Health effects of cigarette smoking

  • Wrinkles and Age Spots

    Wrinkles and Age Spots

    Repeated use of the muscles around the lips when smoking, and the loss of skin elasticity from chemicals in cigarettes cause many smokers to develop deep lines around their lips. Other signs of premature aging include uneven skin tone.

  • Skin and Nail Discoloration

    Skin and Nail Discoloration

    Brown stain on the fingers and fingernails of a cigarette smoker due to tar and nicotine build up from tobacco.

  • Nicotine Stomatitis

    Nicotine Stomatitis

    Stomatitis, or oral inflammation, is caused by repeatedly inhaling heated smoke from cigarettes or pipes. White lesions form on the hard palate of the mouth, and excess keratin produced by affected cells builds up on the tongue.

  • Damage to teeth and gums

    Damage to teeth and gums

    Yellow teeth are one of the most notorious effects of long-term smoking, but smokers also develop gum disease, persistent bad breath, plaque and tartar buildup and are twice as likely to loose teeth as nonsmokers.

  • Oral Cancer

    Oral Cancer

    Smoking and other tobacco use are associated with 70% to 80% of oral cancer cases. The most common symptoms include a sore patch on the tongue, lips, gums, or other area inside the mouth that does not go away and may be painful.

  • Lung Cancer

    Lung Cancer

    Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and about 80% to 90% of cases are associated with smoking. The white area in the upper lobe of this post-mortem lung is cancer; the black areas indicate the patient was a smoker. Smoking can lead to other lung problems, including pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema.

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More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined, according to the CDC.

The good news: Nearly 70% of smokers want to quit, and about 50% said they made an attempt in the year prior to being questioned, data from 2001-2010 National Health Interview Surveys indicate. The bad news: They may not be getting as much help from health care providers, as they need – only 48.3% of those surveyed said they were advised to quit. Be sure to counsel smokers about the habit’s dangerous health effects and cessation options.

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