Smoking cigarettes damages the entire body and causes lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, throat cancer, tongue cancer and premature aging, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking also affects fertility rates and bone health, and it leads to gum disease, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and type 2 diabetes.
The CDC explains that smoking compromises the immune system and causes several additional forms of cancer, including esophageal, cervical, pancreatic, bladder, colorectal, liver and stomach cancers. Blood pressure is increased through cigarette smoking, as the inner walls of arteries and blood vessels thicken and blood clots begin to form. This type of damage eventually affects the heart and makes it weaker because it is unable to get enough oxygen through the narrowed blood vessels. Blood clots created by smoking can also lead to poor circulation in the arms and legs, and there is a risk that a clot can become dislodged and lead to a stroke in the brain or a pulmonary embolism in the lungs, notes CDC. The vast majority of lung cancer deaths are the direct result of cigarette smoking, and the number of female deaths resulting from lung cancer is higher than the total occurrences of breast cancer in the United States. People who smoke are generally sick more often than non-smokers and suffer from asthma and bronchitis more frequently.