5 Severe Effects of Smoking on the Brain

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

There is an overflow of information about the adverse effects of smoking to the lungs but little is known on how it affects the brain. Sadly, the brain, which controls the entire human body, is exposed to so many health hazards the moment a person lights up one cigarette. By quitting smoking today, smokers can prevent their brain from getting drained, literally.


Effects of Smoking on the Brain:

 1.  Smoking triggers neuroinflammation

In one study, researchers found that smokers are more likely to suffer from neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain). The culprit is not nicotine, rather NNK – a chemical also found in tobacco that is a known type of procarinogen. This compound stimulates the production of the inflammatory signaling proteins as well as the microglial cells, which in turn attack the healthy brain cells. Inflammation in the brain is a common cause of tumor, mental disorder, depression and other cognitive disabilities.

 2.  It increases the risk of stroke

When the blood couldn’t properly circulate in the brain because of either a blood clot or ruptured blood vessels, a person suffers from stroke. This condition is the third major cause of death in the US. In the 2004 report of Surgeon General, it was revealed that smoking is the most common cause of stroke.

 3.  It stimulates addiction

The culprit behind tobacco addiction is no other than nicotine. This substance has a similar shape and structure to that of acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter which is essential in regulating mood and sense of pleasure. Nicotine receptors attach themselves to acetylcholine neurotransmitters, stimulating the release of dopamine – the “feel good” chemicals in the brain.

 4.  Oxidative stress

Smoking prevents the flow of oxygen in the body and in the brain. This is why a person’s heartbeat and pulse rate increase as he or she smokes (the heart has to work double time to carry oxygen all over the body). Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the chemical molecules containing oxygen and the body’s ability to repair the resulting damage. Studies show that smoking causes oxidative stress because of its harmful effects on the normal blood flow.


 5.  It poses long-term effects on mental functions


Children born of women who smoked during their pregnancy are at risk of suffering from serious mental problems including retardation, hyperactivity and slow learning ability. During prenatal stage, the baby’s brain is still undergoing major development that a small amount of toxin may prevent it from completely developing. These problems may continue even during adulthood.

Saving the Brain’s Health

Smoking has always been a threat to the lives of millions of people around the world. This dangerous habit has always been linked to different kinds of disease and more studies are coming out to establish the fact that SMOKING KILLS.

The wonderful thing about the human body is its ability to self-heal. Even if the brain has been severely damaged, there is still a possibility of it recovering. By quitting smoking now, people can enjoy better mental health and longer life.


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