World no tobacco day: 10 organs that tobacco can damage apart from your lungs

Tobacco doesn't spare your heart, kidney or your penis!

Tobacco can damage lungs; but is there even a single person on the planet who doesn t know that? On being burnt, tobacco leaves can produce over 4000 chemicals [1]. This dangerous smoke cocktail smoke contains nicotine, formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, tar and other carcinogens can wreck havoc in your body and the first line of causality is usually your lungs. From colds and COPD to the more worrisome pneumonia and cancer, tobacco consumption can precipitate into scary, life-threatening conditions. It doesn t even spare passive smokers.

But if you thought the damage stopped at your lungs, you are wrong. Smoke inhalation can leave a trail of destruction starting with your respiratory organs and ending in other parts of your body. Here are 10 organs that can get damaged by nicotine habits such as smoking and chewing tobacco.

The skin

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The deleterious effects of tobacco on the skin have long been established. Autoimmune skin diseases like psoriasis show reduced improvement rates among women smokers. [2] Teens who smoke should blame their nicotine habits for their zits.

Clinical evidence shows that there is a direct correlation between smoking and pubertal acne. [3] Smoking and second-hand smoking are found to worsening the damage caused by lupus. [4]

If you are worried about those untimely wrinkles and laugh lines, it s time to kick the butt. No surprises here, but tobacco smoking can years to your face by causing premature skin ageing. [5]

The fallopian tubes

There is clinical evidence that points to cigarette smoking as one of the risk factors for tubal ectopic pregnancy where the embryo plants itself inside the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. [6] This is also one of the biggest causes of death among pregnant women in their first trimesters. The culprit is an excessive amount of the protein PROKR1 which makes it difficult for the fallopian tubes to contract and send the embryo to the uterus. [7]

The uterus

The nicotine in the tobacco is responsible for lowering oestrogen levels in the body and elevating male hormones. This, in turn, stops ovulation for long periods and causes irregular menses. [8]

According to a study, tobacco smoking also impairs the blood vessels and blood flow to the uterus during pregnancy. [9]

The cervix

Human Papilloma Virus or HPV is a known risk factor for cervical cancer. Those infected by the virus should ensure they stay miles away from the cigarette. Studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of invasive cervical cancer in women who are infected by the trouble-making HPV. [10]

The penis

We are quite sure that if men are told about the dangers smoking poses to their penises, they will quit smoking in no time. Studies show that tobacco smoking causes impairment of nitrous oxide, which helps in sending blood to the penis, causing erections. When there the production of nitrous oxide decreases, it will be difficult for men to attain erections and perform sexually. [11]

The scrotum

A study conducted in 2011 reveals the clear relationship between tobacco smoke and generation of male reproductive hormones. It states the smoking is an endocrine disrupter which can reduce fertility in men. [12] To add to this, sperm production can also decrease significantly. [13]

The kidneys

Smokers should also watch out for chronic kidney diseases. Tobacco lovers are found to have increased levels of albumin in their urine, decreased kidney functions and narrowing of the artery that supplies blood to the kidney. [14]

The eyes

You know what they say about smoker s eyes? They are always bloodshot and there s a good reason for it. The toxic components of tobacco are known to harm the eyes causing oxidative stress. But that s not all; the smoke generated from the cigarette can itself irritate the eyes causing more damage. Researchers have also seen a connection between cataract formation and cigarette smoking in those with type 1 diabetes. [15]

The oesophagus

Don t blame heartburn after every meal on the food you are having. It could be your nicotine habits talking. Smoking relaxes the lower oesophagal sphincter which is a muscle that constricts powerful stomach acids from entering the oesophagus. When this muscle loosens, the acid comes gushing upwards, damaging the oesophagus. [16] It can also increase the risk of peptic ulcer diseases and gastric cancers. [17]

The heart

At this point, this shouldn t come as a surprise. But here s the bad news anyway. Smoking has a devastating impact on your cardiovascular health. Even a low dose of 4 mg nicotine is known to constrict the coronary artery, decreasing the blood flow. [18]


  1. Vander Martin, R. V., Cummings, S. R., Coates, T. J., Vickers Jr, R. R., Conway, T. L., Hervig, L. K., ... & Manolio, T. A. (1992). US Environmental Protection Agency. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. Washington (DC): US Environmental Pro-tection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Office of Air and Radiation. EPA/600/5-90/006F, 1992. Public Health, 82(8), 1173.
  2. Behnam SM, Behnam SE, Koo JY. Smoking and psoriasis. Skinmed. 2005 May-Jun;4(3):174-6. Review. PubMed PMID: 15891254.
  1. Capitanio, B., Sinagra, J. L., Ottaviani, M., Bordignon, V., Amantea, A., & Picardo, M. (2009). Acne and smoking. Dermato-endocrinology, 1(3), 129-135.
  2. Minkin, S. J., Slan, S. N., Gilkeson, G. S., & Kamen, D. L. (2014). Smoking and secondhand smoke among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and controls: associations with disease and disease damage. Arthritis research & therapy, 16(S1), 1-23.
  3. Morita A. Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging. J Dermatol Sci. 2007 Dec;48(3):169-75. Epub 2007 Oct 24. Review. PubMed PMID: 17951030.
  1. Horne AW, Brown JK, Nio-Kobayashi J, Abidin HB, Adin ZE, Boswell L, Burgess S, Lee KF, Duncan WC. The association between smoking and ectopic pregnancy: why nicotine is BAD for your fallopian tube. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 20;9(2):e89400. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089400. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24586750; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3930728
  2. Shaw, J. L., Oliver, E., Lee, K. F., Entrican, G., Jabbour, H. N., Critchley, H. O., & Horne, A. W. (2010). Cotinine exposure increases fallopian tube PROKR1 expression via nicotinic AChR -7: a potential mechanism explaining the link between smoking and tubal ectopic pregnancy. The American journal of pathology, 177(5), 2509-2515.
  3. Jin, Z., & Roomans, G. M. (1997). Effects of nicotine on the uterine epithelium studied by X-ray microanalysis. Journal of submicroscopic cytology and pathology, 29(2), 179-186.
  4. Xiao D, Huang X, Yang S, Zhang L. Direct effects of nicotine on contractility of the uterine artery in pregnancy. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2007 Jul;322(1):180-5. Epub 2007 Apr 2. PubMed PMID: 17403992.2.
  5. Castle, P. E., Wacholder, S., Lorincz, A. T., Scott, D. R., Sherman, M. E., Glass, A. G., ... & Schiffman, M. (2002). A prospective study of high-grade cervical neoplasia risk among human papillomavirus-infected women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 94(18), 1406-1414.3.
  6. Xie, Y., Garban, H., Ng, C., Rajfer, J., & Gonzalez-Cadavid, N. F. (1997). Effect of long-term passive smoking on erectile function and penile nitric oxide synthase in the rat. The Journal of urology, 157(3), 1121-1126.4.
  7. Blanco-Mu oz, J., Lacasa a, M., & Aguilar-Gardu o, C. (2012). Effect of current tobacco consumption on the male reproductive hormone profile. Science of the total environment, 426, 100-105.5.
  8. Jana, K., Samanta, P. K., & De, D. K. (2010). Nicotine diminishes testicular gametogenesis, steroidogenesis, and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein expression in adult albino rats: possible influence on pituitary gonadotropins and alteration of testicular antioxidant status. Toxicological Sciences, 116(2), 647-659.
  9. Jaimes, E. A., Tian, R. X., Joshi, M. S., & Raij, L. (2009). Nicotine augments glomerular injury in a rat model of acute nephritis. American journal of nephrology, 29(4), 319-326

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