Discover How Tobacco Use Affects the Body
Smoking not only kills, it also makes us ugly. Just as nicotine has negative effects on lungs and blood circulation, it stands to reason it would also have negative effects on skin and hair. The skin changes color into a paler and duller shade, and hair starts breaking and getting thinner. The effect takes a few years, so many smokers don’t attribute their hair issues to smoking, but in truth the real reason for “bad hair days” could be found in your tobacco.
The carbon monoxide inhaled with each drag on a cigarette can stay in the bloodstream for up to six hours. Once in the bloodstream, it begins attacking the red blood cells, replacing the oxygen your body needs to function. And lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to strokes among other serious consequences.
Mouth & Teeth
Yellow teeth, bad breath and the loss of the sense of taste are just some of the less serious consequences of tobacco. Smoking and tobacco "chew" can also contribute to cancer of the lips, gums, and throat.
Gases in cigarette smoke, such as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, can cause serious irritation to the sensitive membranes in the nose and throat. The results: a runny nose and the proverbial smoker's cough. Continued exposure can produce abnormal thickening in the throat lining, a condition, when accompanied with cellular changes, that has been linked to throat cancer.
Cigarette smoke attacks the lungs’ natural defenses and can completely paralyze the natural defenses and can completely paralyze the natural cleansing process. Excess mucus in the lungs will make you more susceptible to colds, flu, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Continued exposure can lead to lung cancer and lung diseases, including pneumonia and emphysema. Research indicates smoking causes 90% of lung cancer in men and 80% in women.
When you smoke, your pulse quickens, causing your heart to beat an extra 10-25 times per minute, or as many as 36,000 additional times a day. This forces the heart to work harder and can double the risk of a heart attack. Cigarette smoking is directly responsible for at least 20% of all deaths from heart disease; it lowers "good" cholesterol levels, causes deterioration of elastic properties in the aorta and increases the risk for blood clots. Smokers are also two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease.
Smokers are at greater risk of developing peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease and gallstones and can experience chronic heartburn. Smoking also affects the way the liver operates, particularly in terms of how it processes alcohol.
Smoker’s have what is called a "smoker’s face." Characterized by a grayish appearance of the skin and deep lines around the corners of the eyes and mouth, it is caused by a lack of oxygen to the skin. These conditions occur because smoking constricts the blood vessels in the skin, making it more susceptible to wrinkling. On average smoker’s can look 5 years older than non-smokers of the same age.
The loss of blood circulation in your hands causes numbness, and cold hands to the human touch. Smoke for too long and the nicotine in cigarettes will leave you with permanently yellow-stained fingers and fingernails.
The negative effects of smoking on the blood vessels leading to the male reproductive organs may mean men can experience erectile dysfunction or even impotency. Smoking can also affect fertility by decreasing sperm count and mobility. In fact, smokers are 50% more likely to become impotent.
For women, cigarette smoking increases the risk for infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking also brings on an earlier menopause in women, advancing it by an average of 5 years.
Recent studies reveal constant exposure to nicotine and or cigarette smoking will delay the process of healing in bone injuries as well as tendon-to-bone injuries. Cigarette smoking has been known to delay skeletal healing after fractures and other injuries by as much as 60%, increasing the risk of re-injury and chronic disability or pain.
Legs & Feet
Smoking effects blood vessels and can cause chronic pains in the legs, horrible cramps, and eventual impairments in walking. The loss of proper circulation and these symptoms can progress to gangrene and amputations of the toes or feet.