what does smoking
do to your body?
Click the body parts to find out
what smoking does to your insides!
When you smoke, Nicotine, the drug
that makes tobacco addictive, takes only
ten seconds to get to your brain. The
nicotine and the way it interacts with your
brain is what makes you addicted to
tobacco. Having an addiction means that
you lose the ability to make choices. Your
brain tells you want to smoke and it is very
hard to stop.
People smoke because they are addicted
but it also makes you feel relaxed. This
only lasts for a little while, which is why
you need to keep smoking. After the
relaxing feeling fades it can make you feel
anxious, nervous, moody and depressed.
Smoking does a lot of serious damage to
your brain. Smoking causes strokes, which
is when the blood stops flowing to the
brain and causes brain damage. Smoking
causes around 40% of all strokes in
individuals under 65 years of age.
The toxic chemicals that a smoker inhales from cigarettes can cause damage to a part of the eye called the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina, at the back of your eye). Smoking can irreversibly damage the cells in the eye when the tiny blood vessels burst through the macula, or kill the cells of the macula which causes blindness.
Macular degeneration is the result of damage inside the eye that can lead to irreversible blindness. It can occur in one or both eyes and cause a permanent ‘blind spot’ directly in the line of sight.
Smoking affects everything in your mouth
in different ways. It changes the bacteria in
your mouth to be more acidic, meaning
that you are more likely to have tooth
decay. Smoking stains your teeth, making
your pearly whites an ugly yellow.
Smokers are much more likely to develop
gum disease which means your gums
become swollen, bleed more easily, you
develop sensitive teeth and you are at a
much higher risk of losing teeth, in fact
smokers are twice as likely to loose teeth
than non smokers.
Tobacco gives you bad breath and ruins
some of your taste buds, so you won’t be
able to taste your favourite foods and you
are more likely to develop oral cancer than
The heat and smoke from cigarettes can
make your throat itchy and dry which
makes your throat swollen. This makes it
harder to swallow and people often
develop a cough known as ‘smokers cough’.
The biggest problem that smoking causes
in your throat is cancer. Smokers are two
to five times more likely to develop cancer
of the throat, oesophagus, pharynx and
larynx (voice box.)
Smoking increases your heart rate, which
means your heart beats faster. This means
your heart will wear out more quickly and
over time can cause an irregular
When your heart beats, it pumps blood
around your body which gives your body
the energy and oxygen it needs. As the
blood moves, the vessels in your blood
push against each other, the strength of
this pushing is called blood pressure.
Smoking increases your blood pressure,
meaning that is causes a strain on your
arteries. Your arteries are very important
because they pump blood into your heart.
All the chemicals in cigarettes cause a
buildup of fatty, sticky substance inside
the artery. This means there is less room
for the blood to travel around your body
and increases your risk of having a blood
clot, which can result in a heart
attack or stroke.
The chemical in tobacco smoke;
carbon monoxide, decreases the
amount of oxygen delivered to the
muscles and other body tissues
which causes an increase in lactic
Lactic acid causes your muscle to be
weak and sore after exercise. Nicotine
also causes the tightening of certain
muscles in the body.
Lungs filter the air that you breathe in, so
imagine what chaos smoking causes! The
chemicals in cigarettes irritates the lungs
and causes extra mucus to be made, which
means you are more at risk of being sick
and having a ‘smokers cough’.
Cigarette smoke is one the best known
triggers of asthma. It irritates the air
passages and causes and asthma attack.
People who smoke for a long time destroy
their lungs as the chemicals in tobacco
destroy the lung structure and as your
lungs are so delicate, this damage will not
heal. This means you are at higher risk of
emphysema which is when you have less
lung tissue than normal, so you can’t
transfer as much oxygen to the blood.
Breathing becomes a struggle and you
can’t do as many things, like play footy!
One of the most serious effects that
smoking has on the lung is cancer. Lung
cancer is the most common form of cancer
caused by smoking. More than 80% of cases of
lung cancer are due to smoking.
Sometimes you can tell that someone
smokes because they have more wrinkles
and their skin looks a bit yellowed or grey.
Smoking makes you age faster by making
you skin droopy and wrinkled. It also dries
out your skin which means you are more
likely to get yucky rashes and diseases
of the skin.
If you ever need to have surgery or hurt
yourself, your skin won’t heal as well or as
quickly and you are at risk of more
infections and blood clots.
The liver is the body’s filter, it processes
medications, alcohol, and other such chemicals
and toxins and removes them from the body.
Smoking can damage the cells in the liver when
it has to process the nasty chemicals inside
Smoking can scar the liver and make
the liver less able to removing toxins from the
Smoking also causes liver cancer.
Half of all liver cancer cases are a result
Smoking causes cancer of the stomach.
The rate of stomach cancer is around
double for smokers. Smoking is also
associated with an increased risk of
colorectal polyps and bowel cancer.
In some people smoking causes a
painful disease called peptic ulcer
Smoking appears to increase the risk for
Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory
bowel condition. People with this disease
suffer from pain, severe diarrhoea, and
Treatment includes surgery to remove part
of the bowel. Smokers with Crohn’s disease
are more likely to have more severe symptoms,
and to have surgery earlier and more often
Smoking can cause problems for virtually
all aspects of the reproductive system.
Smoking can affect sperm.
Smokers can have a lower sperm count,
higher percentage of deformed sperm,
and genetic damage to sperm,
which can make it difficult to have
Smoking also affects the pipi
or doonghi (penis). Smokers can have
impotence- this is because the
chemicals in smoking effects blood flow
and damages the blood vessels of the penis.
Smoking can cause problems for
virtually all aspects of the reproductive system
Smoking can affect your fertility.
This means when you want to have kids,
it is difficult to get pregnant.
Smoking can affect your period.
Your menstrual cycle can become
irregular which could mean
more pain or shorter cycle or
absence of menstruation.
You can also reach menopause
(can’t have any more kids) two years
earlier than non-smokers and
have worse symptoms.
Smoking can increase your risk of
cervical cancer. If a smoker is on the
oral contraceptive pill and over 35,
they are more at risk of having strokes
and heart attacks.
How smoking affects unborn boorai (baby):
If you smoke when you are pregnant
then you may be at an increased
risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
Your boorai may be born with a
low birth weight, which affects growth
and development and is associated
with an increased risk of heart disease,
stroke, high blood pressure,
being overweight and diabetes in adulthood.
Your baby may also be at an increased
risk of being born with a cleft palate and cleft lip.
Even if the mother doesn’t smoke,
if she is around smokers then she is
exposed to second-hand smoke
which harms her baby. If a parent continues
to smoke during their baby’s
first year of life, the child has an
increased risk of ear infections,
respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia
and bronchitis, sudden infant death syndrome
(SIDS) and meningococcal disease.
Smoking gradually decreases the density
(or strength) of your bones. This leads to
low bone density, and your bones will
break more easily.
Smokers are nearly
twice as likely to suffer an injury during
exercise as non-smokers.
bones and joints, increasing the risk for
developing the following conditions:
osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis,
low back pain, bursitis, tendonitis,
sprains and fractures.