Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Is Tobacco Bad For You?



Short answer

Undoubtedly - yes - tobacco is bad for you. Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals, some of which are cancerous, have the potential to harm your blood cells, and can disrupt the heart’s normal functioning.



Long answer

Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemicals. About 70 of them have the potential to cause cancer (carcinogenic). Some of the most deadly ones include cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene, and ammonia. The smoke also contains tar and carbon monoxide / nitrogen oxide, two very poisonous gases. This simply means that every time you smoke tobacco, your body (immune system) puts up a fight against the chemicals' damaging effects. Sustained damage can cause disease over time. A report from the Surgeon General on the harmful effects of tobacco shows that the poisonous chemicals can access all body organs, including vital ones. Thus, tobacco also causes severe lung and heart diseases. Combined, all the chemicals can eventually cause death.

It’s worth noting that even tobacco leaves are equally harmful. They can contain radioactive materials depending on the type of soils and fertilizers used for production. Accumulated radiation in the lungs can rise to levels high enough to cause lung cancer. Chemicals from tobacco can scar your lungs. You risk developing pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, emphysema (weakened air sacs), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. With regard to the heart, you’re at risk of developing arteriosclerosis, stroke, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and cardiovascular disease, among others. Simply put, there is no safer way of using tobacco. Don't start smoking, if you haven't already. If you're a smoker, quitting is your safest bet.

Possible short-term side effects

  • poor lung function
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • decreased smell
  • decreased taste
  • bad breath
  • stained teeth
  • premature skin aging

Possible long-term side effects

  • lung cancer
  • heart disease
  • bronchitis
  • aneurysms
  • stroke
  • pneumonia
  • asthma

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Healthier alternatives

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Written by Kathan Natrajan | 12-28-2015

Written by Kathan Natrajan
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