Health Effects of Tobacco

The risks of using tobacco

It’s simple: tobacco is bad for your health

In just one puff of a cigarette, a smoker will inhale as many as 4,000 chemicals into their lungs. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco or vaping products are bad for your health.

One of the riskiest parts of using tobacco is how easy it is to become addicted to it. Users begin to crave nicotine - the addictive chemical in tobacco. Once that happens, it is very hard to stop.

Still, there is never a bad time to quit using tobacco. You can do it!

Know the risks of using tobacco...

...if you’re a long-time user

Smoking tobacco can lead to more than 20 serious diseases and health conditions. People who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to:

  • Have a stroke or heart attack
  • Develop cancer, including lung, throat and mouth cancer
  • Live with heart disease or breathing problems like emphysema or chronic bronchitis
  • Experience erectile dysfunction

...if you’re young and just starting to use tobacco

Young people can develop nicotine addiction more easily than adults. Regular exposure to nicotine can:

  • Harm a young person’s memory
  • Make it harder to concentrate
  • Make a young person less able to control their impulses
  • Alter a teenager’s brain development

...if you are pregnant

Pregnant women should try their hardest to stop smoking because using tobacco can have negative effects on their developing child. Smoking during pregnancy can:

  • Make miscarriage more likely
  • Result in a low birth weight for the baby
  • Increase the likelihood of a preterm birth or long-term health problems for the baby

...if you smoke around other people

Second-hand smoke can cause a number of health issues for the people around you. It is especially harmful to children and babies, and pregnant women.

  • People exposed to second-hand smoke have many of the same health issues that smokers have. This includes higher rates of lung cancer, stroke, heart attack and breathing problems.
  • If you smoke around a baby or children, second-hand smoke can increase their odds of developing breathing problems and infections.
  • If you smoke around pregnant women, second-hand smoke can increase the chances of a miscarriage, an early birth or health complications for the baby.