Why is smoking tobacco bad for my health?
People smoke tobacco in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Tobacco smoke has many harmful chemicals that cause problems in your whole body, not just your lungs.
Smoking is addictive because tobacco has a drug in it called nicotine
Smoking causes cancer
Smoking increases the chance that you'll have a heart attack Heart Attack A heart attack is when blood flow to part of your heart is suddenly blocked and some of your heart muscle dies. Doctors use the term myocardial infarction to refer to a heart attack. Myocardium... read more or get a lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) COPD is a disease in your lungs that makes it hard to breathe. It's hard to push air out of your lungs. Difficulty pushing air out is called chronic airflow obstruction. Smoking cigarettes is... read more or lung cancer Lung Cancer Lung cancer is cancer that starts in your lungs. Cancers that start growing in other organs may spread (metastasize) to the lungs. Cancers that have spread to your lungs aren't really considered... read more )
It's hard to quit smoking Smoking Cessation While often very challenging, quitting smoking is one of the most important things smokers can do for their health. Quitting smoking brings immediate health benefits that increase over time... read more , but taking medicines and learning how to change your habits can help
Breathing in smoke from someone else who is smoking, called second-hand smoke, can cause the same health problems as smoking yourself.
Smoking while pregnant can hurt the unborn baby and cause:
The baby to be born too early
A low birth weight
What about e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, called e-cigarettes, and vapes contain liquid nicotine and flavored chemicals, not tobacco. The e-cigarette or vape heats the liquid into a vapor that you breathe in.
You can become addicted to e-cigarettes or vapes if they contain nicotine because nicotine is addictive
Because nothing burns in an e-cigarette or vape, you don't get the same problems caused by smoke
Certain substances in the vapor, such as THC or vitamin E acetate, appear to lead to severe lung injury and sometimes death
E-cigarettes and vapes haven't been around long enough for doctors to know the long-term risks
What if a child swallows nicotine?
A child who has eaten a cigarette or anything with nicotine (such as nicotine gum) needs emergency treatment. Doctors will treat the child for nicotine poisoning.
What are the effects of smoking?
You often don't feel anything from smoking, but you may feel:
Better able to concentrate
If you try smoking and aren't used to it yet, you may feel sick to your stomach, flushed, or both.
Smoking hurts nearly every organ in your body. The main smoking-related problems are:
COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) COPD is a disease in your lungs that makes it hard to breathe. It's hard to push air out of your lungs. Difficulty pushing air out is called chronic airflow obstruction. Smoking cigarettes is... read more , which is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe
Smoking also makes it more likely you will have:
Cancer Overview of Cancer Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. For example, your intestines have muscle cells to... read more , in addition to lung cancer Lung Cancer Lung cancer is cancer that starts in your lungs. Cancers that start growing in other organs may spread (metastasize) to the lungs. Cancers that have spread to your lungs aren't really considered... read more
Osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens your bones. Your bones become thinner and more fragile. This is called a loss of bone density. If you have osteoporosis, your bones break more easily... read more (a disease that makes your bones weak and break easily)
Sores in your stomach
Cataracts Cataract A cataract is when the lens of your eye slowly gets cloudy. This does not hurt, but it causes your vision to get worse over time. This image shows a large cataract in the right eye (left on... read more (when the lens of your eye slowly gets cloudy, causing your sight to get worse over time)
Smoking also causes:
Dry and wrinkled skin
If you quit smoking, you may go through withdrawal. Withdrawal is when you feel sick after you stop taking a drug that you took for a long time. Smoking withdrawal can cause you to:
Want to smoke
Feel moody, anxious, sleepy, or sad
Have headaches and trouble concentrating
Have an upset stomach and gain weight
Should I talk to my doctor about my smoking?
Yes, you should talk to your doctor about smoking and how much you smoke.
Your doctor can: