Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Your body You Didn't Know About

Smoking cigarettes can have adverse effects on the body. Some can be life-threatening conditions. Image: Pexels

Why are cigarettes bad?  

Cigarettes are filled with poison that goes into the lungs when a person inhales. Coughing, dizziness, and burning of the eyes, nose, and throat are early signs that smoking is harming you. Smoking increases health risks if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol. The long-term problems of smoking cigarettes are the following:

Cancer 

Cigarette smoking may play a role in developing many kinds of cancer, lung cancer is the most common kind and amongst the others are the cancer of lips, mouth, throat, or voice box, esophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, cervix, bladder, and skin cancer.

Heart and blood vessel disease

The nicotine in tobacco causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The arteries (blood vessels) in the arms and legs tighten and narrow because of the nicotine in cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke increases blood clotting and may damage the lining of your heart's arteries and other blood vessels.

Cigarette smoke contains Carbon monoxide which is a harmful gas that gets into the blood and decreases oxygen going to the heart and the body. Hardening of the arteries happens more often in smokers than in nonsmokers. This may increase the risk of getting a stroke (blood clot in your brain). The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk of a heart attack. 

Lung disease

Many smokers have a cough which is caused by the chemicals in smoke. These chemicals harm the cilia (tiny hairs) that line the lungs and help remove dirt and waste products. Depending upon how much you smoke, your lungs become gray and "dirty" (they look like charcoal). Healthy lungs are pink. Chronic smoking can lead to many other respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, Emphysema and also makes asthma worse. People are at a higher risk of getting colds, pneumonia, and other lung infections if they smoke.  

Gastrointestinal disease

Cigarette smoking increases the amount of acid that is made by the stomach and may cause a peptic ulcer (an open sore in the stomach or duodenum). You may also get gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) from smoking. This is when you have a backflow of stomach acid into your esophagus (food tube).

Other problems

The following are other problems that smoking may cause:

  • Bad breath
  • Bad smell in your clothes, hair, and skin.
  • Decreased ability to play sports or do physical activities because of breathing problems.
  • Earlier than normal wrinkling of the skin, usually the face. o Higher risk of bone fractures, such as hip, wrist, or spine because smoking decreases the bone mineral density
  • Men may have problems having an erection.
  • Sleeping problems. Sore throat.
  • Staining of teeth.


Women and Smoking

Women may have a higher risk of having the following:

  • Aheart attack or stroke if they smoke and use birth control pills (more serious for females more than 35 years or older)
  • Osteoporosis (also known as "brittle bones")
  • Incontinence
  • Harder getting pregnant Smoking & Pregnancy Risks:
  • The risk of losing an unborn baby or having a stillborn baby is higher if you are pregnant and smoke
  • Babies born to smoking mothers often weigh less and are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


What is "passive smoking or second-hand smoke"?

The effect that smoking has on nonsmokers is called "passive smoking". Nonsmokers who breathe tobacco smoke have the same health risks as smokers. Children who are around tobacco smoke may have more colds, ear infections, or other breathing problems.

1. Micromedex's Healthcare Series Online 2
2. http://www.who.int/tobacco/research/osteoporosis/en/
3. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/index.html

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