Tower Hamlets

The Harmful Effects of Years of Smoking

The Harmful Effects of Years of Smoking

Smoking cigarettes over many years can cause serious health problems that only get worse over time. The toxins in cigarette smoke do tremendous damage to the body that builds up as the years go by. Here are some of the main harmful effects of smoking for many years:

Lung Cancer

Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death. The risk increases with the number of years smoked. After 25 years of smoking, the risk of lung cancer is 25 times higher compared to a non-smoker. Even low levels of smoking over time significantly raise lung cancer risk. The longer you smoke, the higher the risk as the damage accumulates.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which make it difficult to breathe. Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, which gets progressively worse over time. After 20 years of smoking, the risk of COPD is markedly elevated. Smoking causes chronic inflammation in the lungs which destroys alveoli and lung tissue. As COPD advances, it leads to wheezing, fatigue, frequent lung infections and other debilitating symptoms.

Heart Disease

Long-term smoking puts you at high risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke by damaging blood vessels and arteries. These cardiovascular risks continue to increase the more years you smoke. Smoking contributes to atherosclerosis by raising blood pressure, increasing blood clotting, and lowering good HDL cholesterol. This accelerates plaque buildup in arteries, which can cause heart attack or stroke.

Other Cancers

Smoking raises the risk of many other cancers in addition to lung cancer, such as mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, colon and stomach cancer. The cancer risk for all of these also goes up the longer you smoke. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known carcinogens that can lead to cancer formation throughout the body.

Reduced Lung Function

Smoking chronically inflames the lungs and damages lung tissue through oxidative stress. This leads to reduced lung capacity and shortness of breath. Lung function continues to deteriorate the more you smoke over time. Smoking hampers cilia, tiny hair-like structures in the lungs that sweep out toxins. This causes toxin buildup that furthers lung damage.

Increased Infections

The toxins in cigarette smoke impair immune system function over time. This makes smokers more prone to bacterial and viral lung infections like pneumonia, flu, bronchitis and tuberculosis. Long-time smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease and recurrent skin infections.

Early Aging

The many toxins in cigarette smoke accelerate the aging process. Smokers develop wrinkles, sagging skin and other signs of premature aging earlier than non-smokers. Years of smoking increases oxidative stress throughout the body which damages DNA and ages cells faster.

Smoking for many years has a cumulative damaging effect on health. Quitting can reduce these risks, but the longer you smoke, the more harm it does. Giving up cigarettes is the best thing you can do for your health, no matter how long you’ve smoked. The benefits start immediately and continue to increase over time. It’s never too late to quit, as your body starts healing soon after stopping smoking.

Treatment Programme

We offer a variety of treatment programmes to help you quit the habit for good and become smoke-free.