How harmful is smoking?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Smoking addicts you, causes cancer, promotes heart disease, stroke, memory loss, causing decay in orgasm quality, causes wrinkles, and if those aren't enough, it causes you to lose money to the big tobacco companies, and causes you to have a less intelligent group of friends.
Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine
Smoking accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer, but it also increases the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, nasal cavities, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, and bone marrow. Tobacco consumption and secondhand smoke also cause cancer. Smokers who quit can expect to live 10 years longer than someone who continues to smoke.
It is no secret that smoking is bad for your health. Smoking hurts your lungs and your heart. It lowers the amount of oxygen that gets to your organs, raises your bad cholesterol, and raises your blood pressure. All of these can raise your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Armin Brott
According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, smoking kills over 430,000 people each year in the U.S. alone.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 toxic ingredients. For instance, carbon monoxide which makes it more difficult to transport oxygen throughout your blood. In addition, nicotine is highly addictive and research suggest that it may change your body fat distribution and may increase fasting plasma glucose, blood pressure and bad cholesterol. All these risk factors could increase the chances of developing metabolic syndrome, prediabetes and possibly diabetes.
Smoking is extremely harmful to your health. It causes medical conditions and diseases such as cancer and emphysema and can make some existing health problems, such as poor circulation, worse.

More than half of people who smoke die from an illness caused by smoking. Cigarette smoking can cause cancer throughout the body including in the lungs, throat, digestive tract, urinary system (kidney and bladder), pancreas, cervix and blood (leukemia). Smoking also increases risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking kills more than 435,000 Americans each year.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Smoking is so harmful that I don't think there's enough space on the Internet to explain the ways in which it can tear apart a healthy body. Cigarette smoking kills almost a half a million people every year in the U.S. alone. Smoking causes nearly one out of every five deaths, and is the leading cause of preventable death. Chances are, you probably know someone who has died from a smoking-related illness.

Smoking causes heart disease, stroke, and chronic and obstructive lung diseases. It causes cancers of the lung, blood, bladder, cervix, esophagus, kidney, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, stomach and uterus. It negatively impacts fertility, pregnancy and birth weight, and raises the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking hurts your looks, can end your life, and can bring you and your loved ones a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.

Smoking can be very harmful to oral health. The ADA estimates that smoking may be responsible for approximately 75 percent of all periodontal diseases among adults. 

In addition to giving you bad breath and stained, yellow teeth, smoking can cause the following:
  • Oral Cancer
  • Periodontal (gum) disease—a leading cause of tooth loss and sensitivity
  • Delayed healing after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery
  • Few options for some kinds of dental care (smokers can be poor candidates for particular treatments such as implants)
  • Diminished sense of taste and smell

The best thing you can do for your oral health and overall health is to quit smoking or never start in the first place. Talk to your family and friends and enlist their support in quitting. If quitting is hard for you, talk to your dentist or physician about whether nicotine replacement therapy is a good approach for you.


    Dr. Robin Miller, MD
    Internal Medicine

    Simply said, smoking is deadly.  It is a major risk factor for heart disease the number one killer of men and women in the US.  It is also the major cause of lung, throat, cervical, bladder, stomach and laryngeal cancers, emphysema, vascular disease, bronchitis and osteoporosis.

    Smoking during pregnancy can increase the chance of premature births and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Second hand smoke can cause lung cancer, asthma, pneumonia in heart disease.  In addition, if that isn’t enough, smoking causes premature aging of the skin and prolongs wound healing and it  can cause erectile dysfunction

    Frank T. Leone, MD
    Pulmonary Disease

    These stats show how bad smoking is:

    • Cigarette smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually, or about 443,000 deaths per year in the U.S. annually.
    • In the U.S., approximately 43.4 million or 20% of all adults (18 years and older) currently smoke cigarettes.
    • On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
    • An estimated 49,000 of tobacco-related deaths are the result of secondhand-smoke exposure.
    Joane Goodroe
    Dr. Oz and others have provided a great deal of information on the risks of smoking. One of the areas where smoking causes a great deal of damage is SECOND HAND SMOKE. New studies are demonstrating children of parents who smoke have a higher tendency for high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and cancer. The damage to people who have never smoked a cigarette but have been subjected to smokers is another huge risk from cigarettes.
    Harris H. McIlwain, MD
    The health risks of smoking are as follows:
    • Coronary heart disease, especially heart attack and heart failure
    • Magnifies the risk for coronary heart disease in those who already have hypertension and high blood cholesterol
    • Atherosclerosis and blockage of the arteries that supply the feet and legs, leading to gangrene and amputation
    • Atherosclerosis and blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the brain, leading to stroke
    • Increased risk of sudden death
    • Coronary heart disease and stroke in women who take oral contraceptives (especially after age 35)
    • Blood cholesterol increased by increasing the LDL-cholesterol and may decrease the HDL-cholesterol
    • Physical performance, endurance and lung function decreased
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    You can't always see or feel the damage that tobacco does to your body -- especially at first. But here's what using tobacco does:
    • It hurts your lungs. Smoking can cause breathing problems, like asthma or emphysema.
    • It causes cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Chewing tobacco and using snuff can lead to mouth and throat cancer. Tobacco use of any type may lead to many other cancers, too -- like cancer of the cervix, kidney, and bladder.
    • It raises your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These are serious health problems.
    • It hurts your looks. Tobacco stains your teeth and can wreck your gums. It causes wrinkles. It gives you bad breath.
    • It harms your friends and loved ones. Smoking can harm the people you live and work with. Breathing your secondhand smoke hurts their health as well.
    Joseph I. Miller Jr., MD
    Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
    Smoking is a major risk factor for many medical conditions including cancers-throat, lung and bladder as examples, strokes, heart attacks, emphysema, and bronchitis.
    In the U.S., smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women. Approximately 90 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are caused by smoking. Smoking increases the risk of coronary artery disease and strokes.
    One in five Americans, or approximately 443,000 each year, will die from tobacco related illness, making smoking the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking substantially increases the risk of illness and death from lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema and many other potentially preventable illnesses. It is directly responsible for 87% of all deaths from lung cancer, the leading cause of all cancer deaths, and is a major cause of cancer of the larynx, mouth, throat, bladder and esophagus, among others, according to the American Cancer Society. It is also linked to reproductive and early childhood problems such as increased risk for impotence and infertility, low birth weight, early delivery and even sudden infant death syndrome. Secondhand smoke, smoke that is passively inhaled, often by a spouse, young children, the elderly or anyone who comes into close, regular contact with a smoker, is estimated to cause approximately 50,000 deaths each year, in addition to 100,000-300,000 cases of pediatric bronchitis and asthma.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.