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Smoking and Tobacco

Exactly how?

11/16/2000

Question:

How exactly does smoking cause cancer or other illnesses.

Answer:

There are approximately 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of these chemicals are called carcinogens - or leading to cancer. They circulate in the blood and can cause cancer not only in the lung - but in the bladder and uterine cervical area. Another illness associated with smoking is heart disease. More people in the United States die from heart disease than from any other cause. Smoking can lead to more plaque in the blood vessels which is called atherosclerosis. Also, smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict or get smaller and this can cause problems. Lung disease - such as emphysema - is also caused by smoking. Over time, the chemicals in cigarette smoke destroy the alveoli in the lungs making it very difficult to breathe. These are just a few of the examples of the effects of smoking on the body.

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Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor Emeritus
College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University