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5.10: Smoking - Effects on the Body

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    Main consequences in the respiratory system from smoking have been mentioned. Smoking has adverse effects in other areas of the body, also. In general, smoking increases the formation of free radicals and lipid peroxides while reducing the antioxidant actions of vitamin C, vitamin E, and β carotenes. Smoking may increase free radical damage to DNA by 50 percent. In the skin, smoking speeds up and amplifies the effects from aging and from photoaging. Smoking is associated with increased risks for most skin cancers. In the circulatory system, smoking damages the endothelium; raises blood pressure; and increases substantially the risk of blood clots, of atherosclerosis, and of their complications. Effects on these two systems are due partly to constriction of skin vessels and reductions in blood oxygen caused by smoking. These two changes develop within minutes of initiating smoking and can last for hours, long enough to light the next cigarette. The result is continuous inadequate blood flow in the skin and elevated blood pressure. In the eyes, smoking is associated with a higher incidence of cataracts and diseases of the retina. Smoking reduces estrogen levels in women and speeds up age-related thinning of bones. Smoking doubles the problems from non-insulin dependent diabetes; suppresses normal functioning of the immune system; promotes autoimmune diseases; reduces the sense of taste, the benefits from some vitamins, and liver function; and is associated with higher rates of reproductive system and digestive system cancers. Cessation of smoking is associated with reduction or complete reversal of these problems and risks.

    This page titled 5.10: Smoking - Effects on the Body is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Augustine G. DiGiovanna via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.