Health Risks of Tobacco

Traditional Cigarettes have a range of health risks, side effects and social concerns. To the extent that of all the deaths of any kind in the US, 1 in 5 are a result of tobacco in some form.

The effects of cigarette smoking are complex, long lasting and systemic. In addition to positioning you in some circles as a social outcast, being forced to step in to whatever weather conditions exist to feed the habit; cigarette smokers are now restricted in restaurants, hotels and businesses. The concerns about second hand smoke have made cigarette users unable to smoke in public areas, sporting events and entertainment centers.

Cigarette smoke effects nearly ever area of the body eventually. Respiratory issues are among the first to develop. The American Cancer Society reported in 2008 that smoking lowers the oxygen level in the body. The lack of oxygen can reduce energy levels. The lungs have tiny air sacs, which are damaged as soon as the smoke from cigarette tobacco hits them. Over time cigarette tobacco can lead to emphysema, cancer, pneumonia or bronchitis and even tuberculosis, as the effects of smoking tobacco ravages and ultimately destroy your lungs.

Over time cigarette tobacco also impacts the circulatory system, drastically increasing your risk for stroke and heart attack. The cilia and blood vessels in the circulatory that aid in moving the blood through the body can be damaged. The heart beats faster, blood pressure rises. The risk for heart disease increases. The heart rate increases, the lining of the blood vessels can be affected, which may allow fat deposits to cling to the walls of the blood vessels, increasing arteriosclerosis or artery hardening. The restriction of circulation in the body can lead to painful neuropathy. This may lead to gangrene and could result in amputation of affected areas. The slowed blood flow can reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Blood can be thickened and this can further reduce the oxygen flowing to various parts of the body. All of this adds up to taxing the heart, increasing the potential for heart related fatalities.

The reproductive system is affected as well. The American Council on Science and Health reported in 1996 study the men’s risk of erectile dysfunction is twice as high in smokers. Mobility and quantity of sperm levels are affected by smoking as well. Breast and cervical cancer are increased risked for women who smoke cigarette tobacco. Women who are pregnant can lower birth weight, increase the likelihood of premature or stillborn babies, or having a miscarriage. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is more common in babies of smoking parents. Tar and nicotine can be passed through breast milk to nursing infants.

The digestive system is affected by cigarette tobacco as well. Intestines and stomach inflammation or ulcers can result from smoking cigarette tobacco. Skin quality is also affected with more wrinkles, decreasing elasticity and poor circulation. Bad breath, yellow or stained teeth and the lingering smell of cigarette tobacco can follow smokers as well.

Smoking takes the lives of millions of cigarette users every year and hundreds of thousands of those impacted by second hand smoke. The risks are clear, systemic and pervasive. There is a clear correlation between cigarette tobacco use and poor health. Tobacco and health are clearly linked with serious and fatal complications likely. Death and destruction appear to be the inevitable consequences of smoking, living with a smoker and users of cigarette tobacco.

The advice from most medical professionals is if you don’t smoke don’t start. If you do smoke, stop. Work with your medical professional for an integrated program that will allow you to be more successful in breaking the negative effects of tobacco and your health.

One alternative which reduces the effects of exposure to the carcinogenic properties of cigarettes is what is known as the smokeless cigarette or electric cigarette. The device uses a nicotine vapor that is injected when the user inhales, and the user is not exposed to the side effects of combustion whatsoever. A wide variety of accessories and options can be found with today's electronic cigarettes to suit most consumers.