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Surprising Effects of Smoking on the Body, and How to Quit

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Around the world, more and more people are deciding to kick their smoking habit, thanks in large part to public health campaigns, policies, and anti-smoking advocates. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that smoking rates fell to a record low of 11.5% in 2021, according to this article. In spite of this small victory, however, cigarette smoking remains the primary cause of preventable death in the US, killing more than 480,000 Americans annually.

Many health consequences related to smoking are well-established, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and certain cardiovascular diseases. However, smoking has lesser-known impacts on other parts of the body. In this article, we’ll shed some light on these surprising effects, with the aim of encouraging more people to quit smoking and providing practical tips to get you started on your quit journey.

Surprising effects of smoking on the body


An in-depth review of cigarette smoking and its impact on ocular health published on Cureus reveals that smokers are at risk of several visual disorders, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and dry eye syndrome. Researchers concluded that this was mainly due to cigarettes harming ocular tissues via oxidative stress, inflammation, vascular dysfunction, and other intricate processes. Some studies suggest that smokers are up to four times more likely to develop AMD compared to non-smokers. Smokers are also more likely to undergo cataract surgery at a younger age than non-smokers due to the toxic substances in cigarette smoke directly damaging the lens proteins.


One of the most notable consequences of smoking on the skin is premature aging, often referred to as ‘smoker’s face.’ We briefly discussed this in a previous post, highlighting that smoking destroys collagen and elastin and lowers estrogen levels in the body that help keep the skin supple and firm. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, which constricts blood vessels and diminishes oxygen supply to the skin. This constriction also impairs the skin’s ability to heal itself, resulting in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.


Perhaps the most surprising effect of smoking on the body is its impact on the brain, which can result in neuropsychological dysfunction directly linked to increased depression and cognitive impairment. In a study looking at the neuropsychological functions of chronic tobacco smokers versus non-smokers, it was determined that chronic smokers had poorer performance in cognitive domains like attention, memory, processing accuracy, and executive function.

These findings underscore the importance of smoking cessation as a crucial step in preserving vision, skin health, and cognitive function. Here are some steps you can take today to mitigate these health consequences.

Effective and sustainable ways to quit

Many smokers report that among the biggest challenges of quitting are the withdrawal symptoms that arise, such as nicotine cravings, problems sleeping and concentrating, irritability, restlessness, and severe headaches. To overcome this challenge, it may be beneficial to turn to smokeless alternatives like nicotine pouches or mouth sprays.

In contrast to traditional tobacco products, pouches deliver nicotine to your system without combustion or the myriad of toxicants present in cigarettes. On this website, you’ll find the 100% tobacco-free nicotine pouches from LUCY. Each pouch is slim, discreet under the lip, and comes in flavors like wintergreen and mango for a satisfying experience. You can also tailor your use according to your level of dependence since they have pouches in 4 mg, 8 mg, and 12 mg strengths. The goal with nicotine pouches is to gradually taper down the dosage until you can stop using them completely.

Alternatively, smokers can opt for nicotine replacement therapies like Nicorette’s QuickMist SmartTrack, which soothes cravings with a mint-flavored nicotine mouth spray that delivers 1 mg of nicotine per spray. This tool also gives users access to a behavioral support app that can help create a personalized quit plan, track progress, and remain motivated on their cessation journey.

The detrimental effects of smoking extend beyond the lungs, impacting various aspects of overall health. The good news is that quitting smoking with the tips above can lead to significant health improvements, even for long-term smokers. With the right tools and resources, you can overcome your smoking addiction and live a healthier lifestyle.