Smoking doesn’t just take a toll on your lungs; it affects your entire body. Along with aging your skin, suppressing your immunity, and decreasing your fertility, smoking wreaks havoc on every single one of your body’s systems. Discover the effects of smoking on the body and take action to quit today.
It is well known that smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know that smoking is responsible for about 90% of lung cancer and COPD deaths? Smoking kills over 480,000 people every year in the United States. Over 7,000 lung cancer deaths per year are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Along with lung cancer, smoking increases your risk for chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Smoking decreases your blood’s ability to carry oxygen to your body’s tissues. It narrows your blood vessels and increases your blood pressure. Its damage to your circulatory system makes your heart have to work harder and creates an ideal environment for blood clots. Smokers are two to four times more likely than nonsmokers to have heart disease and suffer a stroke. About 34,000 nonsmokers die of heart disease every year due to secondhand smoke exposure.
Smoking increases your risk for many digestive health conditions. It weakens the muscular valve that prevents stomach acid from flowing back into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Smoking also causes peptic ulcers, painful sores in your stomach. It increases your risk for liver disease, Crohn’s disease, gallstones, and many cancers, including pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach cancer.
Multiple studies have shown that smokers are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders compared to nonsmokers. Nicotine in cigarettes travels quickly to your brain and affects how it works, making you crave more of it, which is why it can be difficult to quit smoking. Smoking can also blur your vision and interfere with your ability to taste and smell.
Skeletal and Muscular Systems
Smokers have been shown to have lower bone density compared to nonsmokers. A recent study found that those who smoke are more likely to develop osteoporosis. This increases the risk of fractures and may slow the bone’s healing process. Smoking also increases your muscles’ vulnerability to disease and injury. Back and vertebral injuries have particularly been linked to smoking.
Within weeks of quitting, your blood pressure decreases and circulation improves. After one year, your risk of heart disease is cut in half. After five years, your risk for particular cancers is cut in half. Quit now and reap the benefits sooner.
In the event of a medical emergency, call 911. Locate your nearest St. Luke's Health emergency room so you know where to go. Schedule an appointment with Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group to get assistance on your journey to quit smoking and live a healthier lifestyle. Find out how much money you would save in a year if you quit smoking today using a Cost of Smoking Calculator.
Smoking and Respiratory Diseases
Active, Passive Smoking Tied to Infertility, Early Menopause: Study
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease
Health Tip: Smoking Affects Your Heart
Smoking and the Digestive System
Another Stop-Smoking Benefit: Better Mental Health
Health Tip: Smoking Can Affect Your Vision
Quit Smoking for Better Bone Health
Health Tip: Smoking Can Lead to Bone Injury
Smoking Hurts Your Back