Harmful Effects of Smoking

harmful effects of smoking

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While it may take a while for the real effects of smoking to set in, the many harmful effects of smoking are not only difficult to deal with later in life, they can be deadly! Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and a wealth of immediate health problems that are less widely known about by most users such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, bad breath and periodontal disease. Rapid health deterioration is eminent for a smoker and many of the harmful effects that smoking has on the body will begin to set in after just a single puff.


Probably one of the most dangerous side effects of smoking cigarettes is the risk of addiction. People who smoke are at a substantially increased risk of becoming addicted to cigarettes and the chemical composition changes which occur within the brain can lead to further risks of addiction to other substances such as alcohol or drugs. Smokers risk serious medical conditions and health consequences as a result of their decision to smoke and addiction can make quitting a difficult or seemingly impossible option.

Increased Stress

Smoking increases stress both mentally and physically within the body. People who smoke have an immediate increase in their heart rate and blood pressure as a result of the nicotine that is administered into the body and their resting blood pressure remains higher than normal. While a smoker may inherently believe that his or her decision to smoke actually reduces stress, the reality is that smoking actually places more stress on the individual.

Poor Physical Performance

People who smoke have a lack of oxygen that is delivered to their vital organs and this can lead to poor physical performance. Smoking makes it difficult for people to remain active and can lead to stunted development, limited breathing capacity and an overall lack of physical fitness that can have a lasting impact on the health of an individual increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

Lung Cancer

People who smoke are nearly 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who abstain from smoking. The harmful effects of smoking almost immediately cause damage to the lungs and the risk of lung cancer is increased significantly with every single cigarette that is smoked. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers and women who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop this deadly disease.

Other Cancers

Smoking doesn’t just affect the lungs and the cardiovascular system. People who smoke are at an increased risk of developing a multitude of cancers including:

  • Leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the mouth
  • Cancer of the throat
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Stomach cancer

Harmful Effects of Smoking while Pregnant

Women who choose to smoke cigarettes while pregnant put their unborn babies at increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth. There is also an increased risk of SIDS, also known as sudden infant death syndrome, in infants who are born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy. Although the actual causes of SIDS are unclear, the United States Surgeon General warns that women who smoke during and after pregnancy put their infants at an increased risk of SIDS more than 3 times higher than women with similar demographic risk factors who do not smoke.


CDC on Smoking

Tobacco Free Kids