You’ve probably heard that tobacco is bad for your health many times over, but do you really know how significant an impact tobacco has on you?
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering whether tobacco is really as bad as others say it is, then you’re in the right place. Read on to learn how tobacco impacts all of the different organs in your body.
Tobacco’s Impact on Your Organs
The impacts of tobacco use on your body are drastic. It causes roughly one in every five deaths in the United States each year and affects nearly every organ in the body.
Recent research indicates that tobacco use is directly correlated to decreased bone density. This is just one of several factors that are linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, causing the bones to be weak and more easily fractured. Smoking reduces the level of estrogen prevalent in the body, a key factor in raising one’s risk for osteoporosis.
2. Cardiovascular System
The chemicals found in tobacco and tobacco smoke damage not only your blood cells but also reduce the function of your heart. This factors also increase your risk for:
- Atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in your arteries
- Aneurysm, which occurs when a blood vessel bulges and can burst and even cause death
- Cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease, which involves the platelets in the blood sticking together and getting stuck in the arteries
- Peripheral arterial disease, in which plaque builds up in the arteries and reduces blood flow to the brain and other organs
- Stroke, or death of cells in the brain caused by clots or bleeding
Breathing even the smoke of tobacco impacts the chemistry of your blood and can affect your vessels. When you inhale the smoke, your blood vessels respond to the chemicals from tobacco, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
From your first cigarette, every use of tobacco causes more damage to damage to your lungs. This is because tobacco use scars damages your tissue and scars your lungs. Over time this scarring causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and tuberculosis.
Although most people don’t realize it, smoking is just as hard on the eyes as it is the rest of the body. Tobacco use has been found to be linked to age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and even optic nerve damage.
5. Immune System
Your immune system serves to protect your body from infection and disease. Smoking damages your immune system, making your more likely to develop respiratory issues as well as other infections.
Likewise, tobacco use has also been linked to several autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Tobacco may also play a significant role in flare-ups and symptoms associated with these autoimmune diseases. In fact, smoking actually doubles your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis. Not only that, but individuals who smoke are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and the more you smoke, the higher your risk is for developing the disease.
The nicotine found in tobacco is extremely addictive and moves to the brain very quickly. While nicotine will make you feel good when you have it while smoking or using tobacco, it can also make you very anxious or even depressed when you don’t have it. Additionally, tobacco use may cause headaches and dizziness.
Not only does tobacco use contribute to oral cancer, but it also stains your teeth and contributes to bad breath. It also destroys your tastes buds, so you will no longer experience the flavors you once enjoyed. Additionally, tobacco can cause issues with the gums, including gum disease.
Tobacco impacts every organ in your body, including your skin. The smell of tobacco sticks to your skin causing a foul odor. Likewise, tobacco use can cause dry, yellow skin and contribute to wrinkles.
Smoking and tobacco use also have a dramatic impact on your muscles. The use of tobacco restricts the blood and oxygen flow in your body, meaning less of both get to your muscles. As this occurs, you’ll experience muscle pain and stiffness when you try to exercise or even engage in everyday activities.
The Cost of Smoking
According to a recent publication by UMass Medical School, smoking costs you about $2,000 if you smoke a pack a day. That doesn’t even include the indirect costs such as additional medical costs, possible higher insurance rates, gas (to go get cigarettes), dental care, depreciation and damage to the interior of your vehicle, and more.
Tobacco and Cancer
One of the risks associated with tobacco use that individuals are typically most aware of is cancer. If you ever doubted the risk, now is the time to quit doubting. Smoke from tobacco contains over 7,000 chemicals. Of those 7,000 chemicals, at least 70 of them are known to cause cancer. In fact, smoking cigarettes is actually the leading risk factor for developing lung cancer. But lung cancer isn’t the only risk. Tobacco use can impact your whole body and is also linked to cancer in the:
- Bronchial tubes
- Nasal Cavity
The Truth About Light Cigarettes
Many individuals are led to believe that light cigarettes are actually safer. The reality is that there is no ‘safe cigarette.’ If you smoke or use tobacco in any capacity, you are at an increased risk for developing tobacco-related diseases. In recent years, laws have changed regarding light cigarettes, and it is no longer legal to sell them. However, it is still important to understand that any individual who smoked cigarettes – light or otherwise – is likely to have inhaled a dangerous amount of toxic chemicals. These individuals are also at a high risk of developing cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
We see a lot of urgent care patients who suffer from medical conditions that could have partially been caused by tobacco use. Tobacco affects every part of your body. So if you been trying to decide how bad tobacco really is for you, realize that it can dramatically impact your health and overall quality of life. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your tobacco use. He or she can monitor your health and give you the proper medical advice about tobacco use and its affect on your overall health.
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This article was recently updated and originally published on Oct 4, 2017.