung Association reports that smoking causes 80% of COPD deaths.
Cigarettes are also linked to the development of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. They can also trigger or worsen an asthma attack.
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The chemicals and tar in cigarettes can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. This buildup restricts blood flow and can lead to dangerous blockages.
Smoking also increases the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when the arteries in the arms and legs begin to narrow, limiting blood flow.
Shows a direct link between smoking and the development of PAD – even those who have previously smoked face a higher risk than those who have never smoked.
For men, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases the more they smoke and the longer they smoke. Smoking can also affect sperm quality and thus reduce fertility.
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Smoking tobacco can limit a person’s ability to taste and smell well. It can also stain the teeth yellow or brown.
Smoking tobacco can affect a person’s skin and hair. A person who smokes may have prematurely aging, wrinkled skin. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, some of the long-term effects of smoking include:
Smoking can cause your hair and skin to smell like tobacco. It can contribute to hair loss and baldness. It can also cause the nails to become discolored, causing them to turn yellow or brown.
Stomach cancer. Research links smoking to cancer in the upper part of the stomach, near the esophagus. This is known as esophageal cancer.
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To develop pain – inflammation of the stomach lining – as in non-smokers, which can lead to ulcers in the stomach or intestines.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, which controls all physical and mental activity.
A smoker’s central nervous system becomes damaged because nicotine causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, causing these organs to weaken over time.
Children of parents who smoke get sick more often, have lung infections more often, and are more likely to be short of breath.
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If a fetus or child is exposed to secondhand smoke, they may be at risk of childhood cancers such as:
Once a person quits smoking, the benefits begin to accumulate. These include clearer skin, improved oral health, more stable hormones, a stronger immune system, and a greatly reduced risk of cancer.
Nicotine is an addictive drug and can cause withdrawal symptoms when a person stops using it. These symptoms include cravings, increased appetite, and irritability. Cravings and other effects usually decrease over time.
Cigarette smoking harms a person’s health and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and various types of cancer.
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Other effects of smoking include fertility problems, poor oral hygiene, skin problems and an increased risk of neurological disorders.
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of health problems such as stroke and heart disease and improves a person’s overall health.
Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using third party links. We link to primary sources—including studies, scientific references, and statistics—in every article, and we also list them in the sources section below our articles. Learn more about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial policy. Whether smoked or chewed, tobacco is harmful to your health. Tobacco products contain harmful substances, from acetone and tar to nicotine and carbon monoxide. Inhaled substances can affect your lungs and other organs in your body.
Smoking can lead to persistent complications and long-term effects on your body systems. While smoking can increase the risk of certain health conditions over the years, such as glaucoma, cancer, and blood clotting problems, some of the physical effects are immediate.
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Tobacco smoke is extremely harmful to your health. There is no safe way to smoke. Changing cigarettes for a cigar, pipe, e-cigarette or hookah will not help you avoid health risks.
According to the American Lung Association, cigarettes contain approximately 600 ingredients. Many of these ingredients are also in cigars and hookahs. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. At least 69 of them are carcinogenic or known to cause cancer.
People who have never smoked. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that smoking is
Although not all the effects of smoking are immediate, complications and damage can last for years. The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce many of the risk factors for the conditions and diseases listed below.
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Smoking can increase inflammation throughout the body and negatively affect your immune system. This can make you more susceptible to infection.
, depending on the type of cancer. However, your risk will still be higher than people who have never smoked.
One of the components of tobacco is nicotine, which changes mood. Nicotine is addictive and highly addictive. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so hard for people to quit smoking.
Nicotine reaches your brain in seconds and can give you a quick burst of energy. However, when the effect wears off, you may feel tired and crave more. Physical withdrawal from nicotine can affect your ability to think and make you feel negative. These may include:
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Long-term smoking can affect your vision and optic nerve. It can lead to the development of certain conditions that affect the eyes. These may include:
Smoking damages the airways, the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, and the cilia, which are tiny hair-like structures that prevent dirt and mucus from entering the lungs.
Damage to the respiratory system can also make you more susceptible to certain infections that affect the lungs, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, and increase the chance of dying from these diseases.
Lung damage from smoking can cause lung disease or lung cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and smokers are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer than non-smokers.
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Quitting tobacco products can cause temporary congestion and difficulty breathing while your lungs and airways begin to heal. Increased mucus production immediately after you quit smoking can be a positive sign that your respiratory system is recovering.
Children whose parents or caregivers smoke cigarettes may also suffer from certain health problems at a higher rate than children whose caregivers do not smoke. These may include:
Teens who smoke may end up with smaller and weaker lungs than the lungs of teens who don’t smoke.
Smoking can also contribute to fertility problems and lower levels of sex hormones in men and women, leading to reduced sex drive.
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In people with a vagina, this can lead to sexual dissatisfaction by reducing lubrication and the ability to achieve lust. Menopause can also
Smoking affects hormone production and can make it harder for women with a vagina to get pregnant. It can be too
Smoking can affect the function of blood vessels, which can limit the blood flow needed to achieve an erection in men with a male part. This can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED). ED can also lead to fertility problems.
It can also damage the DNA of sperm, making it harder to get pregnant and increasing the risk of miscarriage and certain birth defects.
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Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, which restricts blood flow. Smoking also increases blood pressure, weakens blood vessel walls and increases the risk of blood clots.
Smoking affects your cardiovascular health and the health of those around you who do not smoke. Exposure to smoke is not the same risk for a non-smoker as for a smoker. Risks may include:
Between smoking and androgenetic alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss in men. Smoking causes hair loss due to:
Smoking increases the risk of cancer in the organs of the digestive system. This may include cancer:
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Smoking also affects insulin, making you more likely to develop insulin resistance. People who smoke cigarettes have a
Type 2 diabetes tends to develop faster in smokers than in nonsmokers
For periodontal disease or disease affecting the gums. This happens because smoking causes inflammation around the teeth and increases the risk of bacterial infection. The gums may swell and bleed (gingivitis) and eventually pull away from the teeth (periodontitis).
Tobacco use is
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