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Smoking and Tobacco

The effects of smoking on the body

01/07/2000

Question:

It is proven that smoking decreases the amount of oxygen received by cells througout the body, especially the heart. My question is, why does the human body not realize this oxygen deprivation and automatically increase pulse and respirations? Why does the body`s own defense mechanisms not kick in when smoking?

Answer:

An excellent question! In fact, the body does respond to smoking by increasing heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, cardiac output. However, these responses themselves can be dangerous to the blood vessels which are prone to developing damage and narrowing from components of smoke. These partially blocked vessels can`t respond to the demands of increased flow; and strokes or heart attacks may result.

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Response by:

Jerry   Friemoth, MD Jerry Friemoth, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati