Smoking Effects On The Body

We all know that smoking is an unhealthy habit. Smoking affects the cardiovascular system and the lungs, increasing the chances of cancer or other forms of chronic disease, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease. But these aren’t the only physical changes caused by smoking. Its effects on the body extend far beyond the obvious and the life-threatening.

Effects of Smoking: Skin and Dental Care

If you smoke, you may already know how smoking affects your teeth, and that exposure to tar and nicotine can prematurely age your skin. Effects of smoking include unpleasant cosmetic side effects, such as wrinkles and yellow teeth; smoking can also lead to serious dental problems, including tooth loss.

If you’re not ready to quit smoking, you may limit these effects of smoking by getting regular dental checkups, practicing good oral hygiene and eating healthy.

Effects of Smoking: Bone, Brain and Heart Health

Smoking affects bone, brain and heart health in some surprising ways. Quitting can improve the performance and function of all three of these body systems in ways you’ll be able to feel, in some cases right away.

Effects of Smoking: Athletic Performance

Quitting smoking can clean obstructive debris out of an athlete’s lungs, allowing him to breathe easier, but that’s the least it can do. If you’re an athlete or would like to become one, learn about the connection between increased oxygen absorption and improved performance. Oxygen intake goes up when you quit smoking, and effects on the body occur soon after, including faster healing and fewer injuries.

Effects of Smoking: Weight Control

Weight control is another common concern for smokers, former smokers and those are considering quitting. Since smoking affects metabolism and reduces appetite, quitting may cause you to burn fewer calories and eat more. Although this can lead to some weight gain, the health benefits of quitting generally outweigh the effects of the extra weight.

Effects of Smoking: Sexual Health

Smoking affects your sex life too, and the news isn’t good. But you’ll likely feel the improvements when you quit, and this may happen more quickly than you might imagine. A study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong (2010) found that within six months of quitting smoking, erectile dysfunction improved in half of the male participants.

Effects of Smoking: Cancer

You can’t escape the fact that smoking causes cancer, and not just lung cancer. The American Cancer Society (2009) reports that 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States are linked to smoking. Understanding the connection between smoking and cancer can help smokers protect themselves and reduce their risk.


American Cancer Society. (2009). Questions about smoking, tobacco and health. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from

Centers For Disease Control. (2010). Health effects of cigarette smoking. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from

Rosenow, E. (2008). Quit smoking, gain weight. Is it inevitable? Retrieved September 28, 2010, from

University of Hong Kong. (2010). HKU study shows that quitting smoking can improve erectile dysfunction. Retrieved September 27, 2010, from