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How tobacco affects your body

Brain

  • Nicotine, the drug that makes tobacco addictive, goes to your brain very quickly.
  • Nicotine makes you feel good when you are smoking, but it can make you anxious, nervous, moody, and depressed after you smoke.
  • Using tobacco can cause headaches and dizziness.

Mouth

  • Tobacco stains your teeth and gives you bad breath.
  • Tobacco ruins some of your taste buds, so you won't be able to taste your favorite foods as well.
  • Tobacco causes bleeding gums (gum disease) and cancers of the mouth and throat.

Heart

  • Smoking increases your heart rate and blood pressure and causes heart disease and heart attacks.
  • If you try to do activities like exercise or play sports, your heart has to work harder to keep up.

Lungs

  • Smokers have trouble breathing because smoking damages the lungs.
  • If you have asthma, you can have more frequent and more serious attacks.
  • Smoking causes a lot of coughing with phlegm (mucous).
  • Tobacco can cause emphysema (lung disease) and lung cancer.

Skin

  • Smoking causes dry, yellow skin and wrinkles.
  • The smell sticks to your skin.

Muscles

  • Less blood and oxygen flows to your muscles, which causes them to hurt more when you exercise or play sports.

 

Content last reviewed July 24, 2013
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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