Smoking and its effects

Smoking and its effects

It is not a breaking news if you were told that smoking is bad for you! The long term effects of smoking can be severe and could lead to a wide range of health problems. However, in spite of the various warnings on the health effects of smoking most smokers out there tend to ignore these warnings, while blatantly disregarding its many consequences.

To bring things into perspective, here is some data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which shows that smoking is prevalent in the Australian population, with nearly half (49%) being current or former smokers.

According to the reports, 12% people in the age group 14 and over smoke daily, while 89% individuals take to smoking in their teens. Moreover, with an estimated 37,300 treatment episodes provided by specialist alcohol and other drug agencies in 2014–15, most of the cases involved nicotine as a drug of concern.

Smoking and General Health – What Does Smoking Do To You?

The side effects of smoking are many. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for many illnesses such as lung and cardiovascular diseases, poor pregnancy outcomes, and oral diseases including oral cancers and periodontitis. The role of smoking in the pathogenesis of these diseases is believed to be associated with a deficient host immune function, causing an increased risk of disease and poor wound healing. Smoking also impairs the revascularization of bone and soft tissues, further impairing healing.

Long Term and Short Term Effects of Smoking

1. Oral Cancer : Tobacco contains numerous chemicals which increase the risk of oral cancer in individuals. It is by far one of the most harmful effects of tobacco and many studies reveal that you are 4.4 times more likely to be affected by Oral cancer if you are a smoker.

2. Periodontal Disease : You are up to six times more likely to have a periodontal disease if you are a smoker. There is also evidence that smokers experience greater tooth loss than non-smokers and as such, this is yet another ill-effect that smoking causes.

3. Dental Implant Failure : Smoking also increases the risk of dental implant failure. Following a dental implant if you still continue smoking then the chances of it failing are 3 times more likely than those in non-smokers. Additionally, you run a greater risk of contracting various infections.

4. Healing and Response to Surgery : Tobacco smokers have a significantly greater incidence of complications after an extraction, for example, Alveolar Osteitis – inflammation of the alveolar bone. Another side effect of smoking is delayed or slow healing post surgery due to the weak immune system.

5. Other Lesions : Smoking causes other illness too such as; Leukoplakia – a condition where white patches develop on your tongue or inside the cheek, Oral Mucosal Lesions and Oral Keratosis. All these diseases increase the risk of oral cancer.

6. Bad Breath : One of the immediate effects of smoking is bad breath. While the causes of bad breath are many, smoking is one of the biggest reasons as the residue of nicotine from cigarettes lingers in the mouth for hours, thus causing not only bad breath but also other dental problems. Smokers breath can also cause a severe social and personal embarrassment which could lead to seclusion.

7. Other Dental Problems :Tooth staining, discolouration of teeth, tooth loss, gum diseases are some of the other long term effects of smoking that can affect your health as well as social life.


If you are serious about quitting smoking then talk to your GP or Dentist today. On average, at least five or six attempts to quit are made by a smoker before being successful, and all attempts need to be perceived as a learning experience for all involved in the process.

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