Side Effects of Tobacco

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 03/07/2023

Irrespective of being aware of the harmful effects of tobacco, it is widely consumed due to its addictive nature. The warning label on tobacco packets reveals how hazardous tobacco can be and several health issues it can cause, such as coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, malignancies of every organ system, and poor reproductive health; still, 23% of people worldwide continue to use it. Furthermore, tobacco has more than 70 carcinogens and many other harmful compounds that can cause severe effects on your body.

Through this article, we shall get into 8 significant side effects of tobacco and the bad effects of smoking on our health.

Harmful Compounds Found in Tobacco

- Carbon Monoxide

This odourless, colourless gas is poisonous to health if present in large quantities, causing death as it replaces oxygen in the blood. For example, a smoker who smokes almost a pack daily can have a 3% to 6% carbon monoxide level in their blood. Further lack of oxygen may lead to trouble for a heart to distribute oxygen around the body, causing heart attacks and atherosclerosis.

- Tar

Tar is a compound released when tobacco is burned with most cancer-causing chemicals. This substance, when inhaled, has several damaging effects, especially on the lungs, like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer.

- Metals

Heavy metals, such as arsenic and cadmium, are found in the soil and fertiliser used in growing tobacco. Although they are found in small amounts, inhaling them in large quantities can be toxic to health. Arsenic is a rat poison that finds its way into cigarettes through pesticides used in tobacco farming. On the other hand, cadmium is used in batteries which can lead to respiratory or digestive effects, including pulmonary edema and blood clots.

- Radioactive chemicals

Some tobacco plants are grown using fertilisers with a mineral known as apatite. This substance has a radioactive element known as radium which eventually decays to form polonium-210, which is a cause of several types of cancer.

8 Harmful Effects of Tobacco

- Adverse Effects of Tobacco on Lungs

Smoking can damage the tiny air sacs and airways inside your lungs, leading to the deterioration of lung function over a period of time. Such effects are not immediately revealed but can cause lung diseases such as obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD.

Further, smoking can worsen lung conditions which include asthma, lung infection such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.

- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a side effect of smoking

The main reason for COPD is smoking, especially when a person smokes longer. In addition, patients with COPD have sabotaged lung airways which causes difficulty in breathing due to a lack in providing oxygen to the rest of the body.

- Chronic Bronchitis a cigarette side effects

Chronic bronchitis is a common issue, especially for those who suffer from addiction to smoking. Smoking produces mucus in high quantities, which creates difficulty in coughing out. It further leads to swelling and inflammation in the airways. Although there is no solid treatment or solution for Chronic bronchitis, giving up smoking can ease the damage.

- Emphysema

Emphysema is caused due to smoking, which can lead to additional conditions that may include severely damaged lung function, pneumonia, etc. This may result in difficulty in breathing and additional support of an oxygen mask or tube to help them breathe in the final stages of the disease. Although there is no cure for emphysema, systematic control can help control it better.

- Cancer

One of the primary reasons for cancer is smoking. It is a condition where abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and spread through a person's tissue, creating an inability for the body to combat it. Further, the toxic substances in tobacco also weaken immunity, making it harder to kill cancer cells. Smoking is also harmful to DNA (as it provides manual instruction) to the cell, which can lead to uncontrolled growth and cancer development. Also, inhaled tobacco smoke is enough to cause cancer, damaging almost every part of the body.

- Heart Issues

Smoking can damage the cardiovascular system, leading to high chances of risk of heart diseases such as stroke. This is because smoking disables arteries of the heart that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. Further smoking also leads to blood clotting, an increase in blood pressure and also affects the movement capacity of your body, and decreases blood levels of HDL cholesterol.

Also, smokers are prone to aortic aneurysms as the primary artery that takes blood from the heart to other organs has a bump (similar to a balloon). That leads to aorta' wall weakening further, leading to aortic aneurysms getting enlarged and, in the event of a rupture, posing a threat to life. Smoking also causes peripheral arterial disease.

In this condition, the arteries that supply the brain, organs, and limbs with blood become clogged with plaque. It increases the chances of heart conditions such as stroke and heart attack. Tobacco induces peripheral vascular disease that impairs blood flow to the arms and legs, worsening the condition.

Tobacco damages the reproductive system

Tobacco also affects male and female bodies with severe reproductive conditions such as

  • Damage to sperm count

  • Genetic sperm issues

  • A high proportion of sperm defects

  • Impotence

  • High risk of cervical cancer

  • Lower fertility

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • Early menopause

  • Smokers above the age of 35 and on contraceptive pills can face issues with the risk of heart attack and stroke

Circulatory system

Tobacco can also affect our circulatory system, which includes-

  • Raised heart rate and blood pressure.

  • Decrease in level of blood carrying capacity during physical activity.

  • Raised risk of blood clotting.

  • Limited circulation to the extremities (fingers and toes).

  • Compression of the skin's blood vessels causes a reduction in skin temperature.

  • Injury to the artery lining, which is a cause of atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls).

  • Bottlenecks in the blood supply raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.


We can conclude that tobacco is highly hazardous to health and has several harmful compounds, including carbon monoxide, tar, metals, and radioactive chemicals, that can cause intense health problems such as cancer. Therefore, with a smart health insurance plan, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family from the possible health risks of smoking. All you need to do is compare health insurance and choose the one that helps your family get prepared and protected, even during challenging health or financial circumstances.

A medical insurance plan from Tata AIG can be bought offline and online. So no matter what your purchase mode may be, the process will be efficient and hassle-free. Once you have initiated the process, you will have your health insurance plan without much hassle.

Disclaimer / TnC

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