Smoking Gets in Your Blood: September 20, 2013

Despite what they say about smoke getting in your eyes, the real danger is when it gets in your body. And not just the lungs. Smoke is also toxic when it gets into your bloodstream.

“In cigarettes you’re actually burning and inhaling smoke, particlized air that’s burnt with multiple chemicals,” says Dr. Sunil Pammi, pulmonologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

There are more than 4-thousands chemical compounds in a single cigarette. While tar and nicotine has decreased, other carcinogens have increased and their impact on your body can be devastating.

“When they get absorbed into the bloodstream they cause things like oxidants. And we’ve all heard of anti-oxidants, well these are oxidants. And what they do is cause freedom radical formation and this is what causes all the changes of the different organs in the body. These oxidants break the DNA down and actually cause cancers,” says Dr. Pammi.

Multiple cancers are linked to cigarettes, lung being the most lethal. It is also connected to breast cancer and cancers of the urinary tract. Being a smoker ups your risk of bladder cancer between 4 and 7 times.

“Because the blood is filtered by the kidney of these chemicals and the byproduct of smoking will be urinated and left in the bladder. So it’s a constant bathing of chemicals that will make changes in the urinary tract,” says Dr. Alejandro Miranda- Sousa, urologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Inhaled smoke is also a chief contributor to cardiovascular disease, stroke and COPD. These points may be worth absorbing before you light up.