Tobacco smoke exposure has immediate effects on the body that could lead to death, according to the latest surgeon general’s report on tobacco.
The report on how tobacco causes disease found that cellular damage and tissue inflammation from tobacco smoke are immediate, and that repeated exposure weakens the body’s ability to heal the damage.
“The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale, causing damage immediately,” Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said. “Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.”
The report also found that cigarettes manufactured today deliver nicotine faster than cigarettes made years ago, making them all the more addictive. The study in the journal Addiction, commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration, found menthol cigarettes were the most addictive kind of cigarette on the market. The agency is considering banning the cigarettes due to the health risks.
The negative health effects are not limited to smokers — the report warns brief exposure of secondhand smoke could cause cardiovascular disease and trigger cardiac events. Cigarette smoke could also make it hard for diabetics to control their blood sugar; it could also make it harder for women to get pregnant, and cause preterm delivery and low birth weight.