How cigarette smoking Affects Your Whole Body Systems

History of Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoking has become the order of the day all in the name of managing stress and other addictive benefits, yet the detrimental effects of it cannot be overemphasized.

Well, let us trace the origins of cigarette smoking. The origins of inhaling smoke for its psycho-active and pharmacological effects was dated back to least 3000 years BC, when the burning of dried herbs and incense in magical, religious and ceremonial practices among the Egyptians and the Maya Indians in South America was practiced until the spreading of tobacco smoking in the fifteenth century, after Spanish explorers had been introduced to it by Mexicans and Caribbean Indians, inhalation of smoke and fumes remained primarily only a priestly to a common prayer habit.

Table of content

Why Smokers Smoke

Nicotine which is an addictive drug that acts on the brain primarily is the only know psychoactive (chemical substances that affects the brain sustaining or causing changes in behavior, mood, and consciousness) ingredient in tobacco smoke. Addicted smokers smoke mainly to get their accustomed dose of nicotine.

 As once remarked by famous British smoke researcher M.A.H. Russell, if it were not for the nicotine in the tobacco smoke, people would be little more inclined to smoke Cigarettes than they are to blow bubbles or light sparklers.

Immediately nicotine enters the brain, it begins to mimic or imitate the action of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, and to stimulate synthesis of a number of the brain’s most powerful chemical messengers: adrenaline (epinephrine), norepinephrine, dopamine, vasopressin, arginine and beta-endorphin.


Acetylcholine is an organic molecule that acts as a neurotransmitter in many organisms including humans. It is involved in alertness, pain reduction, learning and memory.

Non- epinephrine is the stress hormone that affects parts of the brain where attention and responding actions are controlled. It is also the hormone that regulates alertness an arousal.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps the brain’s reward and pleasure, and also helps to regulate movement and emotional responses; it enables us equally to take actions and its deficiency causes Parkinson disease, people with low dopamine activity may be prone to addiction.

Beta-endorphins are substance secreted by the pituitary gland that works as a neurotransmitter, neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to target cell across synapse.

Beta-endorphins are brain’s own natural analgesic (a medicine that takes away physical pain) can reduce anxiety (a normal reaction to stress, unpleasant state of the mind which is followed by behavior) and pain.

The resultant effect is a temporarily improvement in the brain chemistry that is experienced by the smokers as enhanced pleasure, decreased anxiety and a state of alert relaxation.

One of the most common adverse effects of smoking is atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to deposition of Carbon and fats which eventually lead to hypertension, heart attack and others.

Effects of Cadmium during cigarette smoking

Smoking also results in an increased intake and accumulation of Cadmium (metal commonly found in industrial areas) in human being due to the appreciable absorption of Cadmium from the lungs, about 25.50%.

It is established that cigarette smoking is indeed likely to the largest source of Cadmium found in the tissues when more than 20 cigarettes are smoked daily.

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Absorbed Cadmium accumulates mainly in the kidneys for instance, when liver, kidneys and lungs obtained at autopsy (specialized surgical procedure that consist of a thorough examination of corps to determine the cause of the death, evaluate the disease that may be present) from 172 subjects were analyzed, results shown that concentration in the kidneys of cigarette smokers was approximately twice as high as a non-smokers.  That is, concentration seemed to have risen with the number of cigarette smoked.

Other detrimental or harmful effects of Cadmium are damage to the liver, necrosis (decay of testis), hypertension and probably certain chronic lesions in the connective tissues of the body. Cadmium intake also reduces considerably male semen quality and fertility status

Dr. Neil Ward with his team at Surrey University, England conducted a study among 367 couples suffering from fertility problems and found higher Cadmium concentrations in men with low sperm count, malformed sperm and poor sperm motility.

 The gas phase of cigarette smoke contains nitric Oxide (gas that occurs naturally in the body) and nitric oxide (one of various nitrogen gases) which can also be termed as unpaired electron and hence, toxic and capable of initiating further fee radical chain reaction.

Current studies by Dr. Irving Godstein with his team at the New England Male reproductive Health Centre, Boston University Medical School, found a possible link that among a population of 1011 men with erection dysfunction, 78% were smokers more than twice the number of men with erection problem.

Conclusively, the researchers opined that decrease in potency might result from the negative effects of smoking on the blood vessels leading to the male reproductive organs.

Similarly, other researchers measured the blood flow to the penis in 120 men who have come to their clinic with erectile dysfunction; they found that decrease in blood flow was directly proportional to the number of cigarette smoked.

 Dr. Godstein then confirmed that smoking is the premium leading cause of impotency – smoking adversely affects the fertility of male smokers by reducing sperm motility as well as altering the sperm shape. It also inhibits the male hormone (androgen) secretion.

Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Female Reproductive system

There is about 43% decline in fertility for women who smoke heavily. Female smokers are three times more likely than non-smokers to be infertile. Also, they have fewer reproductive years and they reach menopause earlier than non-smokers.

“Tobacco smokers are liable to die young”, Federal Ministry of Health warns. Yeah, smokers die young but also cause serious harm to unborn child.

To curtail the effects of smoking on your baby, stop smoking for about  four months before planned pregnancy to ensure that the reproductive system are as healthy as possible before conception takes place.

Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Male fertility

1. Smoking has cytotoxic effects on sperm cells –reducing their number or impairing their ability to function as well as damage the testes. This is the similar thing alcohol does!

2. Cigarette smoking impairs spermatogenesis (sperm cell production processes).

3.Smoking produces cytogenic (being toxic or poisonous to cells) abnormalities or mutations(change or damage of DNA sequence) in sperm cells that onto offspring potentially leading to adverse reproductive or developmental outcomes such as sperm abortion — that’s murder of male reproductive cell, congenital anomalities /birth defects or childhood cancer.

Effect of Cigarette Smoking on Immunity System

Smoking can weaken immune system drastically.  Apart from depression (stress) that weakens or reduces immunity combination of stress and cigarette smoking contributes to increase white blood cells (WBCs) count and decline in the activity of natural killer cells (NK) that fight off tumors (abnormal/unhealthy growth of tissues). So, smoking makes prone to infections and development of cancers.

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What Happens inside the Body Each Time Smoker Lights Up!

Eye, Nose, Throat and Lungs: Within a few seconds of your first puff, irritating gases (formaldehyde, hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and others) begin to work on sensitive membranes of your eyes, nose and throat. They trigger your watery eyes and runny nose, and they irritate your throat. 

If you keep on smoking, these irritating gases will eventually produce a smoker’s cough. That is why most smokers prefer menthol cigarettes is that menthol is an anesthetic agent that masks the smoker’s perception of this irritation.

Continuous smoking produces unhealthy/abnormal thickening in the membranes lining your throat. This thickening is subsequently followed with cellular changes that have been linked to throat cancer.

Smokers experience morning cough because you have not smoked all night, the cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucous) in your bronchi which were knocked out of action by the toxic effects of cigarette smoke the previous day begin to restore to life and attempt to clear the accumulated mucus (slippery substance secreted as a protective lubricant coating cells and glands) out of your air passages.

This cleaning action picks up the thick yellow or yellow-greenish mucus which results to cough reflex in the back of your throat.

From the very first puff (air emission) of your smoking, the smoke starts to chip away at your lungs’ natural defenses. And continuous exposure can completely paralyze the lungs’ natural cleaning process. Your respiratory rate increases –forcing your lungs to work harder unlike in the non-smokers.

 Irritating gases cause chemical injury to the tissues of your lungs and airways leading to the lungs –resulting increased production of  mucus and eventually the increased tendency to cough up sputum(thick saliva that is produce  during cough).

This excess mucus is the breeding ambience for variety of bacteria and viruses –making you more susceptible to colds, flu, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections.  If you come down with an infection, your body will be less able to war against the infection because smoking impairs the capacity of WBCs to resist the invading microbes.

 Moreover, the lining of your bronchi starts to thicken predisposing you to cancers of the bronchi, and most lung cancers arise in the bronchial lining. Deep inside your lungs, the smoke inhaled weakens the free-moving scavenger cells that destroy or remove foreign particles from the air sacs of the lungs.

 Continuous smoking exposure adversely affects the enzyme called elastin that keeps your lungs flexible predisposing you to emphysema. Emphysema is the condition of the lungs in which the small air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) fills up with air.

 Blood vessels:   Your blood pressure increases by 10-15%, adding more stress or force on your heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

 Truly, smoking increases your risk of vascular diseases of the extremities, and severe case may require amputation. This condition can trigger pain and can increase your risk of blood clots in the lungs.

Cigarette Smoking

Smokers’ body gets less Oxygen

Carbon mono-oxide (CO) from smoking lowers your blood- oxygen carrying capacity, and then the blood delivers less oxygen to all tissues of the body. At cellular level, oxygen is used to supply organs with the energy they need and hence, less oxygen means energy.

Due to high affinity of carbon monoxide with haemoglobin, during the first puff, it quickly displays the O2 from the oxyhaemoglobin –forming carboxyhaemoglobin which may cause headache, nausea, dizziness, weariness, rapid breathing, intoxication, unconsciousness and death.

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Skin: The effects of cigarette smoking on the skin cannot be over emphasized. Smoking constricts the blood vessels in your skin, reducing the delivery of life-giving oxygen to this vital organ of the body. Due to this reduction in blood flow, a smoker’s skin becomes more susceptible to wrinkling.

This lowered blood flow can be a unique problem in people who suffer chronically cold hands and /or feet, a condition known as Reynaud’s Syndrome. Also, smokers are particularly at high risk for medical syndrome called “smokers’ face”, which is characterized by deep lines around the corners of the mouth and eyes, gauntness (extremely thin and bony) of facial features, a grayish appearance of the skin and certain abnormalities of the complexion.

Summary on Cigarette smoking

Cigarette smoking is  never good for any man. Whatever pleasure you seem to derive from is momentarily and hence, a recipe for destruction. 

Therefore, let us not destroy the life God has willingly given us for we can never recreate another once lost through cigarette smoking.  Let us appreciate God daily by the life we lead.  Quit smoking before it halts your life.

Keynotes on Cigarette Smoking

1. Cigarette smoke constitutes Carbon dioxide (CO) and therefore, smoking kills.

2. Yearly, hundreds and thousands of people globally die from disease caused by smoking.

3. Tobacco smoking also leads to varieties of cancers. Switching to filler-tip cigarette decreases the decreases the risk of lung cancer by approximately 20% but does not affect the risk of the heart disease.

4. The mixture of CO and nicotine for each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure –straining your heart and blood vessels.

5. Risks for heart disease increase by 10 t0 20% for each pack of cigarette smoked per day. This can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Smoking slows your blood flow –cutting off O2 from your feet and hands –and some smokers end up having their limbs amputated.

6. Switching to low tar cigarettes does not prove beneficial because smokers usually take deeper puffs and hold the smoke in for longer time , dragging the tar deeper into their lungs.

7. Carbon monoxide (CO) which is a deadly, colourless and odourless gas robs your muscles, brain and body tissues of Oxygen –making your whole body especially the heart to work harder over the time trying to meet up with Oxygen demands of the body. Your airways swell up and allow less Oxygen into the lungs.

8. Cigarette smoking causing causes disease and is a slow way to the grave. Because the strain you put in your body by smoking often causes years of perpetual suffering.  Emphysema patients are usually in the intensive care unit than non-smokers.

9. Quitting cigarette smoking now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health.

10. Smoking by pregnant women can result in fetal injury, premature birth, low birth weight and lastly intrauterine death.

11. For every smile on the face after your cigarette puffing as a result of the nicotinic and carcinogenic constituents of the cigarette, the healthy functioning of the body is disrupted.  Lung cancer is also friend of smokers.

Read: how smoking causes erectile dysfunctions


I have taken time to reveal all you ought to know about cigarette/tobacco and cigarette smoking. It is now your turn to digest and improve your life. Moreover, I would to hear from you if need be though your commentary below.

Thanks for reading. Do share to your family and friends.