In The Know Zone

Long Term Effects

Long-term Effects

What are the long-term health consequences of smoking or chewing tobacco?

  • Tobacco Kills
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Lung Disease
  • Reproductive Damage
  • Birth Defects
  • Other Damage

Tobacco Kills

Most people think of cancer when they think of tobacco use. Tobacco does cause a wide variety of devastating cancers. However, tobacco kills even more people through heart disease and stroke than it does through cancer! About 181,000 people die each year in the United States from smoking-related heart disease and stroke, and about 158,000 die from smoking-related cancer. The remainder of the smoking-related deaths, 123,000, are from lung diseases other than cancer.

Following is a list of the deadly diseases and other long-term effects of smoking and chewing tobacco.

Heart Disease

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure.)
  • Congestive heart failure -- Ineffective pumping of the heart leads to an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
  • Coronary heart disease – Narrowed arteries lead to heart attack and death.
  • Heart attacks and congestive heart failure.
  • Blocked blood vessels.
  • Strokes – Blocked bloodflow to the brain or bleeding in the brain. Stroke is a major killer.


  • Lung. (Primarily smoking-related)
  • Upper respiratory tract. (Primarily smoking-related)
  • Larynx. (Smoking or spit tobacco)
  • Mouth. (Smoking or spit tobacco)
  • Throat. (Smoking or spit tobacco)
  • Stomach. (Primarily spit tobacco-related)
  • Pancreas. (Smoking or spit tobacco)
  • Kidney. (Smoking or spit tobacco)
  • Bladder. (Smoking or spit tobacco)
  • Cervix. (Primarily smoking-related, since few women chew tobacco)

Lung Disease

  • Emphysema -- The very small airways (bronchioles) that join the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs lose elasticity. Patient loses ability to exhale fully, and chemical balance in the blood is disturbed. There is no cure for emphysema.
  • Chronic Bronchitis -- The airways of the lungs change shape and size and the mucous glands are enlarged, causing coughing and production of sputum.

Reproductive Damage

  • Abnormal sperm cells.
  • Impotence.
  • Difficulty maintaining pregnancy.
  • Menstrual disorders and early menopause

Birth Defects

Smoking during pregnancy can lead to:

  • Miscarriage or stillbirth.
  • Low birth weight –
  • Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy weigh on the average between 200 to 300 grams less than other babies.
  • Premature birth --
  • Both low birth weight and premature birth can lead to breathing and other health problems.
  • Learning and behavior problems later in childhood.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or "crib death" -- Seemingly healthy babies die without warning.
  • More upper respiratory problems, ear complications, or asthma when exposed to tobacco prior to birth.

Other Damage

  • Prematurely wrinkled skin.
  • Permanent gum and tooth loss.
  • Lost or weakened sense of taste.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Unwanted weight loss.

In The Know: Substance Abuse Pamphlet/ DVD Package
"In the Know: Tobacco, License to Kill" Pamphlet
In The Know: Substance Abuse DVD Package