The effects of smoking on your health

“Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States,” according to the United States Surgeon General. The effects that come with a smoking habit are very serious and can cause severe health problems for the rest of your life; tobacco use impacts almost every organ in your body as well as your overall health. Continue reading to learn how smoking can seriously affect your wellbeing.

Smoking is a risk factor for other cancers

You probably already know that smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, linked to around 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer diagnoses. However, smoking is also a risk factor for many other types of cancer and can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body. With over 7,000 chemicals found in cigarettes, around 70 of them are known carcinogens. A few cancers that are caused by smoking include cancers of the mouth, throat, nose, sinus, bladder, stomach, and liver, ovarian cancer, and myeloid leukemia.

Smoking can affect your bones

Smoking is a huge risk factor for bone density loss and osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become weaker and more prone to fracturing. Researchers have found a direct relationship between smoking and decreased bone density, though analyzing how exactly tobacco affects bone health is complicated due to the other factors that affect bones. Studies have also suggested that smoking can increase the risk of bone fractures and cause complications with the healing process of fractures.

Smoking does damage to your heart and blood

Smoking significantly raises the risk of heart and blood problems, including heart disease and stroke. By itself, cigarette smoking is a major risk factor of coronary heart disease (the leading cause of death in the United States), but when combined with other factors, the probability of developing heart disease multiplies. Smoking also causes damage to blood vessels, making them grow thicker and narrower which leads to high blood pressure and risk for blood clots and stroke.

Smoking does major damage to your lungs and breathing

This is the most obvious way that smoking affects your health, but it’s extremely important to understand how tobacco use can impair one of the most important organs in your body. The least damage expected is chronic damage to the lungs and airway including coughing and mucus build-up. Emphysema, an incurable lung disease that is caused by the destruction of the alveoli or air sacs in your lungs, is another major disease caused by smoking. It is usually accompanied by chronic bronchitis and difficulty breathing. Emphysema is one of the diseases that makes up chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD, though treatable through management plans, is a degenerative disease that gets worse over time and causes wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness, among other symptoms.

Better Breathers Support Group

Lung Cancer Screenings Now Available

Complete a lung cancer health risk assessment to find if you qualify for a lung cancer screening. 

Mobile Infirmary, Infirmary 65 and Thomas Hospital now offer a low-dose CT lung cancer screening program for early diagnosis of lung cancer. CT lung cancer screening is a diagnostic imaging test targeted for long-time smokers, ages 55-80, who have a 30 “pack years” history of smoking.

The new low-dose CT lung cancer screening can detect lung cancer early before symptoms occur increasing the likelihood of survival.  Studies show that 75 percent of lung cancer patients are first diagnosed with advanced stage disease, which greatly reduces their chance of survival. But, the risk of getting lung cancer for smokers is great—85 percent of all lung cancers are found in smokers and the remainder is caused by second-hand smoke exposure.

For more information on the low-dose lung cancer screening program, visit


American Lung Association
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Cancer Institute
American Heart Association
Infirmary Health