Dangers of Smoking to health: How do cigarettes affect the body?

A list of the dangers of smoking and why smoking is bad for your health.

7 million people die each year worldwide from smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Smoking is also linked to many different diseases in the body as it weakens the immune system, poisons the circulatory system and makes the body prone to disease.

In this article, we will highlight a list of 16 dangers of smoking and explain why smoking is bad for you. We also share some tips on how to fight these problems and quit smoking for good.

1. Cancer: Cigarette smoke and tobacco contain over 7000 different chemicals and toxic compounds which you breathe into the lungs. Over 70 of these are known to trigger cancer in the body, such as formaldehyde, cyanide, ammonia or benzene. These cancer-causing toxins are called carcinogens. Long term smokers are more likely to get cancer of the mouth, throat, lungs, and oesophagus, but may also get this disease in the blood, stomach, bone marrow, colon, rectum, liver, kidney, bladder, cervix and other places in the body. Cigarette smoke also contains trace amounts of radioactive particles that can also form cancer in the cells of the body.

2. Addiction is the danger of smoking: The main addictive substance in cigarettes is called nicotine. When we breathe this in, it flows through the bloodstream to the brain and creates pleasurable feelings of peace and calmness. It also opens the bronchial tubes in the lungs and relaxes the arteries around the heart, making you feel good temporarily. Over time, however, the receptors in the brain become de-sensitised which makes you crave more and more nicotine. You will feel the need to smoke more frequently which means you are causing more harm and damage to the body.

3. Quitting: When you smoke often and over a long period of time, your brain and body become dependent on nicotine to release certain neurotransmitters. Basically, the brain chemistry becomes out of balance which causes the addiction to smoke. If you suddenly stop smoking, the body goes into a state of shock which can lead to high blood pressure, high cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and even heart problems. To help fight this, simply take nutritional yeast every single day to boost the supply of B Vitamins in the body. You can consume this in delicious recipes or in capsule form before, during and after quitting smoking to help rebalance your bodies chemistry.

4. Early Death: Smokers are more likely to die 10 years earlier than non-smokers and are even more likely to have a range of related health problems. In the USA cigarette smoking is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths per year in the overall population. With links to cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other conditions, smoking lowers the quality of life the more you do it.

5. Atherosclerosis Nicotine found in cigarettes and tobacco damages the inner walls of the arteries. This causes fatty deposits called plaque (atherosclerosis) to build up and calcify which narrows the pathways to the heart. This prevents enough blood and oxygen from reaching the heart which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Smoking also causes the adrenal glands to make epinephrine which raises blood pressure. It also raises the risk of blood clots as smoking causes platelets in the blood to clump together, furthering the damage to the cardiovascular system.

6. Peripheral Vascular Disease Cigarette smoke and chemicals from the tobacco also harm the blood vessels and block the large arteries in the arms and legs. This leads to PVD (Peripheral Vascular Disease) where you experience pain in the arms and legs often, especially when performing physical activity or exercise.

7. Smokers Cough Within the lungs there are small hair-like structures called cilia which sweep back and forth to remove toxins and mucus. Smoking damages the cilia which prevent them from cleaning the lungs and getting rid of these substances. When you are sleeping and not smoking, some of the cilia begin to activate again which sweeps out lots of mucus during the night. When you awake you begin coughing in an attempt to expel mucus from the lungs. This is known as smokers cough and can be damaging to the throat.

8. Bronchitis Over time smokers cough worsens and leads to bronchitis, a state where the airways have become clogged with scars and mucus, and the cilia stop working altogether. Breathing can become very difficult as the lungs have become weak and inflamed from smoking damage. At this stage, the lungs are vulnerable to further diseases and infections such as cancer and emphysema.

9. Emphysema Alveoli are the small air sacs in the lungs which exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the blood. Without this exchange, you would die, so it’s important that these are working properly. Smoking can cause emphysema, a condition where not enough oxygen is getting into the blood through the alveoli. This makes you gasp for air and you will require an oxygen tube under your nose to breathe.

10. COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is where conditions like emphysema and bronchitis and grouped together. This is an advanced condition where you gradually lose your ability to breathe which can lead to early death In order to fight COPD, you can quit smoking and follow a keto and intermittent fasting plan. These diets help you to regenerate scarred tissue in the lungs and lower inflammation.

11. Toxicity: Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemicals with at least 250 of these having a toxic effect on the cells throughout the body. Over time these toxins lead to chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and a generally weak and unhealthy body. Over 70 of the toxins found in cigarettes are carcinogenic and can lead to cancer in any part of the body, not just the lungs. Some of the worst chemical toxins you find in cigarettes are carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, arsenic, DDT, cadmium and fungicides.

12. Liver Damage Whenever you absorb toxins into the body, the liver has the important job of breaking these down and clearing them out. Constantly bombarding the liver with toxins from cigarettes such as cytokines can lead to damage to the hepatic liver cells. Over time this can lead to inflammation of the liver, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and death.

13. Abdominal Aortic Aneurism (AAA) People who smoke are 15 times more likely to get AAA. This is a swelling or bulge in the main blood vessel (aorta) that runs from the heart down through the chest and stomach. Over time this can get bigger and bigger and eventually burst causing life-threatening bleeding. If you also have high blood pressure this can be a very high risk, so take steps immediately to quit smoking if you are diagnosed with this problem.

14. Infertility Smoking can cause infertility in both men and women, as the toxins damage the genetic material in the eggs and sperm. A woman is more likely to have a miscarriage, and the child can suffer from problems during birth such as low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome and growth defects. When a breastfeeding mother smokes nicotine is passed through the milk to the baby which can cause rapid heartbeat, vomiting, restlessness, diarrhoea and interrupted sleep in the child. 15. Bone Loss Smokers are far more likely to suffer from bone loss or osteoarthritis, especially as they get older. The toxins from cigarettes prevent minerals from being absorbed into the bones, which makes them weaker. Women, in particular, have an increased risk of hip fractures. Quit smoking and begin to supplement the diet with Vitamin D3 and K2. These work together to strengthen the bones, along with leafy green vegetable sources of calcium.

16. Skin Damage When you smoke, less oxygen is able to reach the skin which causes it to lose its elasticity and age faster. Skin will appear dull, dry and perhaps slightly yellowed in smokers as the toxins cause a loss of collagen and healthy skin cells. You may notice early wrinkling around the eyes and mouth also caused by inhaling these toxins. Eating cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower and bok choy will help to restore your skin after you quit smoking. Bone broth is also excellent to drink as this supplies amino acids that are used to build new collagen and proteins for healthier skin.

As you can see there are many dangers linked to smoking and many good reasons why you should quit smoking. In order to quit smoking for good, we recommend first switching to a nicotine patch and then slowly weaning yourself off these all together Supercharging your diet with healthy foods like beet tops, avocados, arugula, broccoli sprouts and parsley will help your body to adapt quickly and lower symptoms of withdrawal. Foods rich in potassium are important for calming down the nervous system and restoring the natural chemical balance in the brain. You can also take adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha to reduce cravings and create feelings of relaxation. Nutritional yeast will supply B vitamins to help re-balance body chemistry as well as low-stress exercises like long walks and yoga.