The Effects of Smoking on the Body

The Effects of Smoking on the Body

Smoking causes heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Smoking or chewing tobacco is harmful. Nicotine, carbon monoxide, acetone, and tar are in tobacco. Inhaled substances affect your lungs and other organs.

Smoking causes long-term health issues. Smoking can cause glaucoma, cancer, and blood clotting over time, but some of its effects are immediate.

Quitting smoking reverses many of these effects.

Smoking symptoms and effects are listed below.

Smoking is dangerous. Smoking is never safe. Cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, and hookahs don’t reduce health risks.

Cigarettes have 600 ingredients, according to the ALA. Cigars and hookahs use many of these ingredients. Burning them releases over 7,000 toxic chemicals. Sixty-nine are carcinogenic.

Smokers die three times faster than nonsmokers in the US. According to the CDC, smoking causes the most preventable deaths in the US.

Smoking has long-term effects. Quitting smoking lowers many risk factors for the conditions and diseases below.

Wellness and cancer risk

Smoking harms your organs and health.

Smoking increases inflammation and weakens your immune system. Infection risk may increase.

Smoking is an environmental risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis, but the mechanism is unknown.

Smoking also causes many cancers. Smoking raises

Your risk of cancer is almost everywhere. Cancer types include:

  • cystitis
  • cervix
  • colorectal
  • esophageal cancer
  • kidney/uterine cancer
  • larynx cancer
  • hepatitis
  • oral cancer (which can include parts of your throat, tongue, tonsils, and soft palate)
  • pancreatic
  • gastric cancer

lung, bronchial, and tracheal cancer

Quitting smoking reduces the risk of most of these cancers in 10–20 years, depending on the type. You still have a higher risk than nonsmokers.

Central nervous system

Nicotine is in tobacco. Nicotine causes addiction. It makes quitting smoking difficult.

Nicotine instantly energizes your brain. After the effect wears off, you may feel tired and want more. Nicotine withdrawal can impair cognition and cause depression. Examples:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depression

Withdrawal causes headaches and insomnia.


Long-term smoking can damage your optic nerve. Eye conditions may result. Examples:

Glaucoma, which increases eye pressure and damages the optic nerve, causing blindness.

Cataracts cloud vision

Optician looking into patients eyes

age-related macular degeneration, which damages the central retina and causes significant vision loss.


Smoking damages the airways, alveoli, and cilia, which keep dirt and mucus out of the lungs.

Smoking damages the lungs and tissue permanently.

Damage to the respiratory system increases your risk of dying from lung infections like tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Smoking causes chronic coughs. Asthma attacks may worsen.

Cancer risk

Smoking causes lung disease and cancer. Smokers have a 20-fold higher risk of lung cancer than nonsmokers.

Chronic lung conditions

Smokers are more likely to develop chronic, irreversible lung diseases like emphysema.

  • Chronic bronchitis is permanent inflammation of the lungs’ airways.
  • COPD
  • a lung disease group
  • COPD
  • Asthma

Tobacco withdrawal can cause congestion and respiratory discomfort as your lungs and airways heal. Post-smoking mucus production may indicate respiratory system recovery.

Infants, kids, and teens

Smokers may have babies with underdeveloped lungs.

Children with smoking parents or carers are more likely to develop certain health conditions. Examples:

  • coughing asthma attacks
  • pneumonia \stuberculosis
  • bronchitis
  • lung impairment
  • lung growth
  • PDF
  • Teens who smoke may have smaller, weaker lungs.

Sexuality and reproductive system

Nicotine affects genital blood flow in men and women.

Fertility problems

Smoking may lower fertility and sex hormone levels in men and women, decreasing sexual desire.


It reduces vaginal lubrication and orgasm, causing sexual dissatisfaction. Smokers may also reach menopause earlier.

Smoking affects hormone production and makes vaginal pregnancy harder. Early delivery is another risk.

  • low birthweight
  • stillbirth SIDS (SIDS)
  • ectopic
  • infant cleft palate/lip


Smoking reduces penis performance.

Smoking can restrict blood flow to penises, preventing erections. ED may result (ED). ED can affect fertility.

It damages sperm DNA, making it hard to conceive and increasing the risk of miscarriage and congenital disabilities.

Cardiovascular system

Smoking-related cardiovascular disease kills 1 in 4 Americans, according to the CDC.

Smoking damages your heart, arteries, and blood vessels.

Nicotine constricts blood vessels, reducing blood flow. Smoking increases blood pressure, blood clots, and vessel wall weakness.

Cardiovascular disease risk factors include:

  • atherosclerosis
  • heart attack and sudden cardiac death
  • stroke
  • PAD

abdomen aortic aneurysm

If you have heart disease, it may worsen:

  • heart bypass
  • heart attack
  • blood vessel stent


Smoking harms your heart and those around you. Nonsmokers are at risk from secondhand smoke. Risks:

  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • heart disease

Integumentary system (skin, hair, and nails) (skin, hair, and nails)

Smoking cigarettes can affect your skin, hair, and nails.


Substances in tobacco smoke can change the structure of your skin. This may contribute \s to \spremature skin damage associated with aging \ and wrinkles

delayed wound healing \ developing hidradenitis suppurativa, a skin condition that causes painful boils \ developing psoriasis, or triggering more severe psoriasis \ setting certain types of skin cancer

Smoking can increase \s the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on the lips.


There’s also a link \sTrusted Source \s between smoking and androgenic alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss in males. Smoking causes hair loss due to the following:

  • vasoconstriction
  • DNA damage
  • generation of free radicals
  • hormonal effects


It may also affect your fingernails and toenails and increase the likelihood of fungal nail infections.

Digestive system

Cigarette smoking can affect the digestive system in multiple ways.

Cancer risk

Smoking increases the risk of cancer in the organs of the digestive system. This can include cancer of the: \smouth \sthroat \slarynx \sesophagus \sstomach \spancreas \scolon and rectum

Even people who “smoke but don’t inhale” face an increased risk of mouth cancer.

Type 2 diabetes

Smoking also affects insulin, making it more likely that you’ll develop insulin resistance. People who smoke cigarettes have a 30% to 40% greater risk.

Of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Type 2 diabetes tends to develop faster in people who smoke than people who do not smoke, as it may be harder to control.

Periodontal disease

Smoking can raise your risk \s for periodontal disease or disease affecting the gums. Smoking causes inflammation around the teeth and increases your risk for bacterial infections. The gums may become swollen and bleed (gingivitis) and eventually begin to pull away from the teeth (periodontitis) (periodontitis).

Skeletal system

Smoking can negatively impact bone health by reducing bone density and contributing to bone loss.

Tobacco use is linked to developing conditions like osteoporosis or experiencing bone fractures. Smoking can also harm bone healing if you experience a fracture.

In females, smoking may cause \s menopause to come earlier. Menopause speeds up bone loss. Combined with smoking, it may accelerate these effects, leading to osteoporosis.

Smoking also affects the health of your teeth and may cause \s tooth decay and loss.


Smoking cigarettes increases your risk for health conditions that can affect the whole body. Smoking can cause cancer in many of the body’s organs. It can also reduce fertility, increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, and contribute to bone loss.

But quitting smoking reduces many of these risks. It also has both short and long-term benefits. Since smoking affects every body system, finding a way to stop it can help you live a longer and healthier life.

Smoking cessation programs may help. Doctors may also recommend prescription and nonprescription medications to help you quit.

You can turn to our smoking cessation resource center, which has tips for how to stop smoking, information on smoking cessation therapies, and more.

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