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9 Dangerous Health Effects Of Smoking

The use of tobacco kills nearly 6 million people globally every year. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) conducted in 2005-2006, the use of tobacco is more prevalent among the men, illiterate and poor people [1] .

Smoking makes a person vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases. According to the World Health Organisation fact sheet 2018, cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death, causing 28.1% of all deaths, as well as premature death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking causes more deaths than other health conditions which are HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, and accidents.

Health Effects Of Smoking

1. Affects sexuality and reproductive system

The nicotine in cigarettes disrupts blood flow to the genital areas in both men and women, thereby decreasing sexual performance and causing sexual dysfunction [2] . According to the American Cancer Society, smoking damages a woman's reproductive system which increases the chances of miscarriages, babies with cleft lip or palate, stillbirths, and low birth-weight babies.

2. Causes heart diseases

Smoking damages your heart and blood vessels which elevate the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to a study, tobacco smoking is the major cause of coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack [3] . Smoking causes high blood pressure too.

3. Damages your lungs

Lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema are common among smokers [4] . Smoking also causes lung cancer in both men and women. It also increases the rate of pneumonia and asthma.

4. Affects the central nervous system

Nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone (NNK) is a chemical compound commonly found in tobacco. It is a precarcinogen which becomes a carcinogen after it gets altered by the metabolic process in the body. This compound provokes an exaggerated response from the brain's immune cells, known as microglia cells, which work by attacking the damaged cells. However, when provoked, the microglia cells instigate the white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack the healthy cells, leading to severe neurological depression. [5] .

5. Causes cancer

Smoking increases the risk of various types of cancers such as liver, mouth, pharynx, larynx, kidney, cervix, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, bladder, colon/rectum, myeloid leukaemia. Smoking also increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer [6] .

6. Increases the risk of type 2 diabetes

Smoking has a negative effect on insulin levels which makes it more likely to develop insulin resistance and puts you at a risk of getting type 2 diabetes [7] .

7. Causes erectile dysfunction

The nicotine in smoking disrupts blood flow in the men's genital areas, constricting the blood vessels causing erectile dysfunction [8] .

8. Causes loss of appetite

Smoking suppresses your hunger by lowering your sense of taste. This makes you less likely to eat food and leads to poor eating habits.

9. Causes premature ageing

The nicotine substances in cigarette restrict facial blood flow which doesn't allow the skin to get enough nutrition, causing dry skin and premature ageing [9] .

Other health risks of smoking include early menopause, poor vision, poor oral health, weakened immune system, infertility, and blood clotting.

View Article References
  1. [1] Mishra, G. A., Pimple, S. A., & Shastri, S. S. (2012). An overview of the tobacco problem in India.Indian journal of medical and paediatric oncology : official journal of Indian Society of Medical & Paediatric Oncology,33(3), 139–145.
  2. [2] Allen, A. M., Oncken, C., & Hatsukami, D. (2014). Women and Smoking: The Effect of Gender on the Epidemiology, Health Effects, and Cessation of Smoking.Current addiction reports,1(1), 53–60.
  3. [3] Hackshaw, A., Morris, J. K., Boniface, S., Tang, J. L., & Milenković, D. (2018). Low cigarette consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: meta-analysis of 141 cohort studies in 55 study reports.Bmj,360, j5855.
  4. [4] Hackshaw, A., Morris, J. K., Boniface, S., Tang, J. L., & Milenković, D. (2018). Low cigarette consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: meta-analysis of 141 cohort studies in 55 study reports.Bmj,360, j5855.
  5. [5] Wiley - Blackwell. (2009, June 23). Smoking Linked To Brain Damage.ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 23, 2019
  6. [6] Jacob, L., Freyn, M., Kalder, M., Dinas, K., & Kostev, K. (2018). Impact of tobacco smoking on the risk of developing 25 different cancers in the UK: a retrospective study of 422,010 patients followed for up to 30 years.Oncotarget,9(25), 17420–17429.
  7. [7] Xie, X. T., Liu, Q., Wu, J., & Wakui, M. (2009). Impact of cigarette smoking in type 2 diabetes development.Acta pharmacologica Sinica,30(6), 784–787.
  8. [8] Kovac, J. R., Labbate, C., Ramasamy, R., Tang, D., & Lipshultz, L. I. (2015). Effects of cigarette smoking on erectile dysfunction.Andrologia,47(10), 1087–1092.
  9. [9] Morita, A. (2007). Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging.Journal of dermatological science,48(3), 169-175.

Read more about: health risk dangerous smoking
Story first published: Monday, June 24, 2019, 16:20 [IST]
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