Healthy Living

What Smoking Does to Your Body

Nov 2 2021

Did you know long-term smoking and vaping can lead to many health issues like high blood pressure, strokes, heart conditions and various forms of cancer? Smoking and vaping can also cause blockages in your body, which disrupt cell performance and organ function.

“Your body is like a house; the organs are like rooms in the house and your veins are like plumbing,” Jacqueline Crenshaw, a Bon Secours respiratory therapist, explains. “If you’re clogging that flow because of smoking, then you’re actually causing damage to those organs that need blood to function properly.”

When cells do not perform as they should, there is a higher chance of cancerous cells forming. These cancerous cells can form in multiple different organs, including the lungs.

“When the cells aren’t functioning at their optimal level, they can become cancerous,” Jacqueline shares.

Reproductive concerns can also be a side effect of long-term smoking. Decreased oxygen can cause infertility in men. And if a mother smokes during pregnancy, the baby can become dependent on nicotine in the womb and go through withdrawal as soon as they are born. This can also increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) for the baby.

Smoking not only affects your internal organs, but your external appearance as well. Smoking can cause tooth decay, discoloration and wrinkles. Overall, it can disrupt how your body is supposed to function and have negative effects on you, both physically and emotionally.

“When your tissue is not alive, not healthy and not getting the good oxygen it needs because of the smoke or nicotine, it doesn’t work right and it decays,” Jacqueline reveals.

As for COVID-19, health care providers believe that smokers are more at risk than non-smokers. The complications from COVID-19 can be more serious to smokers since smoking can create blockages in both your electrical and blood flows.

“If you’re smoking and you get the virus, it could be a double whammy,” Jacqueline says.

If you currently smoke but have goals of a healthier lifestyle, Jacqueline shares that support groups can make a big difference and are an excellent starting point.

“It’s the emotional attachment and habits we form when we smoke that are hardest to break,” she says. “There is a success rate of more than 90 percent for those who take part in our Bon Secours Quit Smart Smoking Cessation program.”

Learn more about tobacco addiction as well as the treatment services we offer at Bon Secours.

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