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Cigarette Smoke

Other Health Problems

For the 40 years prior to 1987, breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. In 1987, lung cancer took the lead. As well as increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, women smokers are at increased risk of osteoporosis (a disease in which bones become brittle and vulnerable to breakage), cervical cancer, and decreased fertility. Pregnant women have increased risk for spontaneous abortion, premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall (a life-threatening complication for mother and fetus), placenta previa (in which the placenta implants much lower in the uterus than normal, which may lead to hemorrhage), bleeding during pregnancy, and premature rupture of the placental membranes (which can lead to infection). Infants born to women who smoke during pregnancy are at increased risk for low birth weight (18,600 cases annually), and other developmental problems. In men, smoking lowers testosterone levels, and appears to increase male infertility.

Numerous other health problems are caused by smoking such as poor circulation in the extremities due to constricted blood vessels. This not only leads to constantly cold hands and feet, it often requires amputation of the lower extremities. Smoking also deadens the taste buds and the receptors in the nasal epithelium, interfering with the senses of taste and smell, and may also contribute to periodontal disease.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Chimaeras to ClusterCigarette Smoke - Environmental Tobacco Smoke, The Health Consequences Of Tobacco Use, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Lung Disease - Components of cigarette smoke