Health effects of tobacco

  • Sol Rivero

The World No Tobacco Day took place last Saturday to spread awareness about the hazards of tobacco consumption. Exposure to cigarettes is one of the main causes of death in the world, and it can contribute with the development of many diseases. Today we take a look at some of the most dangerous health effects of tobacco.


Health effects of tobacco on your body

Some of the health effects of tobacco are visible, or can be perceived by the senses, such as body odor, bad breath, wrinkles, skin aging, and even clouded eyes; and many of these effects are signs of more serious conditions, such as psoriasis, periodontitis or cataracts. However, the most dangerous health effects of tobacco aren’t easy to spot.    

Tobacco contains about 7000 different types of chemicals which affect your entire body, and it’s been linked to dangerous illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes type 2, and breathing problems. Tobacco also affects your immune system, increasing your risk of developing serious conditions.

Smoking, or even being exposed to secondhand smoking, has also been linked to leukemia and diseases produced by bone degeneration, such as osteoporosis or rheumatism.


Health effects of tobacco on your brain  

Although most of us have heard of the dangerous health effects of tobacco in the body, many ignore the hazardous effects of smoking when it comes to mental health and brain functions.  Cigarettes release nicotine which is easily and swiftly absorbed by the body, reaching the brain in merely seconds. Nicotine stimulates the production of neurotransmitters which connect brain cells and send orders from the brain towards the rest of the body.

By producing more neurotransmitters, the normal functioning of the brain changes as nicotine produces an effect of temporary relaxation due to the release of dopamine. This sensation becomes highly addictive, making people smoke more and increasing anxiety and depression after withdrawal.   

Smoking also increases the risk of cerebral thrombosis by thickening the blood and blocking arteries, lowers the person’s thinking ability, and contributes to memory loss.



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Sources: Effects of smoking on your health.
Health Canada. The visible consequences of smoking.
In the know zone. Tobacco in the brain.
Mental health foundation. Smoking and mental health.
Philadelphia COPD Intiative. Nicotine’s effect on the brain.
Yhoy. Effects of smoking on the brain.