Most people understand the risk that smoking causes to your lungs. But that’s just the start of it. Discover 8 surprising ways that smoking affects your body.

Most people know that smoking gives you cancer. It’s one of the main talking points when we try to convince people not to pick up a cigarette. But smoking can damage more than your lungs.

In fact, smoking can increase the risk of death from all causes in men and women.

Are you wondering how else smoking affects your body? This post will tell you what you need to know.

Keep reading to learn eight ways smoking hurts your body that you didn’t even know.

Your Taste Buds Change

When you start smoking, you can expect your diet to change as well. Heavy smoking can lead to your taste buds changing the way you taste the food.

When you smoke, the way your blood circulates through your body changes. You keep as many of your taste buds as a non-smoker would, but the shape of them is different. They are flat and don’t have a good ability to form small blood vessels.

This change causes your taste buds to lose sensitivity. You won’t be able to sense some of the unique characteristics certain foods bring to the table. In other cases, you might find the foods you use to enjoy not appealing anymore.

Vision Problems

Smoking can increase your chance of several vision problems.


The first of them is cataracts. When you are a smoker your chance of getting cataracts is twice as much as non-smokers. When you don’t treat cataracts, they can cause poor vision and eventual blindness.

Macular degeneration

This vision problem occurs typically with age but can happen more frequently with smokers. This problem can happen in two ways.

Dry degeneration occurs when fat deposits form near the light-sensing cells in your eyes. Wet degeneration happens when the blood vessels under the retina break and leak.


Glaucoma occurs when the nerves that break up your eye break down. When enough breakdown, it can cause you to start losing your vision.

Premature Aging

While smoking can cause you to feel older than you are, it can also cause you to look that way too.

Smokers see an increase in physical traits that are common when you become older. These changes can be in the form of more wrinkles, hollow cheeks, and droopy eyes.

These changes happen because smoking causes your skin to lose elasticity and moisture. Your blood vessels also become tighter in the process.

Another problem area is collagen production. Collagen is protein your skin needs to help keep it healthy. When your collagen levels are low, then your skin is going to start sagging more than usual.

Bad Oral Health

When you’re a smoker, you get more than just bad breath. It’s bad for every aspect of your oral health.

Stained Teeth

The perfect white smile. It’s what many of us strive to achieve. Don’t count on this if you smoke.

You can expect your teeth and gums to become stained yellow when you smoke. This color is a side-effect of the tar and nicotine in cigarettes.

Gum Disease

Gum disease happens when there is a buildup of plaque bacteria between your teeth. Your body is good at fighting this off when you take care of your teeth. But since smoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infections, it’s easier for gum disease to take hold.

It’s also harder to notice signs of gum disease because the cosmetic problems smokers suffer can disguise the problem.

Poor Bone Health

While we don’t know much about the correlation between smoking and bone health, studies have shown that there is a link between the two.

It isn’t clear if the link is because of smoking or lifestyle similarities between smokers. In either case, an increased chance of osteoporosis has been found in smokers.

This problem gets worse the longer you smoke and the older you get. You can expect an increased chance of bone fractures and more time spent healing from bone injuries.

Hair Loss

Nicotine and hair loss go hand in hand. There are several ways smoking will cause you to start losing your hair early.

Cigarette Smoke

Environmental pollution of any kind can cause damage to your hair, and cigarette smoke is one of these pollutants. It can cause damage to your hair follicles and prevent them from repairing themselves so they can regrow.

Lack of Oxygen

Your hair needs oxygen to regrow, and it gets it through your blood. Since smoking harms your blood flow, your hair has a harder time getting oxygen. This lack of oxygen means your hair can’t repair and grow as it should.

Immune System

Your immune system helps keep you healthy and fights off disease. When you smoke, your immune and inflammatory responses are damaged and can’t fight off disease as well.

When you do get a disease, your ability to recover from it becomes worse as well. Your blood isn’t flowing as well and can’t carry the nutrients your body needs for it to recover from your illness.

You Can’t Heal as Well

When you have a cut or scrape it usually heals quickly. If you expect it to recover as fast when you smoke, you are in for a surprise.

Because your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen when you smoke, you can delay the healing process. This is because of all the carbon monoxide in your body.

It can take three days for all the carbon monoxide in your body to be removed, so you are in for a wait if you want your wound to heal.

Smoking Affects Your Body in More Ways Than You Can Imagine

There are many other ways that smoking affects your body, so make sure you know what you are getting into if you ever decide to pick up a cigarette. Don’t get yourself in a situation where you are addicted and are hurting your body for years down the road.

Are you a recovering smoker and need more tips to help you stop your addiction? Read our post on the subject to learn a few tips for putting down your cigarettes for good.