15 Known Health Dangers of Smoking

I have taken up the herculean task of telling you the dangers of smoking! The task is nothing short of ‘Herculean’ because one needs to muster courage before telling someone they love to quit smoking. One either gets the ‘I don’t give a damn’ face or the ‘I know dude’ face from a smoker. However as long as you’re reading my article, you’re my responsibility. And yes I care. I care about you and all the others who don’t give a rat’s ass about their health. I understand that you deserve to lead a life at your own terms but so do others and you have no right to become a liability on them. Therefore, think twice before picking up this insidious habit.


With this I cease my lecture and present to you a list of 15 dangers of smoking:-

15. Causes premature blindness


Smoking causes macular degeneration in the eyes as near as forty years of age. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness. It is a result of a damaged retina. There is cloudiness that doesn’t allow you to see the world as it is. There is no cure for this defect. So next time you put a cigarette to your lips please ask yourself if it is blindness that you’re seeking.

14. Distorts the ability to smell


Smoking not only affects the ability to smell, but also increases the chances of cancer of the nose, nasal sinus, and the cavity behind the nose. The lining of the nose, called cilia are the tiny hair-like structures blocks particulate matter, bacteria and mucus from entering the lungs. Smoking renders this lining dysfunctional, thereby affecting smell and increasing infections of the lungs.

13. Gives rise to dental diseases


Smoking is a primary cause of dental diseases. It may also lead to cancers of the mouth and throat. The least harmful albeit ugly are tooth discoloration and the building up of tartar on the teeth. Additionally smoking can cause gum disease that leads to loss of teeth.

12. Damages your heart and poisons your blood


Smoking temporarily raises heart rate and blood pressure, while reducing the ability of blood to carry oxygen. Smoking makes the walls of the blood vessels sticky, causing a build up of dangerous fatty deposits. A decrease in the oxygen has its own repercussions. It drastically reduces one’s physical endurance, thereby making it more difficult for him or her to perform well in any activity from playing sports to wracking your brain.

11. Smoking paces up the formation of diseases


Smoking can bring on illness associated with diabetes earlier, causing disability and death. Smokers with diabetes have a greater risk of heart disease, stroke and disease of the blood vessels than nonsmokers with diabetes.  Diabetes patients are, therefore advised to avoid smoking altogether.

10. Puts your baby at risk


Smoking during pregnancy, and exposing the infant to tobacco smoke in the first year of life, is a cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS or cot death). Infants exposed to their mother’s secondhand smoke after birth have approximately two and a half times the risk of dying from SIDS compared with unexposed infants. Smoking during and immediately after pregnancy must be avoided both for the mother’s sake and her child’s sake.

9. Smoking causes stroke


Cigarette smoking is a cause of stroke – damage to the brain due to problems with blood flow or the escape of blood into the brain tissue. Escape of blood is caused primarily because of the chemicals in cigarettes such as carbon monoxide, arsenic and formaldehyde. These chemicals considerably thin the walls of arteries causing strokes.

Smoking is also dangerous for people who have high blood pressure. They are at a five times more risk than non-smokers.

8. Disrupts the normal functioning of the digestive system


Smoking has a number of damaging effects on your stomach and gut, such as increasing acidity and reflux, which can stop shortly after quitting. It increases the risk of developing Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition. Also smoking considerably increases your risk of cancer of the stomach, pancreas, and oesophagus goes down compared to a continuing smoker, and continues to decrease the longer you stay stopped.

7. It insidiously decreases your bone density


Carbon monoxide replaces some of the oxygen in your blood, and makes it harder for oxygen to transfer into muscle cells. This leads to low bone density, especially for older women. The toxins upset the balance of hormones (like estrogen) that bones need to stay strong. Your liver produces more estrogen-destroying enzymes, which also leads to bone loss. Smoking makes bone loss even worse in the menopausal years. It adds to the bone loss that’s already occurring. Due the aforementioned, smoking, thereby increases the risk of hip fractures in both men and women.

6. Smoking speeds up aging


Some of the more obvious signs of smoking involve the skin. The substances in tobacco smoke actually change the structure of your skin.  Your fingernails and the skin on your fingers may have yellow staining from holding cigarettes. Smokers usually develop yellow or brown stains on their teeth.

5. Leaves you craving more


One of the ingredients in tobacco is a mood-altering drug called nicotine. Nicotine reaches your brain in mere seconds. It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so it makes you feel more energized for a while. As that effect subsides, you feel tired and crave more. Nicotine is habit forming.

4. Damages the liver as well


The liver isn’t confined to damage from alcohol consumption. Smoking ups people’s risk for liver cancer dramatically, according to a 2011 study that found nearly half of all liver cancer cases were the result of smoking. The majority of liver cancer deaths are the result of hepatocellular carcinoma, a leading cause of cancer deaths, among sub-Saharan African and Southeast Asian countries.

3. Smoking leads to fertility problems


Most people are unaware of this evil of smoking. Smoking causes erectile dysfunction in men and pregnancy complications in women. Male smokers can suffer decreased sperm quality with lower counts (numbers of sperm) and motility (sperm’s ability to move) and increased numbers of abnormally shaped sperm. Smoking might also decrease the sperm’s ability to fertilize eggs. Menopause occurs 1 to 4 years earlier in women who smoke (compared with non-smokers).

Because smoking damages the genetic material in eggs and sperm, miscarriage and offspring birth-defect rates are higher among patients who smoke. Smokeless tobacco also leads to increased miscarriage rates. Women who smoke are more likely to conceive an unhealthy, chromosomal pregnancy as seen in Down syndrome.

2. Smoking is extremely dangerous for your lungs


When you inhale smoke, you’re taking in substances that can damage your lungs. At first the damage is repaired but over time, your lungs lose their ability to filter harmful chemicals. Coughing can’t clear out the toxins sufficiently, so these toxins get trapped in the lungs. Smokers have a higher risk of respiratory infections, colds, and flu. Over time, smokers are at increased risk of developing different forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Abnormality in these cells leads to the development of lung cancer.

1. Develops gangrene in extreme cases


Buerger’s disease begins by causing your arteries to swell and blood clots to form in your blood vessels. This restricts normal blood flow and prevents blood from fully circulating through your tissues. This results in tissue death because the tissues are starved of nutrients and oxygen.

The complete cutoff of circulation to the finger or toes, results in gangrene. The most common age bracket that this disease strikes is in people between the ages of 20 to 40, normally young to get circulation problems that result in amputations.  While it is much more common in men, women are affected to.  What makes Buerger’s Disease unique is that it is a disease that is basically exclusive to smokers.

So don’t think. Quit now.


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Bhavya Sinha

An economics student at Delhi University, Bhavya has but catholic interests ranging from writing, karate, art to binge watching endless movies and TV shows. Writing helps her vent out things bottled up inside.