Smoking-Related Health Problems

Smoking-Related Health Problems

Here’s how to spot symptoms of smoking-related health problems.

After you quit smoking, you significantly cut your chances of developing smoking-related health problems. Over time your risk will be less and less than when you were a smoker – potentially adding years to your life. However, once you quit, you should pay extra attention to your health. See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any concerning changes to your body, which could have been caused by smoking’s negative effects.

To help you know what changes to look out for, we’ve included below some smoking-related health problems and their common symptoms.


Smokers are at higher risk of many different kinds of cancers than non-smokers. Each cancer has different symptoms, but overall you should look out for:

  • A thickening or lump in any part of the body
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Sores or cuts that don’t heal
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Weakness or lethargy

Lung Cancer

Although there are many cancers that smokers are at risk of, lung cancer should be of special concern. Be aware of any changes such as:

  • Persistent coughs and coughs with blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

Gum Disease

Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease, which can lead to loss of teeth, gums, tissue, and bone. Look out for these signs:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Loose or sensitive teeth

Cardiovascular Disease

Smokers have a higher risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Below are signs for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Heart disease:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs or arms
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back
  • Irregular or faster heart beats
  • Nausea/sweating

Heart attack:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Feeling weak, lightheaded, or faint
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest, arms, or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath


  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause


Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty or hungry
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet

In addition to looking for changes yourself, schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. Let your doctor know that you were a former smoker. This can help him/her look out for potential smoking-related health problems and offer any screenings and preventative care to keep you as healthy as possible.

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By | 2017-06-15T15:49:06+00:00 August 31st, 2015|Motivation, Stay Quit|