Smoking: What are the Effects on the Body?

What are the effects of smoking on the body?


Smoking increases the risk of having a stroke by at least 50%. This is because smoking significantly increases the chance of developing a brain aneurism.
Within 2 years of stopping smoking, the risk of a stroke is reduced by half.


Smoking increases the risk of conditions such as heart disease, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels) and cerebrovascular disease.
Carbon monoxide from the smoke and nicotine put a strain on the heart.
Smoking doubles the risk of having a heart attack, and also doubles the risk of dying from coronary heart disease.
After 1 year of not smoking, the risk is reduced by half.

Mouth and Throat

Smoking causes bad breath, stained teeth, gum disease and damages your sense of taste.
Smoking increases the risk of cancer in the lips, tongue, throat, voice box and oesophagus.
More than 93% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by smoking.


Poisons from the tar in your cigarettes enter your blood and have 3 main consequences; they make your blood thicker, therefore increasing the chance of clot formation, it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries which reduces the amount of oxygen rich blood circulating to organs.


Smoking can cause pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. It is responsible for 84% of deaths from lung cancer and 83% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
You can prevent and slow down the progression of these diseases by stopping smoking completely.

Stomach and Kidneys

Smokers have an increased chance of getting stomach ulcers or cancer. They are also more prone to acid reflux as smoking weakens the muscle that controls the lower end of the gullet.
Smoking is also a significant risk factor for developing kidney cancer, and the more cigarettes are smoked a day, the higher the risk.


Smoking can cause bones to become weak and brittle. Women need to be especially careful as they are more at risk of osteoporosis.

Reproduction and Fertility

Smoking can cause male impotence as it damages the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. It can also reduce sperm count and cause testicular cancer.

Up to 120,000 men in the UK who are in their 20s and 30s are impotent as a direct result of smoking.

For women, smoking reduces fertility, with one study finding that smokers were over 3 times more likely to take over 1 year to conceive. The study estimated that the fertility of smoking women was 72% that of non-smoking women.

People who smoke are less able to get rid of the HPV infection from the body and are therefore at higher risk of cervical cancer.


Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the skin, therefore causing the skin to age more quickly and look grey and dull. The toxins in going around the body also causes cellulite.

Smoking prematurely ages the skin by 10 to 20 years and makes it 3 times more likely that facial wrinkling will occur, particularly around the eyes and mouth.
Whilst stopping smoking cannot reverse the damage done to skin, it does prevent further deterioration.