Smoking - Health Consequences

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Smoking - Health Consequences
Smoking - Health Consequences
Video: Smoking - Health Consequences
Video: How do cigarettes affect the body? - Krishna Sudhir 2023, February

Health Consequences of Smoking

Anyone who smokes is at great risk of becoming dependent and sick. The toxic substances in cigarette smoke damage almost every organ on their way through the body when inhaled and even influence the genetic information of the body cells. This can cause various forms of cancer. The respiratory tract and the cardiovascular system of smokers are particularly affected.

Regular smoking can result in chronic and / or incurable diseases with significant impairment of the quality of life. Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a higher risk of premature death


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  • High health risk
  • Smoking and cancer
  • Smoking and cardiovascular disease
  • Smoking and respiratory diseases
  • Smoking and aging
  • Smoking and dental disease
  • Smoking and sexuality
  • Smoking and pregnancy

High health risk

Tobacco smoking is associated with serious health risks. It is also a preventable cause of death. Not only cigarettes, but also other forms of tobacco consumption such as cigars, pipe smoking or water pipes are harmful to health, as are so-called "light" cigarettes. The risk increases particularly significantly if you have got used to regular cigarette consumption at a young age. Quitting smoking can end this dangerous development: People who quit smoking reduce the risk of the disease.

Further information:

  • Poison cocktail tobacco smoke
  • Damage to health from passive smoking

Health effects of smoking © German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Cancer Prevention Unit

Smoking and cancer

To date, more than 90 carcinogenic substances have been identified in cigarette smoke. Smokers have a sometimes multiple higher risk of cancer (depending on the type of cancer) than non-smokers. Smoking is the main preventable risk factor for developing cancer. The earlier you start smoking, the more cigarettes you consume and the longer you smoke, the higher the risk. Quitting smoking, on the other hand, can significantly reduce the risk.

Lung cancer is particularly common among smokers. Smoking is a significant risk factor, in addition to lung cancer, also for the following cancers:

  • the bronchi,
  • of the larynx,
  • of the mouth, nose and throat,
  • the esophagus,
  • the liver,
  • the pancreas,
  • the kidneys,
  • of the blood (leukemia),
  • the urinary bladder as well
  • the chest and
  • of the cervix (in women).

Further information:

  • Poison cocktail tobacco smoke
  • Cancers

Smoking and cardiovascular disease

Smoking is one of the most important preventable causes of arteriosclerosis (disease of the arteries). This creates harmful deposits and constrictions in blood vessels that hinder the blood flow. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke or peripheral arterial disease (e.g. smoker's leg).

Smoking and respiratory diseases

The substances in tobacco smoke cause inflammatory reactions in the airways, irritate the bronchi and increase the tendency to become infected. Smoking damages the self-cleaning mechanism of the airways. Regular smoking leads to breathing difficulties, chronic coughing and mucus congestion and much more. In addition, tobacco smoking (active, but also passive smoke) is one of the most important risk factors for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). A large proportion of people with COPD are smokers or ex-smokers.

Smoking and aging

Nicotine causes poor blood circulation in the skin. Cigarette smoke also contains substances that damage skin cells. The skin becomes thinner, less elastic and more wrinkled - it ages prematurely. Smoking is associated with certain skin diseases, such as neurodermatitis or acne.

Smoking and dental disease

The tar contained in tobacco smoke discolor the teeth brown. Smoking contributes to bad breath, but also to periodontal disease, which can cause premature tooth loss.

Smoking and sexuality

Smoking can contribute to erectile dysfunction (impaired erectile function in men). This is due, among other things, to vascular damage and the resulting insufficient blood supply to the penis. Smoking also affects or damages sperm. In women, smoking is associated with decreased fertility. Smoking in combination with, for example, hormonal contraceptive methods such as the “pill” should be avoided. They are among the risk factors for thrombosis. Smoking can also lead to cardiovascular diseases.

Smoking and pregnancy

Women who smoke while pregnant are at increased risk of pregnancy complications such as

  • Premature births or miscarriages,
  • premature rupture or
  • premature placental detachment.

Newborns to smokers are more likely to have a lower birth weight and reduced growth; sudden infant death syndrome is more common.

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