There are dozens of potentially damaging effects to the body that are caused by smoking cigarettes. Despite packs of cigarettes having images of damaged lungs or hearts - often don’t realize how varied the effects are and how some are more subtle than others and more immediate than one might think. Lung Cancer or Heart Disease are the really 'big' problems that seem so far away. So young smokers often think nothing bad will happen to them if they quit within a few years.
The sad truth is that the effects set in long before one has a chance to notice. Whether it’s short term or long term, smoking is harming your body.
Short Term Effects
Some negative examples include it's effects on one's breath, coughing fits, yellow stained fingers and teeth, and a weakened sense of taste and smell.
The decrease in taste bud efficiency often translates to excessive salt intake, which has its own list of damaging effects to health and appearance.
The oral complications don’t just stop at yellow stained teeth. There are a long list of potential oral and dental problems that may surface in the short term. This includes an increased risk of:
- Tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth.
- Gum disease and tooth loss.
- White patches in the mouth, known as leukoplakia.
- Loss of bone from the jaw.
- Inflammation of the salivary gland openings.
These effects are thought to be present in those smoking under 10 cigarettes per day, however it is difficult to find consistent studies to determine the time spent smoking or the amount smoked to set rules. An increased risk of lip and oral cancer has also recently been proven.
Studies tend to focus on the more critical matters of internal health but there are visible effects of smoking on the outside too. Some examples include:
- Premature aging of the skin.
- Premature development of facial wrinkles.
- Increased risk of psoriasis.
- Facial discoloration.
- Dry skin.
Further potentially damaging effects related to the skin that go unnoticed include reduced skin blood flow, delayed wound healing, elastosis, and telangiectasia. These visible effects of smoking are something that AprilAge is able to show young smokers. Health professionals often use April Software to demonstrate the effects of smoking on your appearance as you age.
Long Term Effects
The long term health effects of smoking are still subject to scrutiny by the tobacco industry. Even today cigarette manufacturers point to other outside factors can also increase the risk or may be directly at fault. Whilst this is always a possibility in longitudinal studies, there is no real doubt that smoking causes cancer. Other effect include:
- acute bronchitis
- acute myeloid leukemia
- bladder cancer
- blood vessel disease
- Crohn’s disease
- heart attack
- high blood pressure
- kidney cancer
- low bone density
- mouth cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- peptic ulcer
- slowed wound healing
- stomach cancer
- throat cancer
Smoking can affect men and women differently too:
Men who smoke have more problems with:
- erectile dysfunction
- poor sperm quality
- sperm defects
Special concerns for women who smoke include:
- cervical cancer
- ectopic pregnancy
- endometrial cancer
- ovarian cancer
- reduced fertility
- low birth weight baby
- premature delivery
- SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
While the supporting evidence varies by point, there is sufficient information to indicate that smoking is incredibly bad for you.
The problem is in chalking up these issues as ‘potential’ problems. Young people don’t realize the vast variety of damaging effects to the body that occur as either a direct or indirect result of smoking. These effects aren’t believed as true until they are experienced or witnessed firsthand.
However, it’s true that they exist and they are a real threat – given the endless risks, it’s more about which issues you end up with than whether you will have any problems at all.