What are the effects of smoking tobacco on various organs of the body?
On the respiratory system: Smoking causes reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways.
- Increased risk of lung infection and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing
- Permanent damage to the lungs
On the circulatory system: Smoking causes increased risk of stroke and heart attack due to blockages of the blood supply
- Raised blood pressure and heart rate
- Damage to the lining of the arteries
On the immune system: Smoking causes greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza
- More severe and longer-lasting illnesses
- Lower levels of protective antioxidants (such as vitamin C), in the blood.
On the sexual organs: Smoking causes lower sperm count and impotence in the males and reduced fertility and irregular menstrual cycle in the females. It is also one of the major causes of cervical cancer in females.
Other effects of tobacco smoke on the body include:
- Irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines causing painful ulcers.
- Reduced ability to smell and taste
- Higher risk of blindness
Maternal smoking has long lasting ill effects on the unborn baby which include
- Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth
- Low birth weight which in turn affects the growth and development of the child.
- Increased risk of cleft palate and cleft lip
The above are some of the effects of smoking on the general health of an individual.