Do you want to know more about the effects of smoking
on your body? Click a body part for more information

 

Smoking affects every organ in the body and causes many serious diseases. When you smoke, you inhale more than 4,000 toxic chemicals. Your body is always trying to heal from the damage done by these chemicals.


Click on the body part to learn more.

Eyes

Smoking can lead to blindness.

Smoking damage the back of the eye, causing a condition known as "macular degeneration" which can lead to blindness.

Open your eyes, it's time to quit!

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Babies are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome if their mother smokes during pregnancy or if the baby is exposed to second-hand smoke during their first year of life.

The best way to protect your child from sudden infant death syndrome is to quit smoking and make your home smoke-free.

Child's Ears

A child's ears are very sensitive to cigarette smoke.

The smoke can damage the tissue inside the throat, which is connected to the middle part of the ear. This can lead to infection and hearing loss.

Protect your baby's delicate ears and do not smoke around them!

Even better - quit today.

Mouth

Smokeless tobacco (chew and snuff) and cigarettes are major causes of many types of mouth cancers.

Chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking! People who chew tobacco are up to fifty times more likely to get cheek and gum cancer than people who don't chew.

Chewing tobacco can also lead to loosing teeth and other gum diseases.

If you quit smoking, your chances of getting mouth or throat cancer are cut in half (as long as the cancer is not already present).

Child's Lungs

Kids are especially sensitive to second-hand smoke.

Why are kids more sensitive to second hand smoke than adults?
  • They breathe in more air and take in more of the toxins in smoke than adults do because of their size.
  • They have weaker immune systems
  • Their immune systems are less developed
  • They are less able to leave smoky places by themselves

Children of parents who smoke have higher rates of lung infections such as bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia during their first two weeks of life, compared to children of non-smokers.

 

Second-hand smoke has been linked to the very high rate of lower respiratory tract infections in children here in Nunavut.

Protect your child from secondhand smoke by quitting today. Make your home, car, and amauti smoke-free.

 

Heart

Smoking causes heart disease that can be deadly.

When you smoke, your heart beats faster and your blood pressure rises. High blood pressure can harm your blood vessels, causing a buildup of dangerous fat that increases your risk of heart disease.

Did you know when you quit smoking:
  • Within 48 hours, your chances of having a heart attack decreases
  • Within 1 year, your risk of developing heart disease or stroke is half that of a smoker.
  • Within 5 to 15 years, your risk of heart attack is the same as someone who never smoked at all.
Help your heart, quit today!

Breastfeeding

Nicotine can be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk.

Even if you continue smoking, breastfeeding is still the best choice for feeding your baby. This is because the nutrition and immune benefits of breast milk are more important for the baby than the risks caused by smoking.

A mother can reduce the risk to her baby by:
  • Quitting or reducing smoking
  • Smoking only outside
  • Not smoking near the baby, not smoking with a baby in the amauti
  • Smoking after (rather than before) breastfeeding

Skin

Ever notice how people who smoke for a long time look older?

Smoking tightens your blood vessels and does not allow enough oxygen to get to your organs, including your skin tissue. When your skin doesn't get the oxygen it needs, you get wrinkles. Every time you bring a cigarette to your mouth you are giving your face a bath in chemicals that damage the collagen and elastin in your skin - the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity.


 

The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more skin damage you are likely to have.

 

Age naturally and look your best - quit smoking today!

Diabetes

For those with diabetes, smoking is a real killer. It drastically raises the already high risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you have diabetes and smoke, you are three times more likely to die of heart attack or stroke than people with diabetes who do not smoke.


Stay healthier for longer. If you have diabetes and smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

Pregnancy

Women who smoke during pregnancy put their baby at risk.

Smoking during pregnancy can lead to many serious health effects for the unborn baby. Women who smoke are more likely to have miscarriages and stillbirths. Smoking during pregnancy can also cause the baby to be born too small (low birth weight) or with birth complications.

Other effects of smoking during pregnancy include:
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (crib death)
  • The baby being born with weaker lungs and immune system
  • The baby getting more ear infections
  • More likely to have health problems in adulthood such as type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure
Do you and your baby good - quit before or during your pregnancy.

Women's Health

The effects of smoking hold additional risks for women.

These include:
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke if you smoke and take the birth control pill (risk increases with age)
  • Infertility
  • Missed period
  • Painful period
  • Increased risk of cancer of the ovaries and cervix
  • Loss of bone density in older women and increased risk of hip fracture
  • Early menopause
Quitting stops additional damage from cigarette smoke and can even begin to reverse some of the problems listed above.

Bones

Over time, smoking decreases bone density, making your bones more fragile and easy to break.

Low bone density increases the risk of broken hips. Women are particularly prone to low bone density and smoking makes this risk even greater.



Keep your bones strong - quit today!

Brain

You are twice as likely to have a stroke if you smoke.

Chemicals from smoke make your blood cells and blood vessel walls sticky, allowing dangerous fat to build up along the sides. This slowly blocks your blood vessels. When your blood vessels are blocked, your brain cannot get the oxygen it needs, causing a stroke.



In Canada, more than 2,000 people die every year from strokes caused by smoking. Circulatory diseases, including heart disease and strokes, are now the second highest leading cause of death in Nunavut.

 

Good news:

After just two years of going smoke-free, your risk of stroke drops to that of a non-smoker.

Nose

Smoking can cause cancer in your nose.

Did you know?

If you have problems with your sinuses, like a really bad runny nose, smoking can make these things worse.

Good news:


Once you quit smoking, your sense of smell gets stronger.

Lungs

90% of lung cancer is caused by tobacco.

There are over 50 chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer. When you breathe in cigarette smoke, these chemicals damage your lungs. Smoking can cause many lung problems, like chronic cough, chest infections, lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Did you know?
  • Lung cancer is almost always a result of being exposed to tobacco smoke and is preventable.
  • Inuit men and women in Canada have one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the world.
  • Bringing down lung cancer would lead to a big leap in life expectancy here in Nunavut
It's never too late - within 10 years of going smoke-free, your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.

Blood

Smoking brings poisonous chemicals into your blood stream.

There are over 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke that can be absorbed into your blood when you smoke. One of these chemicals is carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that stops your body from getting the oxygen it needs.


Smoking also increases blood pressure making it difficult for your heart to pump blood to your hands and feet.

Good News:

After 8 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level drops in your body and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal. Your body wants to heal from smoking!

Stomach and Gut

Smoking can bring on cancer of the stomach, bowel, and other organs needed to digest food.

After quitting, your risk of these kinds of cancers goes down and continues to decrease the longer you stay smoke-free.

Muscles

When you smoke, your muscles get tired more quickly.

Cigarette smoke contains something called carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that stops your body from getting the oxygen it needs. This makes you feel more tired and sore when you are being active.


Did you Know?
But, just 24 hours after you quit smoking, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop down to almost normal, giving you more energy.

Fingers

The tar in cigarettes can turn fingernails and hands yellowish-brown.

Smoking also makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the hands.

Remember, every cigarette you don't smoke helps your health!

Legs

Smoking makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the feet.

For some, this may cause severe pain, especially when exercising.


In severe cases, the lack of circulation to the legs can also lead to gangrene. Gangrene occurs when body tissue dies as a result of a lack of blood supply.

If you already have problems with poor circulation to your feet, quitting can slow down the effects so you have less pain and avoid big problems like gangrene.

Penis

Men who smoke are more likely to develop problems with getting or keeping an erection.

Just like smoking makes it hard for the heart to pump blood to the hands and feet, it can also be hard for the heart to pump blood to the penis, which men need to get an erection.


Quit early.

The earlier a man quits, the greater his chances are at preventing this problem or recovering from it.