How does smoking affect your body?

Smoking has a whole host of damaging effects on your body. We’ve all heard how damaging smoking is for the lungs. Stop smoking ads feature gruesome pics of the smokers discolored lungs. But smoking damages the body in lots of ways. Most damages can’t be seen as it happens on the inside of the body. But there are plenty of telltale signs of damage on the outside too. And that includes the largest organ in the human body - the skin.

Smoking damage on the inside

We’ve all heard about the ways smoking can damage our health and our body. Just because we can’t see the damage, doesn't mean it's not happening. 

Smoking is responsible for nearly one in every five deaths in the US. This makes smoking one of the biggest preventable causes of premature death.

How does smoking damage you? 

It increases the risk of all these conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke 
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Fertility problems
  • Lung cancer
  • Other types of cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases

Often, the effects of smoking inside the body remain hidden until something is seriously wrong. Smoking cessation is a guaranteed way to reduce the risk of these health conditions.  

Smoking damage on the outside

The effects of smoking are more obvious on the outside of the body. It can interfere with our looks making it obvious we haven’t kicked the nicotine habit just yet.


‘Smokers lips’ are a sure sign of smoking damage. These are characteristic lines around the mouth from puffing on cigarettes. These lip lines are darker and more pronounced on smokers. Smokers also have more pronounced ‘crows feet’. Deep lines around the eyes are telltale signs of smoking.


Bad breath and the odour of smoke is another sign of a smoker. The mouthwash and fancy fragrances can’t disguise it forever. 

Teeth and gums

Smokers' teeth are often discoloured from the tar. They are also more likely to suffer from gum disease. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to lose teeth compared to non-smokers.


This tar also stains fingernails and skin on the hands. Yellow fingers is a tell-tale sign of a smoker. These fade after quitting smoking. 


Hair tends to get thinner as we age. But smoking tobacco actually speeds up this process. Smoking has also been linked to baldness. 


Smoking not only makes skin around the eyes loose and baggy, it can also contribute to developing cataracts. These are cloudy areas on the surface of the eye that interfere with vision.

Second-hand smoke damage

It’s not just smokers who are at risk of the damaging effects of smoking. Second-hand smoke causes damage too. 

Inhaling the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes contributes to lung and heart damage in non-smokers. 

At least 70 of these chemicals have been identified as carcinogenic. This means the benefits of smoking cessation apply to people around you as well as yourself.

Does smoking age you?

Plastering on cosmetic products only does so much to disguise the damage smoking causes. Smoking can age people by up to 10 years. This means smokers suffer from deeper wrinkles, age spots on the skin and lines that form around the lips and eyes. Even supermodels like Kate Moss haven’t escaped the ageing effects of smoking. 

How does smoking affect your skin?

Age spots and smoking

Smoking speeds up the appearance of age spots. These are patches of darker skin that appear on the face and hands. Although these can be caused by exposure to the sun, smoking is another leading cause. 

Smoking stains the skin

Smoking restricts the blood flow to the skin. This means smokers tend to have pale, yellower or even grey tones to their skin. The tar, nicotine and other harmful chemicals cause the skin to become stained. This is most noticeable on the hands and nails. 

Vasculitis risk increases from smoking

Vasculitis is a condition caused when the immune system attacks the blood vessels. Buerger’s disease is a form of vasculitis that is associated with heavy smokers. This condition restricts the flow of blood to the hands and feet. 

Spider veins and smoking

Chemicals in tobacco thicken the blood and decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood. This reduces blood flow around the body and increases the risk of spider veins as well as varicose veins. As a smoker's skin is less elastic and thinner than non-smokers, these spider veins are more visible.

Smoking and skin elasticity

The toxins in tobacco smoke cause loose, baggy skin under the eyes to appear. Smoking increases skin sagging and it becomes more wrinkly. Deeper wrinkles occur due to the lack of blood flow to the skin and reduced collagen and elastin production. This makes smoking a leading cause of sagging boobs and ‘bingo wings’.  

Smoking and skin cancer

Smokers are twice as likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer. This is the second most common type of skin cancer. This often forms on the lips of smokers and is caused by the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke.

Psoriasis and other skin conditions

Research has revealed a link between smoking and psoriasis. This is a chronic condition that affects the skin. It causes areas of dry, scaly skin to appear. 

How quitting smoking improves your skin

After quitting smoking, your body starts to heal. The damage to your skin becomes much less obvious. This is because the skin starts to receive more oxygen. The increased blood flow supports your skin’s recovery. Skin tone improves and your complexion becomes brighter. Staining to the fingers, nails and teeth reduces as it is no longer exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. 

How to stop smoking damage

The best way to stop smoking damage is to quit tobacco. With so many alternatives to smoking out there, you can quit! At ripple+ HQ, we are confident our ripple+ aromatherapy diffusers can help you quit nicotine. Instead of skin damaging smoke, our puffs contain beneficial essential oils. Completely derived from plants, these powerful puffs don’t damage your skin like cigarettes do. 

Quitting is tough, we know from experience. To find out more about how quitting improves your health, check out our timeline of quitting smoking. Hopefully it inspires you to pick up your ripple+ puff and know you are doing your health a favour.