Dr. EBAD Khan



Smoking is a very dangerous addiction and is very difficult to give up. It is because tobacco constitutes of highly addictive drug, nicotine. There are a variety of reasons that make people start smoking. Some people consider it cool to smoke. While some see their family members or friends smoking and they start doing the same. Almost all adults, who become addictive to smoking, they are less than 18 years old. Most of them never expected that they will  become an addict. 



Smoking affects almost all the body organs and it is the main cause of different diseases and deaths among young generation in U.S. Quitting this addiction may seems hard but it is easier to give up on it. The number of former smoker has been rising day by day. 
By CDC  [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] [1], the trend of smoking has decreased from 20.9percent in 2005 to 13.7 percent in 2018. On the other hand, 480,000 individuals in U.S. [2] die due to tobacco-related disorders every year. Life expectancy in smokers declines by 10 years.


Tobacco contains two poisonous substances in it:

  1. Carbon Monoxide (CO): It displaces oxygen present in blood and starves the oxygen demanding organs and, prevents them from working properly.
  2. Tar: It is an adhesive, brown colored material, that covers the lungs surface and causes hurdles in normal breathing pattern. 



Smoking is a major threat to your health. There is no secure method of smoking. Replacing the cigarette with some pipe, hookah or a cigar will never help in avoiding health issues.
There are 600 chemicals in tobacco which burn and produce up to 7,000 toxic chemicals. Many of those chemicals are extremely hazardous and about 69 of them are involved in causing cancer.


Let’s have a review of health issues caused by smoking cigarettes:



Smoking damages your entire cardiovascular system. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and cause blockage in the blood flow. Progressive thinning, as well as damage to the arteries, can lead to peripheral artery disease.
Smoking slows down the blood pressure, weakens the walls of blood vessels, and increases blood pressure. Also it increases the risk of heart stroke.



Substances present in tobacco smoke are dangerous for your lungs and can lead to serious chronic conditions [4] of lungs:

  • Emphysema (lungs air sacks are damaged causing breathlessness)
  • Asthma attacks
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of lungs bronchial tubes) 
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) 
  • Lungs cancer



Nicotine found in tobacco is a mood changing drug which reaches the brain within no time and makes feeling energized. After sometime, the effect goes away and fatigue feeling starts. Nicotine is highly addictive, which is why people find it very difficult to quit smoking. Smoking in old age can cause neurological damage. [5]
Physical withdrawal from nicotine can damage your mental health and cause headaches and sleep problems, irritability, anxiety and depression.




The risk for developing mouth, esophagus and pancreatic cancer increases with smoking. It can also increase the “insulin resistance”, raising the chances of type-2 diabetes. [6]



Smoking decreases levels of sexual hormones in both males and females that results in loss of libido (sexual desire). It also decreases the blood pressure in genital areas, hence sexual performance is affected. It can also cause ectopic pregnancy. [7]



Yes, surely you can. Many people think that it is too hard to quit smoking, it may be difficult for them but it is not impossible. You can get rid of this bad habit by devising a proper plan. Throw away your cigarettes, wash your clothes, set a quitting date, change your friends' company (if needed), distance yourself from anything that can lead to smoking. You can join the rehabilitation centers as well. Staring days of this journey will be the hardest. Do not give up. In the long run, quitting smoking is worth it.




[1]Centers for diseases and prevention. (2022, March 17). Current cigarette smoking among adults in the united states. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from


[2]American Cancer society, (2020, October 28). Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco. American Cancer Society. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from


[3]Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S.). Office on Smoking and Health., United States. Public Health Service. Office of the Surgeon General. (1989). Reducing the health consequences of smoking: 25 years of progress : a report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health .


[4]Smoking and respiratory diseases. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2019, November 19). Retrieved April 28, 2022, from


[5]Lindberg, S. (2019, August 23). What you need to know about smoking and your brain. Healthline. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from


[6]Berkowitz, L., Schultz, B. M., Salazar, G. A., Pardo-Roa, C., Sebastián, V. P., Álvarez-Lobos, M. M., & Bueno, S. M. (2018, January 30). Impact of cigarette smoking on the gastrointestinal tract inflammation: Opposing effects in crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Frontiers in immunology. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from 


[7]Products, C. for T. (2021, September 11). How smoking affects reproductive health. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from


This article is written by Dr Ebad Khan MBBS FCPS (Cardiology) on 2nd May 2022. He is currently practicing at Mayo Hospital Lahore, Pakistan.