There are numerous facts about what smoking cigarettes can do to the body. The number of diseases that are caused or worsened is staggering. The following is a general overview of diseases and health hazard posed by smoking.
Smoking harms almost every body organ. It causes a long list of conditions and always negatively affects smokers’ health. Those who quit smoking dramatically lower their risk for smoking-related diseases.
Smoking and Death
It is well worth remembering that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Here are some facts about tobacco use and mortality.
Cigarette smoking causes almost half a million deaths a year in the US. This comes to about one in five deaths each year.
Smoking causes more deaths each year than each of the following causes combined:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)Recreational drug use Recreational drug use.
- Alcohol abuse.
- Motor vehicle accidents.
- Firearm-related deaths.
- More than ten times the number of Americans have died from cigarette than have died in all US wars.
- Smoking causes 90% of all lung cancer deaths.
- More women die from lung cancer yearly than they do from breast cancer.
- 80% of all deaths from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the result of smoking.
- Cigarette smoking increases the risk for death from all unnatural causes in men and women.
Smoking and Health Risks Percentages
- Smokers are much more likely to develop heart problems, suffer strokes, and be diagnosed with lung cancer.
- Smoking is estimated to increase the risk of Coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times.
- Stroke by 2 to 4 times.
- Men getting lung cancer by 25 times.
- Women getting lung cancer by almost 26 times.
Smokers and the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
- Smokers are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Smoking increases the chances of suffering a stroke and coronary heart disease.
- Even casual smokers show signs of cardiovascular disease.
- Smoking damages blood vessels by thickening them and causing them to grow narrow.
- This results in a faster heartbeat, rising blood pressure and promotes the formation of blood clots.
Smoking and the Risk of Respiratory Disease
- Smoking causes lung disease by damaging airways and air sacs in the lungs.
- Lung diseases caused by smoking include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These diseases include emphysema and bronchitis.
- Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
- Tobacco smoke can trigger an asthma attack or make the attack worse.
- Smokers are overwhelmingly (12 to 13 times) more likely to die from COPD than people who don’t smoke.
Smoking and Cancer
Smoking is likely to cause cancer in almost every area of the body:
- Bladder cancer
- Blood cancer (acute myeloid leukemia)
- Cervical cancer
- Colon and rectal (colorectal) cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney and ureter cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Liver cancer
- Oropharynx cancer (cancer affecting the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Tracheal cancer
- Bronchial cancer
- Lung cancer
If everyone in the US stopped smoking, one out of every three cancer deaths would not occur. Smoking increases the risk of death from cancer and non-cancerous diseases in cancer patients and survivors.
Other Health Risks From Smoking
Smoking harms almost every organ of the body and quickly destroys a person’s health.
Smoking makes it harder for a woman to become pregnant, and can affect her baby’s health both before and after birth.
Smoking increases risks for:
- Preterm delivery.
- Low birth weight.
- Sudden infant death syndrome. (SIDS or crib death)
- Ectopic pregnancy. (when the embryo develops outside the uterus)
- Orofacial clefts in newborns.
- Smoking affects men’s sperm, reducing fertility and increasing the risks for birth defects and miscarriage.
- Smoking can affect the bone health of expectant mothers.
- Women who are past childbearing years and smoke have less bone density (weaker bones) than women nonsmokers and are at greater risk for suffering broken bones.
- Smoking affects dental health. It causes diseased teeth and gums, and can lead to tooth loss.
- Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts (the clouding of the eye’s lens making it hard to see) and age-related macular degeneration (damage to a spot at the center of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision).
- Smoking is a significant cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and sometimes makes it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than for those who do not smoke.
- Smoking causes general adverse effects. It can cause inflammation and adverse effects on immune function. Autoimmune diseases can be directly attributed to smoking.
- Smoking is a leading cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
The Benefits of Quitting
Quitting smoking dramatically cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease. The danger of suffering a heart attack drops greatly after just one year after quitting smoking.
- After 2 to 5 years of nonsmoking, the risk of suffering a stroke can fall to the same as a nonsmoker.
- The danger of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within five years of quitting smoking.
- The risk for lung cancer drops by half ten years after quitting smoking.