When you smoke, nicotine enters your bloodstream quickly. It then travels to your brain, where it increases the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters.
These neurotransmitters cause you to feel good and improve your mood. As you become addicted to nicotine, your body craves it more and more.
Increased Risk of Lung Cancer
When you smoke, cigarette carcinogens start to damage your lungs immediately. These chemicals can change the cells in your lungs and cause them to grow uncontrollably.
However, you can prevent lung cancer if you stop smoking. Even if you’ve been smoking for years, quitting can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and kills about 85% of people with the disease. It also increases the risk of other types of cancer, such as esophageal and pancreatic.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
While it is well known that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, it is often overlooked that cigarette and tobacco smoke also significantly increase your risk of heart disease. This is because cigarettes and e-cigarettes can lead to the buildup of fatty plaque in your arteries that causes atherosclerosis.
The plaques are difficult to treat and can eventually rupture, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. In addition, the chemicals in cigarette smoke and tar can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and circulatory problems.
Increased Risk of Stroke
Smoking causes the arteries in your blood vessels to narrow and harden, making them less flexible. This can cause blockages that may lead to a stroke.
Stroke is a severe illness that can cause a loss of vision, speech or movement. It can also cause disability and death.
The risk of stroke can be reduced by quitting smoking. However, the excess stroke risk can take several years to decrease.
Increased Risk of Diabetes
The long-term effects of nicotine on your body include an increased risk of diabetes. This condition can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels and cause severe complications like eye disease or kidney problems.
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 30%-40% if you smoke. That’s why it’s essential to quit.
Research shows that harmful effects of nicotine on the body and brain increase your risk of developing diabetes by impairing the formation of insulin-producing cells called islets. It also interferes with the normal flow of nutrients to these cells.
Increased Risk of Asthma
The harmful substances in tobacco smoke can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms or an attack. Exposure to secondhand smoke, including inhaling the vapor from other people’s cigarettes, can also worsen asthma.
Asthma is a common illness among adults and children. The risk of developing and exacerbating asthma can be reduced by reducing smoking and limiting exposure to secondhand smoke.
Increased Risk of Obesity
Nicotine is a poisonous substance found in cigarette smoke, chewing tobacco and many other products. It is highly addictive and causes serious health problems.
Increasing your body weight (or being obese) can increase your risk of many health conditions. Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers.
Smokers are more likely to become obese than non-smokers. This means that if you are both a smoker and overweight, you are more at risk of heart disease and other related health problems.
Increased Risk of Infections
The long-term effects of nicotine on your body include an increased risk of infections. These infections can rival cancer, heart disease and lung disease as the most significant health problems caused by smoking.
Smokers have a 2- to 4-fold increase in their risk of developing invasive pneumococcal disease (a severe infection caused by a strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae). They also have a severalfold increased risk of influenza, which causes high mortality.
In HIV-infected people, cigarette smoking depresses the immune system and causes increased opportunistic infections. It can also reduce the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy.
Increased Risk of Cancer of the Mouth
The long-term effects of nicotine on your body can cause cancer in the mouth. This disease can occur on the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums and roof, floor and back of the mouth.
A recent study shows that smokers and users of nicotine-replacement products like gums and lozenges have increased levels of a gene called FOXM1 in their mouths. The gene has been linked to several different forms of cancer.
The study found that the higher the level of this gene, the more likely a person was to develop mouth cancer. However, it’s not clear if the effect is permanent.
Increased Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy
Women who smoke have a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy when an egg implants outside the uterus and in the Fallopian tube. Around one in 50 pregnancies in the UK are ectopic.
Ectopic pregnancy can lead to complications, including internal bleeding and fertility problems. It also increases the risk of placenta abruption when it separates from the uterus before childbirth.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have found that nicotine affects protein levels called PROKR1 in the Fallopian tubes. This protein helps a fertilized egg implant correctly in the uterus.