What is smoking doing to your body?

What is smoking doing to your body?

Learn about some of the harmful things smoking is doing to your body.

Give it a try!

Graphic of the effects to the Heart Graphic of the effects to the Heart Graphic of the effects to the Heart


Smoking restricts the blood vessels making the risk of heart disease four times more likely. But smokers are not just more likely to have heart attacks, they’re more likely to have repeated heart attacks and suffer from conditions like angina.

Smokers have heart attacks at a much younger age than non-smokers. Smokers tend to have poor circulation and in extreme cases their smoking can lead to impaired use of their limbs, gangrene and even amputations.

Graphic of the effects to the Lungs Graphic of the effects to the Lungs Graphic of the effects to the Lungs


Smoking makes breathing more difficult and it feels like you're breathing with your hand over your mouth and nose. You will find it hard to breathe and maintain your fitness.

Smoking also damages your lungs. Your risk of getting lung cancer increases the earlier you start to smoke, the longer you smoke, and the more you smoke.

Graphic of the effects to the Genitals Graphic of the effects to the Genitals Graphic of the effects to the Genitals


A smoker's sperm count is much lower than a non-smoker and smoking also reduces blood flow to the penis so that smokers are twice as likely to have problems maintaining an erection.

For women who smoke, their liver breaks down estrogen more efficiently which lessens libido. Women who smoke are more likely to have vaginal infections as cigarette smoke harms healthy protective bacteria. When a women is pregnant and smokes, the chemicals from the cigarette are passed on unfiltered through the umbilical cord causing blood vessels to shrink leaving the unborn child with a chronic shortage of oxygen throughout the pregnancy.

Graphic of the effects to the Eyes (blindness)

Eyes (blindness)

Smoking is a leading cause of blindness. If you smoke you're more likely to develop cataracts or blind spots in your vision

Graphic of the effects to the Appearance


If you want to look older, smoking can get you there faster! Smoking damages the skin reducing it elasticity and firmness (collagen and elastin) meaning skin will wrinkle and sag at an accelerated rate.

Smoking also weakens the skin’s blood circulation and increases the likelihood of acne and other skin infections.

Among women, smoking increases the male hormone testosterone often leading to excessive hair on the arms and face.

Graphic of the effects to the Stomach / digestive

Stomach / digestive

Nicotine in cigarettes lowers your body's defenses against bad bacteria and can lead to peptic ulcers. Smokers tend to suffer from more stomach acidity and reflux.

If you smoke you have an increased risk of cancer of the stomach, bowel and other digestive organs.

Graphic of the effects to the Mouth


Let's face it, smokers have bad breath. Some studies say that one in five relationships end because of smoking.

Smoking causes gum disease and cancer of the mouth and throat. Excessive green phlegm and the "smoker's cough" is another thing best avoided.

Graphic of the effects to the Pregnancy


Smoking while pregnant exposes a baby to the chemicals contained in cigarettes. Smoking in pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, premature birth, prenatal death (both stillbirth and newborn deaths) and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). Women who smoke whilst pregnant may also be at increased risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.


Every time a person takes a puff of a cigarette 4500 chemicals enter the lungs and spread to other parts of the body, including 69 known carcinogens.

There are 16 cancers you are at risk of getting if you smoke:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mouth, throat, nose and sinus cancer
  • Oesophagus cancer
  • Bladder, kidney and ureter cancer
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Cervix and ovary cancer
  • Bowel cancer (colorectal cancer)
  • Acute myeloid leukaemia.

If you smoke tobacco, the odds are, you WILL be affected by it.
Click here to find out more about how smoking harms you and the people around you.
Ready to quit? Talk to your local stop smoking service.

Page last updated: 12 Aug 2021