When You Smoke Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body

If you smoke every day, chances are you know your nicotine habit isn't good for your health. From educational videos meant to dissuade kids from picking up the habit to concerned friends and family members rattling off the latest statistics, nicotine-lovers are well-aware of the fact that smoking every day is far from the best decision for their health. 

According to the CDC, over 16 million Americans are suffering from a smoking-related disease. While smoking is widely known to cause lung cancer, some people might not realize the variety of illnesses nicotine can cause — such as diabetes, cancer, and vision problems. "By quitting smoking, you'll be improving your own health by dramatically reducing your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers," Dr. Mitesh Patel wrote for Aetna

If you're a smoker, you may not realize the extent of the damage smoking is causing to your body; however, just because you can't see nicotine's effects doesn't mean those effects don't exist. Here's a look at what happens to your body when you smoke every day. 

When you smoke every day, your teeth will suffer the consequences

If you smoke every day, you better be prepared to kiss those pearly whites goodbye. 

According to Dr. Justin Philipp of J. Philipp Dentistry, smoking cigarettes every day will undoubtedly cause your teeth to yellow over time. "The No. 1 cause of teeth yellowing is lifestyle," Philipp told Live Science. He continued, saying, "Smoking, drinking coffees and teas, and chewing tobacco are the worst offenders." And as noted by Queen Victoria Hospital, longtime smokers may find that their teeth have turned from yellow to brown. 

Aside from yellow teeth, smoking could also result in gum disease. According to the CDC, smoking weakens your body's immune system, therefore making it harder for your body to ward off a gum infection. "A decreased ability to fight infection and repair tissue means that gum disease progresses more rapidly in smokers," Dr. Justin Kang revealed on DearDoctor.com. He explained that the "continuing deterioration" suffered by your gums could even lead to a person having their teeth fall out. Talk about a nightmare come to life!

If you smoke every day, you might develop unsightly lip lines

Smoking every day can definitely wreak havoc inside your mouth; however, it can also leave a mark outside your mouth — and quite literally.

According to skincare expert Debbie Thomas, people who smoke every day are at high risk for developing something called "smokers' lines," or lines that form around the mouth throughout years of puckering one's lips to puff on a cigarette. "This repetitive movement can result in a permanent line that, over time, can become a deeper wrinkle," Thomas revealed to Harper's Bazaar

Of course, wrinkles are a normal, natural part of aging. However, as Healthline noted, smoking cigarettes leads to the production of free radicals in your body — and those free radicals subsequently result in premature aging. According to Healthline, creams and serums that claim to boost the body's collagen production may work to combat the visible effects of premature aging. However, if you want to avoid smokers' lines, perhaps you should put down the cigarette. 

If you smoke every day, it can disrupt your sleep

Smoking a cigarette might be your go-to activity when you need a burst of alertness. However, according to experts, your nicotine habit could be costing you some z's. 

As noted by HuffPost in 2014, a study found that smoking could actually negatively impact the lungs' circadian rhythm — meaning a smoker's body is less likely to enjoy a restful night's sleep. Additionally, a 2001 study found that people who smoke every day are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the muscles in the back of the throat "relax too much" during sleep, as noted by Mayo Clinic

Of course, as anyone who's ever smoked a cigarette likely knows, a couple of puffs may make all the difference during your two o'clock slump. As Amanda Holm, a tobacco treatment manager at Henry Ford Health System, revealed, "If you're bored, sleepy or tired, nicotine will act as a stimulant to help you feel more alert and awake." However, it's important to realize that smoking isn't treating your tiredness; instead, it's simply masking how exhausted you really are. 

When you smoke every day, it could lead to Crohn's disease

If you smoke every day, don't be surprised if you develop some serious stomach issues related to your nicotine habit.

According to Everyday Health, people who smoke every day are placing themselves in the high risk category for developing Crohn's disease, an inflammatory disease of the bowels that causes your gastrointestinal tract to become chronically inflamed. And if you already have Crohn's disease, experts say smoking will only worsen the disease's symptoms. "It's not absolutely hashed out yet that [smoking] is a cause of Crohn's, but if you're a smoker and happen to have Crohn's disease, that's a bad combination," gastroenterologist Dr. Rick Desi revealed to Everyday Health

While experts aren't exactly sure why or how smoking impacts Crohn's symptoms, Desi offered a theory to Everyday Health. "Crohn's is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system starts attacking itself," the doctor explained. He continued, "If you already have a tendency toward this and you destroy the mucosa through smoking, you may get inflamed."

If you smoke every day, it can negatively impact your brain

If you smoke every day, you could be damaging your brain in more ways than one. 

As Verywell Mind noted, smoking can cause both "neurobiological and functional" injuries to the brain. According to the website, Dieter J. Meyerhoff — professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco — discussed smoking's impact on the brain during a 2005 Research Society on Alcoholism meeting, saying, "Recent neuroimaging studies of chronic smokers have shown brain structural and blood-flow abnormalities." That definitely does not sound good. 

According to psychology professor Robert Zucker, smoking could potentially damage blood vessels that supply the brain with blood, leading to neurocognitive decline in heavy smokers. "This is consistent with other findings that people with [cardiovascular disease] and lung disease tend to have reduced neurocognitive function," Zucker explained, as reported by Science Daily. So, if you're thinking about picking up a nicotine habit — be smart and don't start!

If you smoke every day, type 2 diabetes might be in the cards

While smoking is more often associated with lung and cardiovascular-related illnesses, it can also cause myriad of other diseases when you smoke every day.

As Xiao-Chuan Liu — a chemistry professor at the California State Polytechnic University — revealed in 2011, smoking can often worsen diabetes symptoms for those with the disease, as reported by Time. According to the professor, when nicotine was added to blood samples, the levels of hemoglobin A1c (or HbA1c) in the blood were raised by up to a whopping 34 percent. "This study also implies that if you are a smoker, and not diabetic, that your chances of developing diabetes is higher," Liu added.

Liu explained that high A1c levels can lead to other protein complexes forming within the eyes, blood vessels, and heart — which could result in dangerous circulation blockages. Fortunately, the professor offered a helpful hint to any smokers worried about developing diabetes, saying, "In order to minimize your chances of developing diabetes or diabetic complications, you need to quit smoking." Want to stop? Prepare by learning what happens to your body when you quit smoking.

You could seriously harm your eyes if you smoke every day

If you smoke every day — or if you're around someone who does — you might notice that cigarette smoke irritates your eyes, causing them to feel dry and itchy. In fact, according to WebMD, people who smoke are twice as likely to get dry eye than their non-smoking counterparts. 

While eye irritation is certainly, well, irritating — smoking can also cause far more serious problems when it comes to your peepers. In a 2019 study, researchers found that smoking cigarettes can actually damage "color and contrast vision." As reported by HealthDay Reporter (via WebMD), the participants in the study who were heavy smokers showed "significant changes" in their red-green and blue-yellow color vision. 

According to the study's co-author Steven Silverstein, the study found that "excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction." Silverstein continued, explaining just how harmful cigarette smoke can be to one's eyes. "Previous studies have pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation," he revealed.

If you smoke every day, you might have a harder time getting pregnant

Smoking is a big no-no for pregnant women. However, even if you're not pregnant, there's the potential to make getting pregnant way more difficult than it could be if you smoke every day.

According to Dr. Cynthia Austin, smoking cigarettes has been associated with multiple fertility issues, including ectopic pregnancies and failure to conceive at six and 12 months, as well as damage to your ovaries and eggs. Even secondhand smoke could present problems when it comes to pregnancy. "Once a woman gets pregnant, secondhand smoke can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and learning disabilities," Austin told Cleveland Clinic.

"You really need to stop smoking as soon as possible — ideally several months before you would plan to get pregnant," Austin explained. She continued, saying, "Medical evidence proves that smoking is dangerous at every point along the continuum of pregnancy." So yes, you should absolutely add smoking to your list of things to avoid when you're trying to get pregnant.

You could drastically increase your cancer risk when you smoke every day

Smoking is widely associated with lung cancer. However, there are many other cancers that you're putting yourself at risk for when you smoke every day. 

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, smoking is responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cancer-related deaths in the United States — and a whopping 80 percent of lung cancer-related deaths. Of course, your lungs aren't the only part of your body negatively impacted by your smoking habit. As the American Cancer Society notes, smoking cigarettes has also been associated with cancers of the mouth, esophagus, kidneys, liver, bladder, pancreas, and more. 

"Your risk of getting these cancers increases with each additional cigarette and each additional day that you smoke," Dr. John R. Handy, Jr. revealed on the Providence Health & Services website. He continued, "It's all related to the amount of cancer-causing chemicals that you inhale into your body over time."

If you smoke every day, you can hurt your heart

If you smoke every day, your doctor will likely raise her eyebrows the next time she takes your blood pressure. 

According to WebMD, the nicotine your body consumes when you smoke cigarettes causes a spike in both blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, nicotine can also harden and narrow your arteries' walls, leaving them more vulnerable to blood clots. And, as noted by the American Cancer Society, smoking has been associated with peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, in which plaque begins to build up within arteries responsible for carrying blood to your head, limbs, and vital organs. 

Unfortunately, there's not exactly a proven way for you to tell whether or not you have too much plaque build-up in your arteries — except for, you know, a heart attack. "That's why it's called a silent process," Dr. Ray Kuretu told Beebe Healthcare. That said, the doctor did offer advice on how to decide if you should see a professional about possible plaque build-up in your arteries. "If you're tired a lot and feel pressure in your chest, you're going in the wrong direction," Kuretu revealed. 

If you smoke every day, your wounds will take longer to heal

If you smoke every day, you might notice that you go through more Band-Aids than your non-smoker pals. That's because, according to experts, smoking cigarettes every day prolongs the healing time for many types of wounds.

As noted by Pinnacle Health, oxygen is required for wounds to heal; however, smoking robs the body of the oxygen it needs to repair and replace damaged tissue. Because of this, people who smoke are twice as likely to develop an infection after having surgery in comparison to non-smokers. "Chemicals like carbon monoxide also reduce blood flow to the wound and prevent skin's natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial mechanisms," Dr. Jodi McDaniel explained in a 2015 study, as reported by Science Daily.

Still, despite the importance of wounds being able to heal properly — and the proven, negative effects smoking has on them being able to do so — many people don't realize just how much their nicotine habit can hinder their healing process. "It's just not something that is typically mentioned in a patient visit," McDaniel revealed.

If you smoke every day, it will take a toll on your nails

If you smoke every day, you'll likely find yourself having to make multiple visits to the nail salon every month — unless, of course, you like your naked nails to have a yellow tinge. 

"Yellow-stained nails are one of the biggest tell-tale signs that you're a smoker or that you used to smoke," naturopathic nutritionist Amy Morris told Harper's Bazaar. Saying that the nicotine and tar found in cigarettes can stain both fingernails and their nail beds, she added, "Smoking blocks oxygen to the fingernails which can also result in a yellow hue."

Obviously, no one wants stained, yellow fingernails. However, smoking every day could cause even more problems for your digits. According to Anatomy & Physiology by Helen McGuinness, smoking cigarettes habitually could also result in "slow growth, brittle, dry, cracked, hooked, and peeling nails." Not only does that sound quite unsightly — it sounds like it could potentially be pretty painful, as well. 

You could lose weight if you smoke every day

If you smoke every day, you're putting yourself at risk for plenty of health issues, including cancer, diabetes, and vision problems. While that list of potential problems may be enough to convince many people to steer clear of smoking, some people may find themselves attracted to cigarettes because of their reputation for helping smokers lose weight. 

In a 2015 study, researchers found that participants who were smokers weighed about five pounds less than the non-smoker participants. While researchers pointed to nicotine as an appetite suppressant, they also admitted that there's more to learn about how the other chemicals in cigarettes impact weight loss. "There's a possibility that many of these chemicals may influence weight in some pathway we don't know about yet," University of Copenhagen professor and study author Dr. Børge G. Nordestgaard revealed, as reported by Time

While their ability to cause weight loss is certainly interesting, cigarettes should absolutely not be considered as a weight loss tool. After all, losing a few pounds isn't worth potentially developing heart disease or cancer. 

When you smoke every day, you'll probably have bad breath

Smoking cigarettes is known to cause plenty of serious health issues, such as heart disease and cancer. Additionally, smoking also has a reputation for negatively impacting a smoker's physical appearance — such as staining their nails, yellowing their teeth, and causing visible signs of premature aging. Unfortunately, however, the nasty side effects of smoking don't stop there.

While neither a serious health problem nor an appearance-related concern, bad breath is another one of smoking's undesirable side effects. Smoking cigarettes or using other products containing tobacco understandably produces bad odors. However, these types of products can also dry out your mouth — which will only make your bad breath even worse if you smoke every day. 

As Scarsdale Smiles explained on their website in a since-deleted post, smoke particles linger in a smoker's lungs long after a person has finished smoking a cigarette, meaning bad breath also sticks around long after a person has taken their last puff. There's a reason so many people on dating apps specify they're looking for a non-smoker — a smelly first kiss could ruin the whole date!