Ill Effects of Tobacco

cancer May 31, 2019


One common public health problem today is smoking. More than 6 million people tend to die across the globe because of tobacco use. Whether it is active or passive tobacco consumption is detrimental to your health. The substances in tobacco right from acetone to tar and nicotine not only damage your lungs but your entire body as well.

Most of the tobacco comes from Northern India or  Afghanistan from the species Nicotiana rustica.

Inhaling tobacco exposes a person to toxic chemicals and carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). It wouldn’t be so surprising to know that a smoker losses a decade of his life.

Let  us  first  know  about the basic components present in tobacco:

  1. Nicotine
  2.  Tar
  3.  Carbon Mono oxide.

Nicotine: Known to cause behavioural health problems and addiction in the majority of the population. The person consuming it may feel good for that particular period, however, over a period of time, it makes them anxious, depressed and moody.

Carbon mono-oxide, on the other hand, reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry resulting in shortness of breath.

However,  one of the deadliest of all is tar.  It is a major causative factor to increase the risk of cancer.


  1. Cigarette.
  2. Bidi
  3. Hookah
  4. Sheesha
  5. Tobacco  chewing
  6. E-cigarette
  7. Snuffs
  8. Clove  Cigarettes (Kreteks)



Nicotine present in tobacco restricts the blood flow to your heart. Over a period of time resulting in blockage and increasing the risk of heart attack.

Due to restricted blood flow, an increase in blood pressure is also seen.


Smoking is seen to cause an increase in insulin resistance. Hence,  increasing the susceptibility to develop type 2  diabetes mellitus at an early age.


Particularly increases the risk of lung, oral, oesophagal cancer. However, the substances present in tobacco causes changes in the structure of your skin and increases the risk of skin cancer as well.

The risk of cancer increases with the duration on the-

  1. Use of tobacco
  2. Number of tobacco products used per day
  3. The degree of inhalation.


Smoking causes a direct contact of the smoker’s respiratory system to the harmful substances present in smoke. They  also  have a higher  tendency  to  develop  irreversible lung conditions such as:


1.COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases)- a group of lung diseases.

2.Emphysema- Difficult to catch your breath and trouble breathing during exercise.

3.Lung Cancer.




The bone density is lost at a faster rate which puts a smoker at risk of fracture, especially hip fractures. In postmenopausal women, it was seen that those who smoked had a lower bone density in comparison to those who didn’t.




Ectopic pregnancy- a life-threatening reproductive complication in which the fertilized egg is implanted somewhere other than the uterus.

Cigarette smoking results in a decreased likelihood of conception as it reduces fertility in females. It is  also  known to cause  shortened  pregnancy  period  and preterm  birth ( birth before  the  37th  week of  pregnancy)



Maternal smoking is known to cause low birth weight infant, reduced lung function and stunted fetal growth.

If children as exposed to second-hand smoke ( i.e via parental smoking) it may cause coughing, phlegm ( a liquid secreted by coughing), wheezing and difficulty in breathing.



Tobacco results in increased incidence of gum infection in teeth which is known to destroy the bones that support the teeth.



9. Impaired  Immune Status:

Tobacco causes a negative balance in the immune status of the person’s body and hence, making the person more susceptible to other chronic diseases.

There is an initiative being taken to make India tobacco-free.  The  National Tobacco Control  Program,2007-08 brings awareness about the deleterious effects  of tobacco


Quitting smoking is not very easy but medical professionals can help you make a plan along with prescribing medications that may help you quit and decrease the urge to smoke. However, to live a  long healthy life it is mandatory to quit smoking.



  1. Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products. (2015). doi:10.17226/18997.

Harsheen Chaudhary

Hi, I am Dietitian Harsheen. I have completed my Masters in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also a certified diabetes educator. Blogging is my passion and I love to share my piece of kno

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