The health effects of smoking have long been a concern and rightly so. Smoking costs the nation billions of dollars each year in medical costs, lost productivity, and lives (read more on how smoking effects society). The effects of smoking are almost immediate, once you take that first puff you are putting your health at risk and those around you. Smoking worsens your health, causes diseases, and harms nearly every organ in your body.
One of the main long term effects of smoking is the risk of developing cancer. Smoking causes cancer in various organs throughout the body such as mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, lungs, kidneys, bladder, stomach, pancreas, and cervix. Another major long term effect of smoking is myeloid leukemia, which is basically cancer of the blood. In lung cancer cases alone, smoking is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and 80 percent among women.
The long term effects of smoking reach much further than developing cancer they also affect your heart and cardiovascular system. Heart disease and stroke are in the top 3 for leading causes of death in the U.S. Among heart disease and stroke smoking also causes high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and congestive heart failure. If you smoke you are 4 times more likely to die from heart disease.
Respiratory diseases such as COPD are also a long term health effect of smoking. Over 100,000 people die from COPD each year. Over time smoking causes swelling and scarring in the lungs which causes COPD and essentially death comes from the lack of air.
Even with all the damage smoking causes there is reason to quit smoking. Depending on how long and how much you smoke your body can repair much of the damage after quitting, of course the sooner the better. You may still suffer from some long term effects of smoking but one thing is for certain you will improve the quality of your life and those around you.