Effects of Cigarette Smoking on the Whole Body

Community education over the last several decades has made cigarette smoking far less popular than it once was – some studies indicate a 25 percent decrease since the ’60s – but everyday teenagers continue to pick up the habit. The CDC reports that two-thirds of the 3,000 teens that start smoking each day will start a regular habit. This habit is a deadly one, connected with 90 percent of lung cancer cases and one-third of fatal heart disease cases.

1 Effects of Cigarette Smoking on the Whole Body

Most people are familiar with the risk of disease associated with smoking, but many smokers are not aware of the immediate effects of smoking on all parts of the body. Below, find the biggest effects smoking has on the body in addition to the high risk of fatal disease.

The Brain and Nervous System

While most smokers report that smoking relaxes them, nicotine is actually a stimulant. Immediately after a smoker inhales, the nicotine stimulates dopamine and adrenaline. This nearly instantaneous release of dopamine is what feels so good and keeps smokers coming back for more, but the stimulant also causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, the increased heart rate and blood pressure cause long-term damage to the body.

The release of dopamine also has a long-term effect. This pleasurable hormone causes nicotine cravings and accounts for a significant portion of the addiction that smokers experience. As addiction progresses, smokers need more and more nicotine to feel good.


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When people initially start smoking, they are frequently unaware of the impact smoking can have on their appearance. The most noticeable effect is frequently observed in the teeth, which quickly yellow and decay. Smokers are at higher risk for gum and tooth disease, bad breath, and various oral and throat cancers. The tars are cigarette smoke coat the teeth, mouth and throat over time.

The stimulant aspect of cigarette smoking contributes significantly to a poor appearance. Long-term smokers generally appear older than their actual age and have more wrinkles and skin problems. This is likely attributed to nicotine’s stimulus of adrenaline and heart rate. The body ages quicker because it is forced to work harder by the stimulant.

The Heart and Cardiovascular System

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