5 Ways Smoking Affects your Body
Explanation of how tobacco cigarettes can affect the body, and how vapor cigarettes can provide nicotine without harmful smoke
Smoking tobacco cigarettes affects every system in the human body. From your bones to your cardiovascular system to your respiratory system, each system is damaged in a different way when you smoke.
Continue reading for a brief explanation on how smoking affects different systems in the human body.
Recently, scientists have discovered a link between tobacco use and a decrease in bone density (a.k.a osteoporosis). While there are many other risk factors for loss in bone density –including weight, alcohol consumption, and activity level– smoking may work to increase these risks, especially in women. In addition, smoking lowers the level of estrogen, which may cause early onset menopause further increasing their risk.
Heart and blood vessels
Tobacco smoke is capable of doing damage to your blood cells and heart's function. This damage is increases your risk of numerous heart and blood vessel conditions including:
- Atherosclerosis: a disease that causes a waxy substance (plaque) to build in the arteries
- Aneurysms: bulging blood vessels that if they burst, cause death
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including:
- Coronary heart disease (CHD): a narrowing or blocking of the arteries around the heart
- Heart attack and/or damage to the arteries
- Heart-related chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Coronary Heart disease, which is a condition where blood platelets (which are the components that make up blood) stick together to form clots. These clots can then get stuck in the plaque in the walls of arteries
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD): another condition that causes plaque to build up in the arteries. It specifically targets the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs
- Stroke (i.e. sudden death of brain cells caused by blood clots or bleeding)
The heart and blood vessels of non-smokers can be harmed as well. Exposure to second-hand smoke can change blood chemistry and damage blood vessels. As you inhale smoke, cells that line your body's blood vessels react to the chemicals. This causes heart rate and blood pressure to increase, as well as thickening and narrowing of blood vessels.
Lungs and breathing
The most obvious part of the body that smoking damages are the lungs –every cigarette smoked damages a person's breathing and scars their lungs. Moreover, smoking also affects lungs and breathing by causing:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a progressive disease that causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms
- Emphysema, which is a condition where the walls between sacs in your lungs lose the ability to stretch and shrink back, thus destroying the lung tissue and making it difficult or impossible to breathe.
- Chronic bronchitis, which causes the lining of bronchial tubes to swell, causing less air to flows to and from your lungs
In addition, those who already suffer from asthma can suffer severe attacks when around cigarette smoke.
As most people know, smoking is known to cause cancer. This stems from tobacco cigarette smoke (including menthol cigarettes) containing more than 7,000 chemicals –70 of which are carcinogenic. In fact, smoking tobacco cigarettes is the number-one risk factor in the development of lung cancer. In addition to lung cancer, tobacco smoke can lead to other cancers including:
Smoking and pregnancy
Smoking can have an effect on fertility, pregnancy and infants. The simple act of smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant. In addition, it can affect baby's health before and after birth including:
- Preterm (early) delivery
- Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
- Low birth weight
- Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Orofacial clefts in infants
As for men, smoking can also affect sperm and reduce fertility.
For an interactive look at the health effects of smoking, visit http://smokefree.gov/health-effects.
By stopping smoking tobacco cigarettes, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing any of these conditions. Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, but the benefits most certainly outweigh the efforts. Furthermore, vapor cigarettes can offer you a smoke-free alternative way to continue getting the nicotine your body craves.
If you are interested in delving into the world of smokeless/vapor cigarettes, please continue browsing our blog and knowledge center to learn more. Find all the information about vapor cigarettes you need, including whether to consider a starter kit vs. disposable unit, or an automatic vs. manual battery.
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