How Smoking Harms Your Body

You’ve probably heard it all before, how smoking wreaks havoc on your body and how it affects the health of those around you. But do you know exactly how smoking harms your health? You might not experience the negative effects now, aside from smoker’s cough and yellow teeth, but you’ll probably encounter serious diseases in the future, not the least of which is lung cancer.
Here’s the laundry list of possible diseases and other negative health effects primarily caused by chronic smoking.
Lung cancer
It’s no wonder lung cancer is on top of the list. It’s a life-threatening disease with devastating effects not only on the person suffering from it but also on his or her loved ones. Lung cancer is the result of long periods of inhaling tar and ash, so smokers really should rethink their pack-a-day habits.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and emphysema
Smoking is the leading cause of COPD all over the world. COPD can be just one disease or a combination of diseases that restricts airflow in the lungs. Symptoms commonly linked to COPD include extreme, heavy coughing and persistent shortness of breath.
Emphysema, on the other hand, is a disease classified as a COPD. Emphysema results when the lungs’ constant exposure to smoke damages the lungs’ alveoli, which is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide take place. An obstruction forms in the lungs, making it difficult for the afflicted person to breathe, so he or she has to be put on oxygen. Emphysema doesn’t sound as serious as cancer, but it is a chronic condition that can greatly affect a person’s quality of life.
Cardiovascular diseases
The pulmonary system isn’t the only victim of heavy smoking. Researchers say that smoking and cardiovascular disease are more closely related than you think. Smoking also hurts the cardiovascular system, so heavy smokers are typically at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Aside from causing inflammation in many parts of the body, smoking also causes high blood pressure levels and makes a person more vulnerable to arterial disease and atherosclerosis.
Increased risk of stroke
Chronic smokers must know that they have an increased risk of suffering from strokes, thanks to the high blood pressure levels caused by smoking. Smoking is also said to lead to a higher incidence of blood clots, making strokes much more likely for chronic smokers than for non-smokers.
Smoker’s cough
One noticeable quality among many smokers is the fact that they tend to cough frequently. This cough may be the body’s way of expelling tar from the lungs, or it may be a symptom of a more serious disease. It’s best to have a medical professional check out smoker’s cough if it’s affecting your day-to-day life.
Smoker lungs
Of course, the lungs bear most of the negative effects of smoking. This is especially true if a person has been a heavy smoker for a long time. The inhalation of tobacco smoke greatly damages a person’s lungs. Smoker lungs even appear differently from lungs belonging to a non-smoking person.
Secondhand smoke
Smoking affects not only you but also the people around you, and that is why secondhand smoke is one of the worst effects of smoking. Smoking in the presence of non-smokers put these individuals at greater risk of pulmonary diseases, thanks to their involuntary consumption of tobacco.