The dangers of smoking

Smoking is one of the most dangerous things one can do to your overall health. Yet, thousands of people every day light up a cigarette. Here are some of the major health effects of smoking.


Cardiovascular disease

Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots can also form. A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to part of your brain or when a blood vessel in or around your brain bursts. Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.


Respiratory disease

Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs called alveoli found in your lungs. Lung diseases caused by smoking include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers. Smoking is directly responsible for almost 90 percent of lung cancer and COPD deaths



Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer. Smoking can cause cancer anywhere in your body. Smoking, including secondhand smoke, is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking increases the risk of respiratory system cancers. These include cancer of the nose, sinuses, voice box, and throat. Smoking also increases the risk of many other cancers of GI (gastrointestinal), urinary, and female reproductive systems.


Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.

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About Sara Brown

Sara Brown is the Sampan health editor.
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