Smoking Cigarettes

Where Do They Come From?

  • Firsthand smoke from cigarettes

  • Secondhand smoke from cigarettes

How They Affect You

Cigarette smoking is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths worldwide.  The percentage of death attributed to smoking ranges from 25% in females to 43% in males for ischemic heart disease, 75% for sudden death heart attack and 90% for COPD.  The relative risks for smoking related disease in industrialized countries are: two for ischemic heart disease, six for COPD, nine for peripheral vascular disease and ten for lung cancer.

Effects of Smoking on the Respiratory System
Cigarette smoking poses numerous risks for the respiratory system by damaging the structure and function of the airways.  Early changes observed in the lungs of smokers include bronchiolitis, mucus cell metaplasia, smooth muscle hypertrophy and fibrosis of the airways.  The central and peripheral bronchi, alveoli and capillaries are affected resulting in the loss of cilia, hypertrophy of the mucus glands, increased permeability, parenchymal destruction and increased number of goblet cells. 

 

Cigarette smokers have an increased risk for respiratory infections including pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchitis and respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, phlegm and an increase in asthma episodes. Long term changes observed include reduction in mucociliary function and squamous cell metaplasia which can ultimately lead to carcinoma.  According to the American Cancer Society, at least 12 types of cancer are associated with cigarette smoking, including: lung, larynx, pharynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, kidney, stomach, pancreas, cervix, liver and leukemia. 

 

Effects of Smoking on the Cardiovascular System 
Cigarette smoking is also very damaging to the cardiovascular.  Smoking increases the risk of heart attack, coronary heart disease and sudden death.  Smoking results in acute and chronic changes in the myocardium, increased platelet aggregation and coagulation, stimulation of smooth muscle proliferation and damage to the vascular endothelium.  A study showed that smokers were more than twice as likely than nonsmokers to become impotent.  

 

Carbon monoxide and nicotine cause damage to the structure and function of blood vessels and platelets, leading to vascular spasms and atherosclerosis.  Smoking results in increased levels of catecholamines and free fatty acids leading to an elevation in LDL cholesterol and a decrease in HDL cholesterol. 

 

Smoking in pregnancy results in lighter birth weight, increased perinatal mortality, increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome and increased risk of respiratory infection and illness.

How To Protect Yourself

  • Avoid smoking and, if smoking, consider quitting (refer to smoking cessation options) 

  • Distance yourself from secondhand smoke 

  • If you are a former e-cigarette smoker consider supporting your respiratory and cardiovascular systems in addition to supporting the detoxification of the heavy metals from cigarette smoke. 

  • Avoid moving into homes that were smoked inside 

  • Educate others on dangers of smoking

Work with a naturopathic doctor / naturopath to help you assess for environmental pollutants and to understand how they may be affecting your health. The information on this website is a guide for ways to protect you and your family from environmental pollutants.  It is not meant to replace advice from a healthcare professional.

3 Essentials

  1. Avoid smoking and if smoking consider quitting (refer to smoking cessation options) 

  2. Distance yourself from secondhand smoke 

  3. If you are a former e-cigarette smoker consider supporting your respiratory and cardiovascular systems in addition to supporting the detoxification of the heavy metals from cigarette smoke.  

Additional Key Recommendations

  1. Avoid moving into homes that were smoked inside 

  2. Educate others on dangers of smoking

References

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  2. Wald NJ, Hackshaw AK. – Cigarette smoking: an epidemiological overview. Br Med Bull 1996; 52:3-11.

  3. US Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing the health consequences of smoking: 25 years of progress. A report of the Surgeon General. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Smoking and Health, 1989, DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 89-8411.

  4. Casio MG, Hale KA, Niewoehner DE. – Morphologic and morphometric effects of prolonged cigarette smoking on the small airways. Am Rev Respir Dis 1980; 122: 265–271.

  5. Jeffery PK. – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cigarette smoke-induced epithelial damage. Eur Respir Rev 1992; 2: 136–143.

  6. Holt PG. – Immune and inflammatory function in cigarettes smokers. Thorax 1987; 79: 16–24.

  7. Paoletti P, Viegi G, Carrozzi L, Sapigni T, Baldacci S, et al. – Cigarette smoking, indoor pollution and obstructive lung disease. Eur Respir Rev 1995; 5: 315–322.

  8. Ross R. – The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis: an update. New Engl J Med 1986; 314: 488–500.

  9. Craig WY, Palomaki GE, Johnson AM, Haddou JE. – Cigarette smoking-associated changes in blood lipid and lipoprotein levels in the 8- to 19-year-old age group: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics 1990; 85: 155–158.

  10. Glantz SA, Parmley WW. – Passive smoking and heart disease: epidemiology, physiology, and biochemistry. Circulation 1991; 83: 1–12.

  11. Progress and challenge. Tobacco control (Swedish style). National Institute of Public Health, Stockholm Publication for the 11th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Chicago August 2000.

  12. Jeremy JY, Mikhailidis DP, Pittilo RM. Cigarette smoking and cardiovascular disease. J R Soc Health 1995; l15: 289–295.

  13. Ockene IS, Miller NH. – Cigarette smoking, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. A statement for health care professionals from the American Heart Association. Circulation 1997; 96: 3243–3247.

  14. Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, Krane RJ, McKinlay JB. – Impotence and its medical and psychological correlates: results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Urol 1994; 151: 54–61.

  15. The health consequences of smoking for women. A report of the Surgeon General. Rockeville, Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1980.

  16. Kleinman JC, Pierre MB Jr, Madans JH, Land GH, Schramm WF. – The effect of maternal smoking on fetal and infant mortality. Am J Epidemiol 1988; 128: 46–55.