Smoking and its effect on your health

It has been highlighted by medical professionals that most smokers have heard it is harmful to their bodies, but they continue to smoke. It’s important for clients to know exactly the impacts of the choices they are making to their bodies so they can make an informed decision about their health and seek the correct help.

Every year approximately 6 million people world-wide die prematurely from preventable smoking related diseases, mainly cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease and respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This might be a shocking number to some as the prevalence of smoking has declined over the years.  Smokers are four times as likely than non-smokers to suffer from cardiac related deaths and is the cause of around 20% of all cancer deaths and 80% of all lung cancers. Smoking is a preventable lifestyle choice that leads to premature deaths and illnesses worldwide.

What are cigarettes actually made up of?

You might be surprised to know that cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemicals! A large amount of these chemicals has been identified as cancer causing, a few examples of these toxins include:

  • Nicotine – the addictive agent in tobacco smoke.
  • Formaldehyde – used in preservation of laboratory specimens.
  • Ammonia – used in toilet cleaner.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide – used in rat poison.
  • Acetone – used in nail polish remover.
  • Carbon monoxide – found in car exhaust.
  • Tar – particulate matter in cigarette smoke.
  • Toluene – found in paint thinners.
  • Phenol – used in fertilisers.

Some common health impacts:

  • Smoking reduces fertility in both men and women.
  • Declines in lung function and airway inflammation, which is why many smokers get out of breath quickly.
  • Aggravation of asthma and becoming resistant to inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Increased risk of miscarriage and underdevelopment of foetus.
  • Increased risk of bacterial and viral infections in the respiratory tracts.
  • Increased risk of cancers
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Increased risk of strokes
  • Increased risk of blindness
  • Increased risk of deafness
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of peripheral vascular disease
  • Increased risk of back pain.

What happens when you stop smoking?

When you take the step to stop smoking it can lead to different reductions in risks of smoking related diseases. 12 months post discontinuing smoking it is shown that the excess risk of having a heart attack due to smoking reduces by 50%! Giving up smoking recovers approximately 2-3 months of healthy life expectancy for every year smoking is stopped, around 4-6 hours every day. It is also shown to reduce breathing difficulties and return your lungs to a normal age-related decline, this will help with completing activities of daily life and being able to efficiently transport oxygen around the body.

For help:

Visit Absolute Balance consultants to discuss your health and fitness or call Quitline on 131 848

Dominique Mitchell

(B.Sc. Exercise, Sports, & Rehab Science; Grad Dip. Exercise Rehabilitation)



Godtfredsen, N. and Prescott, E. (2011). Benefits of smoking cessation with focus on cardiovascular and respiratory comorbidities. The Clinical Respiratory Journal, 5(4), pp.187-194.

West, R. (2017). Tobacco smoking: Health impact, prevalence, correlates and interventions. Psychology & Health, 32(8), pp.1018-1036. (2019). quitnow – Cigarettes and poison. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].