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Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 different chemical compounds. The most known of them - nicotine - is addictive. The organism is gradually getting used to nicotine. Even 5 mg of nicotine causes symptoms of acute poisoning in nonsmokers, while lethal dose is 40-60 mg of nicotine. 1.5 - 2.5 mg of nicotine is reabsorbed by one smoked cigarette, which is broken down relatively quickly, so smoker can consume larger quantities of nicotine during a day without any signs of poisoning. Nicotine directly stimulates nerve impulses in low doses, while in high doses it inhibits them.

Carbon Monoxide

Also, one of the harmful components of tobacco smoke is carbon monoxide which binds the oxygen 200 times faster than the hemoglobin. In smokers, 10-15% of hemoglobin may be attached to CO, which decreases oxygen supply of the organism and is particularly harmful for people with heart disease, particularly angina pectoris. Carbon monoxide increases blood vessels permeability for cholesterol, accelerating the creation of atheroma and thus contributes to the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Adrenal gland releases adrenalin and noradrenalin under the influence of nicotine action, which leads to increased heart rate, squeezing the small blood vessels and increased blood pressure. In addition to these effects, inhaled constituents of cigarette smoke pass into the bloodstream and causes damage to the endothelial cells of blood vessels. It is believed that these smoke ingredients are activators of atheroma shooting and that they are involved in thrombogenesis.

Smoking greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attacks and stroke, and diseases of the peripheral circulation. Smoking doubles the risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, and 30-40% of all deaths from coronary heart disease are associated with smoking.


It has been proven that fifty constituents of cigarette smoke, mainly from tar, have carcinogenic effects. It is believed that smoking is a major risk factor for bronchial and lung cancer, larynx, pharynx, oral cavity, esophagus, kidney, bladder, pancreas, and cervical cancer. Also, some forms of leukemia are more common in people who smoke.

Respiratory Tract

Tobacco smoke contains irritants that lead to excessive production of mucus, ciliary epithelium function disorder, bronchioles narrowing, and the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking is also a predisposing factor for respiratory infections and exacerbations of asthma.

Smoking and Women’s Health

In pregnant women who smoke, carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen supply for child, carrying the risks for its development. Therefore, their children often have low birth weight, and sudden infant death is more common in mothers who smoke.

Smoking has a significant influence on reproductive health. It increases the risk of infertility. Some studies have shown that women who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day are three times in higher risk of primary tubal infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Women who smoke during pregnancy have a higher risk of premature birth and miscarriage.

Also, women who smoke have more menstrual problems (dysmenorrhea, irregular menstruation, etc.) and 2-3 years earlier appearance of menopause, and thus the earlier termination of the protective effect of estrogen in terms of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.

Also, smoking is a risk factor for ulcer disease.

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