It's well known smoking dramatically increases the risk of lung cancer, but it also has a number of other effects on your body - here are a few:
Smoking stains teeth and causes bad breath. It reduces blood flow to the gums, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients needed for good health and leaving them vulnerable to infection. Diseased gums is the commonest cause of tooth loss in adults. Tobacco smoke damages nerve cells, causing a reduced sense of smell and taste. It also damages DNA, increasing the risk of mouth and throat cancer.
Smokers have an Increased risk of lung cancer because tobacco smoke damages DNA. Over 80 per cent of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. Lung cancer is New Zealand's leading cause of cancer death, killing 1600 people a year.
Tobacco smoke causes Irreversible damage to lung tissue, reducing the absorption of oxygen. This Increases a person's risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which makes it hard to breathe. 80% of COPD deaths are caused by smoking. The disorder kills around 1200 people a year in New Zealand
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The lungs are lined with tiny hairs called cilia that help remove viruses and other invaders. The cilia are impaired by tar from tobacco smoke, leading to an increased risk of colds and other respiratory infections.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke may damage the retina or its blood vessels. This increases the risk of degeneration in the macula (the central retina), which can cause partial or total vision loss. Tobacco smoke may also damage the cells of the lens, increasing the risk of premature development of cataract (cloudy lens).
Smoking accelerates skin ageing, causing premature wrinkles and droops through loss of eleasticity and collagen, a protein scaffold. An orange or grey complexion can develop. Tobacco smoke causes narrowing of blood vessels, reducing the supply of oxygen and vitamin A. Heat from a burning cigarette may also damage skin.
Smoking greatly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Tobacco smoke increases blood pressure, damages artery linings, reduces oxygen transport, makes the blood more likely to clot, increases the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood and reduces the good,