Many young, middle-aged people indulge in smoking and drinking as a way to get relief from their daily stress. But is it a good way? Tobacco use causes several negative health effects. Every cigarette you smoke influences your health for the rest of your life. The health effects of smoking are worse than nightmares. In this article, you will read about the addiction to smoking and the 13 disastrous health effects of smoking which every individual should be aware of.
What Causes Nicotine Addiction?
Nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, making it challenging for smokers to quit cold turkey. Along with nicotine, you’ll inhale 7000 other compounds when you burn a cigarette. It makes the brain release dopamine, triggering pleasure sensations that result in addiction if consumed over and over again. Nicotine helps people to get rid of their daily stress. The craving is behavioral and also emotional as people become extremely involved in it. Let’s go through the 13 disastrous health effects of smoking discussed in the next segment.
1. Affects Lungs
One of the highly disastrous health effects of smoking is the damage to the lungs. So this comes first in the list of 13 disastrous health effects of smoking.
- Increases mucus and causes infection: In your lungs and airways, smoking promotes the formation of mucus-producing cells. This causes mucus to thicken and the proportion of mucus to rise. Because your lungs are unable to eliminate excess mucus, it remains in the airways, clogging them and causing you to cough. This excess mucus can easily become infected. Smoking impairs your lungs’ natural defense mechanisms by causing them to age faster.
- Retards airflow: Smoking affects the lungs and tissues, reducing air gaps and blood arteries in the lungs, resulting in decreased oxygen delivery to key regions of the body. (Also read What alcohol does to your brain?)
2. Causes Deadly COPD
Cigarettes have been linked to a significantly expanded danger of lung cancer. For men, the hazard is 25 times higher, and for women, it is 25.7 times higher.
- Cigarette smoking also increases the chance of getting and succumbing to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- According to the American Lung Association, smoking is responsible for 80% of COPD deaths. COPD is incurable as of now, which is one of the 13 disastrous health effects of smoking.
- Tobacco use has also been linked to the development of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. They can also set off or worsen an asthma attack.
- Toxicants in cigarette smoke impair your lungs’ immune system, constrict airways, create swelling in air tubes, and destroy air sacs, all of which contribute to COPD. (See Why do people like vaping?)
3. Causes Heart Diseases
It is no news that heart disease is one of the major 13 disastrous health effects of smoking.
- Fatty deposits, also known as plaque or atheroma can form inside one or more coronary arteries over time (a process called atherosclerosis). This thinning of the arteries restricts blood flow to the heart, raising the risk of a heart attack.
- When a blood clot forms at a constricted location in a coronary artery, it suddenly restricts the flow of blood to the heart, also causing a heart attack.
- The portion of heart muscle fed by that artery will be irreversibly damaged due to a lack of blood supply if the artery stays blocked.
- The severity of a heart attack is determined by the amount of heart muscle that has been permanently damaged. Other blood vessels are also harmed by smoking. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) can cause blood clots, gangrene, and even amputation by reducing blood circulation, especially to your hands and feet. (Also read Marijuana: 8 Reasons Why was it made illegal in the first place)
4. Provokes Infertility
Infertility is one of the 13 disastrous health effects of smoking. Women who smoke have a harder time conceiving than non-smokers. Both male and female smokers have infertility rates that are almost twice that of non-smokers.
- The quantity of cigarettes smoked per day increases the chance of reproductive difficulties.
- If sperm are unable to swim effectively, they may have difficulty reaching and fertilizing the egg. Researchers discovered a 13% reduction in sperm motility in males who smoke.
- According to studies, men who smoke have a 23% lower sperm concentration.
- Even fertility treatments like IVF may not be able to completely counteract the effects of smoking on fertility. Female smokers require more ovary-stimulating medicines during IVF, possess fewer eggs at retrieval time, and have a 30% lower pregnancy rate than non-smoking IVF women.
- Miscarriage and offspring birth defects are more common because smoking harms the genetic information in eggs and sperm.
- According to certain studies, the DNA fragmentation of smokers’ sperm has risen. Fertilization, embryo growth, embryo implantation, and increased miscarriage rates may all be affected by DNA-damaged sperm. Smoking can cause aberrant hormone levels in men, which might impact fertility.
- Sperm morphology is a term that describes the form of sperm. Smokers have fewer sperm with a healthy shape than non-smokers. Weirdly shaped sperm may not be able to reach the egg and hence will not be able to fertilize it.
5. Affects Foetus Health
Smokers have lower calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin C levels, which are thought to be contributing factors. Smoking decreases the concentration accessible to both you and your baby as he or she grows. Stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, congenital malformations, and cancer in the progeny are some of the disastrous health effects caused by poor nutrition and other smoking-related issues. So while discussing the 13 disastrous health effects of smoking, this one is very essential as it affects pregnancy in many ways which are given below.
- It increases the heart rate of your baby.
- Also, it increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Smoking increases the chances of your baby being born early and/or with low birth weight.
- In addition, it also increases the likelihood of your infant developing respiratory difficulties.
The more cigarettes you vape per day, the more likely your child is to develop other health issues. There is no such thing as a healthy level of smoking for the health of your child. (Also read How much is a pound of weed?)
6. Increases Risk of Type II Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has become one of the most commonly found health issues these days. Even teenagers are developing diabetes these days due to lifestyle choices. These lifestyle choices are found to have one thing in common that is smoking.
- Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that harm your body’s cells and can interrupt their proper functioning. This can lead to irritation throughout the body, which can reduce insulin’s efficiency.
- Toxins from cigarette smoke interact with oxygen in the body, a process known as oxidative stress occurs. Combined oxidative stress and inflammation will lead to higher diabetes risk. (See How to keep my Kidneys Healthy?)
7. Weakens Immune System
Immune system retardation is one of the common 13 disastrous health effects of smoking as it is the part that ensures the proper functioning of internal organs. Let’s jot down the effects that smoking has on the immune system:
- Many of the chemical components included in cigarette smoke can interfere with the immune system, making it less effective in the body’s fight against sickness and infection and allowing both to progress faster than they would in a healthy immune system.
- Smoking alters the immune system’s balance or homeostasis, leaving smokers more prone to autoimmune diseases.
- Antioxidant levels in the bloodstream, notably vitamin C levels, can be reduced by smoking. Vitamin C is essential not just for immune system function but also for infection resistance and lung protection. (See 11 Health Benefits of Eating Ice Apple Fruit)
8. Increases Chances of Pulmonary Infections like COVID-19
There is an obvious correlation between smoking and immune system efficacy. It should be no surprise that smokers are more sensitive to the novel coronavirus COVID-19. This is due to many factors:
- People who smoke increase their likelihood of getting COVID-19 and make the condition an elevated case that could result in death.
- Addicts may already have diminished lung capacity, putting them at greater risk of getting the virus and developing a more life-threatening infection.
- Considering smokers have weakened immune systems, they are among the people who should take particular precautions when it comes to COVID-19. (Also read How it feels to be high on Opium?)
9. Causes Eye Diseases
Smoking also affects the eyes, and the list of smoking-related diseases is listed below.
- Macular degeneration as a result of growing older (AMD): Smoking cessation is one strategy to lower your chances of developing AMD. People who smoke are 3–4 times as likely as non-smokers to develop AMD. Non-smokers who live with smokers have a nearly doubled risk of acquiring AMD.
- Cataract: Cigarette smokers (15 cigarettes or more per day) had a 3-fold increased risk of cataracts than non-smokers.
- Glaucoma: Smoking has been linked to high blood pressure, cataracts, and diabetes, all of which are glaucoma risk factors.
- Diabetic retinopathy: It is a condition that occurs when a person has diabetes, which can be developed by smoking.
- Syndrome of dry eyes: Smokers are almost twice as likely as non-smokers to develop dry eye syndrome.
10. Retards Oral Health
This issue is also a regular one among the 13 disastrous health effects of smoking. Vaping (smoking e-cigarettes or water pipes) may appear to be less dangerous than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, maybe this isn’t the case when it comes to your oral health. When you vape, you consume e-liquids, which might include dangerous compounds even though they are labeled as nicotine-free. Some of them are Nicotine, Heavy metals, Volatile organic substances (VOCs) and other chemicals that cause cancer. If your vaping equipment contains nicotine, the chances of it creating difficulties in your mouth are substantially higher. Vaping leads to various oral infections such as:
- Some data suggest that vaping can induce mouth inflammation.
- It could also lead to gum disease as well as other oral health issues.
- Some people may have a temporary loss of taste. (Also read Why My Teeth Hurt After Waking Up?)
11. Causes Hair Damage & Hair Loss
Among the other health effects of smoking, it also causes hair damage. Reduced blood circulation can mean that hair and hair follicles aren’t acquiring the oxygen and nutrients that have to thrive. When you smoke, a mist of fumes surrounds your hair, which can be absorbed by the hair and cause damage as well as a smokey odor. The following are some of the negative consequences of smoking.
- Toxins in smoke can harm hair follicles and hormones in the body, resulting in greying. Early greying or whitening of the hair might occur as a result of these changes. (See other reasons for whitening of hair)
- According to a study, consuming 20 cigarettes per day carries the potential for hair loss in men. This is due to the harm that smoking causes to the hair follicles, which regulate the hair growth cycle.
- Smoking destroys DNA, which can influence hair follicles, causing hair root damage and disrupting hair growth.
12. Damages Skin Cells
Smoking can hasten the natural effects of aging of your skin, resulting in wrinkles as well as other changes to your face’s appearance. Crow’s feet, obvious lines between the brows, uneven skin complexion, a greyish hue on fair skin, deep creases and puffiness behind the eyes, wrinkling all around the mouth, and smaller lips are all examples of these changes. Sun exposure is another major source of skin damage that you can control. When you combine unprotected sun exposure with smoking, you can get even more wrinkles. (Also read Why does your face shape change as you age?)
13. Causes Cancers
This is the most dangerous that falls under the list of 13 disastrous health effects of smoking. In addition to the well-established relationship associated with lung cancer, smoking cigarettes has been linked to a variety of other cancers.
- According to the CDC, smoking is responsible for 9 out of 10 lung cancer fatalities.
- According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoking is responsible for 20%–30% of pancreatic malignancies.
- Cigarette smokers are also three times more susceptible to acquiring bladder cancer.
- Cigarettes can also quadruple a person’s risk of stomach cancer.
- Major organs like the Kidney and prostate are more vulnerable to cancer in those who smoke.
- Tobacco is particularly connected to gastric cancers that originate near the esophagus. (See 13 Psychological Reasons People Smoke Cigarettes)
14. Modifies Psychological, Social and Behavioral Patterns
It has been observed that people who smoke get irritated easily, especially during withdrawal stages. Due to the associated depression and social & behavioral changes, smokers are less likely to form long-lasting & meaningful relationships. These lead to an even more reclusive and unsocial lifestyle which further degrades their quality of life while increasing their dependency on Nicotine. (Must read 9 Diseases Caused by Obesity)
This was our comprehensive list of the disastrous smoking health effects that you should know and spread awareness about. Knowing the consequences of smoking and its addiction would definitely help future generations to lead better and healthier lives.