It has been clear for much time that cigarette smoking is harmful to the health of smokers and non-smokers alike. Listed below is an incomplete list of the harmful effects of both second-hand and mainstream smoke. Also below is a link to an informative and helpful website from the The New York City Department of Health and Men
Although most of us know that smoking increases one's risk for a variety of cancers, most notably lung cancer, many are unaware of the other harmful effects of smoking. As we go through our studies, we will identify those not-so-obvious effects of smoking. This list is under construction and is by no means exhaustive!
Specific references for some of the conditions can be found below. Otherwise, the information can be readily found in Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 7th Ed.
- ECTOPIC PREGNANCY: Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the developing embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus. Oftentimes the pregnancy is established in the fallopian tube, which is unable to sustain the growth of the fetus. After a short period of time, the fallopian tube may rupture leading to a life and death situation for the mother. Females who smoke are at an increased risk for developing this potentially fatal condition of ectopic pregnancy. Smoking impairs the transport of the embryo into the uterus via several mechanisms (References 1-5):
- Impairment of ciliary beat frequency within fallopian tube
- Decreased smooth muscle contraction in the fallopian tube
This takes place with both mainstream and secondhand smoke!
- IMPAIRED FECUNDITY: Smoking lowers levels of estrogen in the body leading to earlier onset of menopause and impaired fertility.
- FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SMOKING AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, PLEASE SEE THE ARTICLE "Smoking and reproductive life: The impact of smoking on sexual, reproductive and child health" PUBLISHED IN THE BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (Published February 2004).
- A quick reference chart can be found HERE.
- Thanks to Sarah Hull for this information!
- ENDOMETRIAL HYPERLASIA: Smoking increases one's risk of developing a certain form of uterine cancer.
- OSTEOPOROSIS: Since estrogen levels are lowered in the blood in female smokers, it has been shown that smoking might increase a female's risk for developing osteoporosis at an earlier age.
- SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA OF THE ESOPHAGUS (CANCER): In combination with alcohol intake increases the risk of this form of cancer.
- CHRONIC GASTRIC (STOMACH) AND SMALL INTESTINAL ULCERS: Increases one's risk of developing an ulcer in the stomach or in the first segment of the small intestine (called the duodenum).
- ACUTE GASTRITIS (Inflammation of the Stomach)
- GASTRIC CARCINOMA (CANCER)
- CROHN'S DISEASE: Crohn's disease is characterized, in part, by diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes weight loss. Although the exact mechanism of this disease process is not yet worked out, it is generally accepted that it involves three components: a genetic predisposition, a dysfunctional immune system, and an environmental trigger. It is thought that cigarettes may be one of many environmental triggers for Crohn's Disease.
- ATHEROSCLEROSIS: Smoking damages the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelium). This inner lining changes in such a way that the deposition of fats is hastened and a local inflammatory response is worsened. Ultimately, atherosclerosis can lead to stroke, heart attack (myocardial infarction), loss of vision, and other ischemic conditions.
- DID YOU KNOW that heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #3 killers of women, respectively!! These two conditions kill more women than the next seven causes of death, including all types of cancer. Atherosclerosis is an important contributor to both heart disease and stroke. For more information, check out the American Heart Association's campaign Go Red For Women.
- LUNG CANCER
- SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER
- LARGE CELL LUNG CANCER
- SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
- ESPECIALLY WITH ALPHA-1 ANTITRYPSIN DEFICIENCY
- CHRONIC BRONCHITIS
- ORAL CANCER -Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- PROGRESSION OF ASTHMA
MORE TO FOLLOW SOON!!
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has created a wonderful site to learn about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
- Knoll M et al. Biol Reprod 1995: 53 (29-37)
- Knoll M, Talbot P Reprod Toxicol 1998: 12 (57-68)
- DiCarlantonio S, Talbot P Biol Reprod 1999: 61 (651-656)
- Saraiya M, et al. Am J Obset & Gynecol 1998: 178 (493-498)
- Handler A., et al. Am J Public Health 1989: 79 (1239-42)
Last updated: 07/25/2011