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Smoking – causes, side effects and treatments at

Monday, July 02, 2018 by

Smoking is the act of inhaling smoke from burning tobacco which is normally packaged as cigarettes, pipes or cigars. People who smoke are classified into two types; casual smoker and habitual smoker. Casual smokers are those who usually light tobacco products occasionally – most of the time, in a social event or to simply relieve stress. On the other hand, habitual smokers are those who regularly smoke and actually have a physical addiction to tobacco. Health experts are associating habitual smoking with psychological addiction.

Smoking poses many health risks as tobacco products contain toxins, such as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and 200 more toxic chemicals. In the U.S. alone, smoking is responsible for the deaths of at least 430,700 people every year.

Known risk factors and symptoms of smoking

There are no risk factors nor symptoms associated with smoking. However, some research suggests that genetic factors may have a contribution to smoke addiction.

Body systems affected by smoking

Smoking has adverse effects on the body. It can lead to many complications to specific body systems, such as:

  • Central nervous system – Nicotine, the main substance in tobacco, travels to the brain in just 10 seconds which makes a person feel energized. As soon as the effect wears off, it leaves a person feeling tired, anxious, irritated, and depressed.
  • Respiratory system – A smoker is at a higher risk of developing lung infections and chronic nonreversible lung problems like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. Moreover, children who have smoker parents are more prone to coughing, wheezing, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
  • Cardiovascular system – Smoking doesn’t only raise blood pressure, it also weakens blood vessel walls, and increases blood clots which put a person at risk of stroke. This habit can also cause peripheral artery disease.
  • Integumentary system – Smoking increases the risk of nail fungal infection, hair loss, changes in the skin, and skin cancer.
  • Digestive system – A smoker is more likely to develop mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, and pancreatic cancer. Smoking also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes as it causes insulin resistance.
  • Reproductive system – Sex hormones for both men and women are highly affected by smoking. In addition, it can decrease performance for men while it can cause dissatisfaction and difficulty in reaching orgasm for women.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent smoking

For healthier lungs and improved breathing, it helps to add the following to one’s diet plan:

  • Apple
  • Bean, seeds, and nuts
  • Carrots
  • Chili peppers
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Garlic and onions
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Pomegranates
  • Pumpkin
  • Red bell pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Water

Treatments, management options for smoking

Generally, health experts recommend the use of nicotine replacement therapy wherein a smoker uses an alternative to satiate the body’s craving for nicotine. Some of the products often used are:

  • Chewing gum
  • Inhalators
  • Nasal and mouth spray
  • Oral strips and lozenges
  • Skin patches

While quitting this vice is challenging, it’s still doable. The following are some tips on how to stop smoking:

  • Throw all your cigarettes stash away.
  • Don’t start your day with a smoke.
  • When you’re craving for a cigarette, do something that will keep your mind preoccupied.
  • Chew a gum, eat a candy or place a toothpick inside your mouth.
  • Reward yourself for not smoking.
  • Tell everyone you’re quitting and ask for their support.

Where to learn more


Smoking is the inhalation of the smoke from tobacco products. It contains hundreds of toxic content like nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide which increase the risk for different health conditions.

The habit of smoking can lead to complications in the central nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, integumentary system, digestive system, and the reproductive system.

As for treatment, smokers can use the nicotine replacement therapy which requires looking for an alternative to tobacco products.

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