Tobacco is extremely harmful to your health. It contains about 600 ingredients, from acetone and tar to carbon monoxide and nicotine, but these all are injurious to your health. The substances you inhale while smoking cigarettes cause a variety of health complications. But the problem is that the smoker does not notice the harmful effects of smoking on the body and the damage occurred by smoking until it causes a serious health risk.
Here are 27 harmful effects of smoking on the body
The nicotine present in cigarettes causes baldness. People who smoke are twice as more likely to become bald than non-smokers. As per the study, smoking harms the DNA of the hair follicle that leads to baldness.
2. Gray Hair:
Research has shown that people who smoke for more than 10 years are three to six times more likely to have prematurely gray hairs than those who don’t smoke. And it is very normal for people who smoke to start getting gray hair in their twenties or thirties.
3. Impair Cognitive functioning:
People who smoke, especially adolescents and middle-aged men, show memory loss and impairment of other cognitive functions in a new study. And male smokers are more susceptible to these mental issues than women.
4. Early Menopause:
Smoking is associated with increased risk of getting early menopause, the study finds. Women who smoke not only get menopause earlier, but also experience severe menopausal symptoms.
5. Poor Vision or Blindness:
According to a study, smoking also leads to impaired vision or vision loss. People who smoke excessively are more likely to get cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
6. Cardiovascular disease:
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, a study proved. When you smoke, its substances damage the inner lining of your artery walls and build-up atheroma (a fatty material) in the inner walls that narrows the artery. It results in heart attack or angina. People who stop smoking before the age of 40 are less likely at risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
7. Gum disease:
Gum and teeth problems that generally happen to people in old age, but smokers experience the same issues early in their life. Along with the bad breath, smoking also puts you at great risk of several periodontal issues, including gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer, study shows. This happens due to the presence of nicotine in cigarettes.
8. Premature Skin Aging:
Smoking causes the skin to age faster, reveals a study. You most probably notice skin changes or wrinkles after only 10 years of continuous smoking. The more you smoke the more wrinkles you are likely to have in your face. The nicotine in cigarettes narrows the blood vessels and disrupts the blood flow to your skin, due to which your body does not get as much oxygen and nutrients as it needs.
A research has been conducted that revealed that tobacco intake is a strong risk factor for the development and worsening of psoriasis, a skin disease. This chronic skin disorder causes stress that further aggravates the sufferer’s condition. People who are suffering from this are treated with nicotine replacement therapy.
10. Lung Cancer:
Smoking is responsible for more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths in the UK, says a report. Certain chemicals in cigarette smoke affect the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale the smoke containing several cancer-causing constituents (carcinogens), it starts damaging the lung tissue and an important gene called p53 that prevents the development of cancer cells.
When you inhale tobacco smoke, you are taking in substances that destroy the breathing tubes of the lungs. Over time, this damage to lungs increases the risk of developing pneumonia and acute or chronic bronchitis, as per a study.
12. Persistent Coughing:
To prevent the toxins, which irritate the lungs and respiratory tract, in tobacco smoke, our body releases a wet cough (phlegm). It also develops due to chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. Tobacco withdrawal also causes respiratory discomfort and temporary congestion. Children whose parents smoke often are more susceptible to have consistent coughing, wheezing and asthma attacks. They also are prone to bronchitis and pneumonia.
13. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):
Long-term cigarette smoking is the most important causative factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), found in a study. Smoking cessation is the only treatment of COPD.
14. Immune System:
Smoking weakens the immune system by destroying the cells that fight the diseases, a new study suggests. And the continued weakening of the immune system makes you vulnerable to several life-threatening diseases.
15. High Cholesterol:
Inhaling tobacco smoke reduces HDL (good cholesterol) and increases the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. Moreover, it worsens the condition of people who already have high cholesterol and put them at risk of coronary heart disease. However, a study has also shown that the HDL levels often increase soon in people who give up smoking.
16. Cervical Cancer in Women:
It is also one of the consequences of excessive smoking, proved in a research. HPV (human papillomavirus is responsible for cervical cancer in women. And smoking interferes with the prevalence of HPV infection. However, you can prevent your risk of developing cervical cancer as soon as you stop smoking or stay away from the people who smoke.
17. Blood Clotting:
The substances in cigarettes harm the blood cells and raise the risk of unwanted blood clots. Smoking harms the lining of the blood vessels, which makes them to clot and restricts the functioning of the heart. This damage increases the risk of atherosclerosis or cardiovascular disease.
18. Loss of Appetite:
People who want to weight loss generally take nicotine gum as it suppresses the appetite. Cigarettes contain 90 percent of nicotine, which dramatically affects appetite and disturbs the body’s natural functioning, says a study carried out by researchers at the University of Melbourne
19. Yellow Fingers:
The tar and nicotine present in cigarettes turn the colour of the fingers and fingernails into yellow or yellowish-brown. Inhaling cigarette smoke damages the blood vessels and make it difficult for the heart to circulate the blood to the feet and hands. In a study, it is found that smokers who have tobacco-stained fingers have a high death rate compared to other smokers.
20. Fungal Nail Infections:
Smoking cigarettes also have a negative effect on the toenails and fingernails. Along with turning the fingers into yellow, cigarettes also increase the risk of getting fungal nail infections. Long-term smoking causes poor blood flow towards the nail that results in the cracking of the nails and makes the fingers less protected and more vulnerable to fungal infections.
Smoking reduces fertility in males as well as females. It decreases the antioxidant levels in semen that needed for fertility, says a study conducted by the researchers at the University of Buffalo. Smoking also affects the egg quality and egg quantity that lead to higher rates of infertility. Even several studies show that women who smoke increase their chances of conceiving by giving up smoking at least 2 months before trying to get pregnant.
22. Poor Digestive system:
Inhaling tobacco smoke also has a negative effect on our digestive system. It contributes to Smoking leads gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn, peptic ulcers, and a few liver diseases. It also harms the stomach tissues, increases the risk of gallstones and slows down the healing of ulcers. Quitting smoking is the only way to reduce some of its effects on the digestive system.
23. Problems with Pregnancy and Offspring:
Smoking while pregnancy is dangerous to both the mother and baby. Smoking makes it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy causes major health complications, including miscarriage, premature birth, certain birth defects and (SIDS) Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In a study, it was found that prenatal smoking also increases child blood pressure in late teenage years.
24. Erectile Dysfunction:
Smoking cigarette increases the risk of getting Erectile Dysfunction (ED), says a study. It happens due to the formation of plaque in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. The plaque restricts the proper circulation of blood to the penis. It makes a man unable to achieve an erection.
25. Increased Risk of Blood Cancer:
Smoking leads to at least 14 types of cancers, and blood cancer is one of them. Chemicals in cigarette smoke may cause cancer in any part of the body, including the blood.
26. Diabetes Complications:
People who have diabetes and who smoke are more likely to have critical health issues, such as retinopathy (an eye disease that may cause loss of sight), kidney disease and heart disease. Smoking narrows the small blood vessels, which consequently increases heart rate and blood pressure. Also, it aggravates the chronic diabetic complications.
27. Shorter Life Span:
In addition to premature aging, smoking actually makes a smoker older. It reduces a smoker’s 10 years of life expectancy, a study says. The research further discovered that people who quit smoking, before the age of 40 years, reduces their risk of death linked with constant smoking by around 90% than those who don’t.
Smoking is injurious to health as it attacks every important part or organ of the body. But finding a way to quit smoking is the foremost step you can take to living a healthier and happier life. If you want to stop smoking or need some advice, consult your GP or doctor. Sometimes the nicotine temptation causes people to smoke. However, there are several effective ways to resist and manage tobacco cravings and its withdrawal symptoms.