Contrary to popular belief, smoking doesn’t only harm the lungs of a smoker, and cancer isn’t the only threat to a smoker’s health. Inhaling tobacco smoke can cause damage to most of the body’s organs and systems.
Although the public understands that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, the lack of transparent information on the damage that can be done from smoking can also be dangerous.
This article provides a comprehensive list of the effects of smoking on your body.
Smoking Causes Cancer
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of cancer. 4 out of 5 cases of lung cancer are linked with smoking cigarettes. It also increases the risk of at least 13 other types of cancer including:
- Esophagus cancer
- Mouth and upper throat cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Pancreas cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Larynx cancer
To read more about how smoking is related to cancers visit Causation and Acceleration of Cancers.
How Smoking Affects the Circulatory System
Cigarette smoke damages the heart and blood cells. It can also cause:
- Aneurysms – an expanded and weakened area in the artery. Once it ruptures it can result in internal bleeding, stroke and death.
- Atherosclerosis – a buildup of fats and other substances in arteries. The buildup can block the artery or cause a rupture resulting in death.
- Coronary heart disease – the damage to, and weakening of the heart’s major arteries.
- Elevated blood pressure – which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
To find out more about heart conditions and smoking please refer to The Effects of Smoking: Heart Disease.
How Smoking Affects the Immune System
- Smoking can damage the immune system and make the smoker more susceptible to diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza.
- Crohn’s disease – it’s an inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. Symptoms include abdomen pain, diarrhea and fatigue.
- Smoking doubles your risk of rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic inflammation of the joints, especially the ones in hands and feet. Symptoms include joint pain and swelling.
To learn more visit How Smoking Affects The Immune System.
How Smoking Affects the Respiratory System
Cigarette smoke damages your lungs and irritates your wind pipe and voice box. It also worsens asthma. Smoking can cause:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. The main diseases that make up COPD are: emphysema -the result of the damage to the linings in the lungs caused by the toxins in cigarette smoke and chronic bronchitis.
- Pneumonia – an infection that causes inflammation of the air sacks and can cause the lungs to fill up with fluid. Symptoms include a wet chough with phlegm or pus, fever and difficulty breathing.
- Tuberculosis – it’s a serious bacterial lung infection. Symptoms include coughing, weight loss, fever and fatigue.
To learn more visit The Effects of Smoking: COPD.
How Smoking Affects the Musculoskeletal System
- Decrease bone density. Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis – a condition that weakens the bones and makes them more susceptible to trauma.
- The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke decreases the strength of your muscles and hinders their growth.
Find more information at Smoking and Diabetes.
How Smoking Affects Your Vision
Smokers are up to four times more likely to go blind in old age. Smoking increases the risk of:
- Cataracts – the clouding of the lens of the eye. Symptoms include blurred vision, sensitivity to light and vision loss. Smoking doubles your chances of developing cataracts.
- Macular degeneration – a disease that causes a loss in the center of the field of vision. Symptoms include seeing spots, blurry vision and straight lines appearing curved. Smoking triples your chances of developing macular degeneration.
- Uveitis – it’s an inflammation of the middle of the eye. Symptoms include pain, redness and eye sensitivity.
Find out more about How Smoking Affects Your Vision.
How Smoking Affects the Sexual Organs
For men, smoking increases the risk of:
- Lower sperm count and a higher percentage of deformed sperm.
- Genetic damage to sperm.
- Impotence caused by the decreased circulation of blood.
For women, smoking causes:
- A decrease in fertility.
- Irregularities of the menstrual cycle.
- An earlier menopause.
How Smoking Affects Diabetes
Research shows that smoking causes type 2 diabetes. Smoking increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 30-40%. The more cigarettes you smoke, the higher the chance of developing diabetes becomes. In addition, smoking makes any type of diabetes more difficult to control. Smokers are more likely to have trouble with insulin doses.To learn more visit Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy can do serious harm to the unborn baby. The effects include:
- Drastically increasing the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths.
- Increasing the risk of a premature birth.
Secondhand smoking can be equally harmful to the fetus.
To find out more visit: Smoking and Women’s Health.
The effects of smoking are far reaching and numerous. Long-term smoking can damage the body beyond repair. Surgeries may result in disfigurement and amputation. Surgeries may even result in dependence upon machines such as oxygen tanks to breathe and voice stimulators for the simple action of speech. Throat cancers may further result in total voice loss. Damage to the body may become severe enough to eventually result in death.
To find out which quit smoking method is best for you, visit: Quit Smoking for Good — The Best Quit Smoking Guide
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