How smoking affects you

While almost everyone knows that smoking poses serious risks to one’s health, not everyone knows that smoking affects women and men differently. Also, there are age related differences, too: a teenager who smokes will have a different set of concerns than an adult will. Pregnant women will also be affected differently, as will babies and children of parents who smoke.

Click on a link below to learn about some of the different ways smoking affects people.
Top 5 things to know if you’re a woman who smokes

  1. Smoking may decrease your chance of getting pregnant.
  2. Smoking may increase menstrual problems.
  3. Smoking while on a birth control pill can affect your heart and blood vessels.
  4. Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density than women who never smoked.
  5. Research shows that the smell of a smoker can be a real “turn off” to both sexes.

Top 5 things to know if you’re a man who smokes

  1. Men who smoke may have less healthy sperm & weaker erections. Smoking can also lead to sexual impotence.
  2. Smoking contributes to the build-up of fatty deposits in arteries & veins increasing heart disease.
  3. Smoking decreases energy and stamina.
  4. The damage caused by smoking builds up over time.
  5. Research shows that the smell of a smoker can be a real “turn off” to both sexes.

Top 5 things to know if you want to have children and you smoke

  1. Smoking may decrease your chances of getting pregnant.
  2. Smoking or second-hand smoke during pregnancy may lead to having a miscarriage or premature birth and the mother may have a harder labour & delivery.
  3. A baby born to a woman and/or a man who smokes is more likely to:
    • Have a lower birth weight.
    • Be cranky, restless & spit up more often from the chemicals they breathe in or get from breast milk.
    • Get pneumonia or have other serious lung problems.
    • May be more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (crib death).
  4. Nicotine can cause constrictions in the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus, thereby decreasing the amount of oxygen available to the fetus.
  5. A mother who smokes or is exposed to second-hand smoke after the baby is born may have less breast milk. She will also pass on the nicotine & other chemicals present in cigarette smoke to the baby through her breast milk.

Top 5 things to know if you’re expecting a baby and you smoke

  1. For a pregnant woman, smoking during pregnancy may lead to more problems while you are pregnant, like having:
      • A miscarriage
      • A premature baby
      • A harder labor & delivery
  2. A mother who smokes after the baby is born may have less breast milk and she will pass on nicotine and other chemicals to the baby through her breast milk.
  3. Fathers-to-be will pass second-hand smoke to their partner. If a woman breathes second-hand smoke while she’s pregnant, she is also more likely to suffer from the above problems.
  4. After the baby is born, a woman who lives with a smoker may have less breast milk and will pass on the nicotine & chemicals through her breast milk.
  5. Nicotine can cause constrictions in the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus, thereby decreasing the amount of oxygen available to the fetus. It may also reduce the amount of blood in the fetal cardiovascular system.

Top 5 things to know if you’re a teen who smokes

  1. Most smokers begin smoking before the age of 19. If young people can stay smoke-free until age 19, they are likely to stay smoke-free for the rest of their lives.
  2. The lungs in teens who smoke may not develop fully, which puts them at higher risk for lung disease.
  3. Teens who smoke have hearts that beat faster than nonsmokers.
  4. Smoking can damage brain development in teens (the prefrontal cortex).
  5. Smoking makes your clothes smell, gives you bad breath and stains your teeth yellow.

Top 5 ways smoking affects babies.

A baby born to a woman and/or a man who smokes is more likely to:

  1. Have a lower birth weight.
  2. Be cranky, restless & spit up more often from the chemicals they breathe in or get from breast milk.
  3. Get pneumonia or have other serious lung problems.
  4. May be more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (S.I.D.S or crib death).
  5. Have a slightly higher risk of heart defects, cleft lip or palate, and possibly other birth defects compared to babies born to non-smokers.

For more information about how smoking may be affecting you, or your loved ones, call the Smokers’ Helpline: 1-800-363-5864

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