Health Effects of Smoking

Smoking and cancer

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body. Nicotine does not cause cancer — it's the other 7,000 substances in tobacco that cause cancer, such as acetone, lighter fluid, formaldehyde, lead, carbon monoxide, and the insecticide DDT.

Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths and 80% of lung cancer deaths. Each year about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing second hand smoke. Breathing tobacco smoke when you have cancer is dangerous - smoke increases tumors growth. Quitting smoking reduces your chances of mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancer by 50% in 5 years. Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer drops by 50%.

Smoking and diabetes

Nearly 26 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes. Nicotine, the main ingredient in cigarettes, raises blood sugar levels. Using any kind of tobacco products increases diabetes complications. Diabetics who smoke have:

  • Triple the risk of death from heart disease.
  • Twice the risk of premature death.
  • An increased risk of respiratory illnesses.
  • An increased risk of gum disease.
  • Increased risks of nerve damage, kidney disease, and eye disease.
  • Increased risks of suffer from high blood pressure.


Smoking and heart health

The coronary arteries supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Cigarette smoking causes reduced blood flow that can show up as:

  • High blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack.
  • Blocked arteries (due to cholesterol or blood clot formation).
  • Aortic Aneurysm - bulging aorta (aorta runs from heart to abdomen).
  • Chest pain.
  • Skin ulcers.
  • Numbing of fingers or toes.
  • Leg cramps.
  • Gangrene.

Smoking and pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy is linked to fetal and infant deaths. Infants born to mothers who smoked while pregnant have three times the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

In addition, smoking can result in low birth-weight and premature birth. According to a report from the Surgeon General, 20% of low birth-weight births, 8% of preterm deliveries, and 5% of all prenatal infant deaths could be prevented by eliminating smoking during pregnancy.

Other adverse effects may include:

  • Physical growth retardation.
  • Asthma.
  • Respiratory diseases.
  • Behavioral and mental challenges in children.