Smoking and Your Health

How serious a health problem is smoking?

According to the National Institutes of Health:

  • Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the U.S.
  • Smoking accounts for one out of every five deaths in the U.S.

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What health problems are related to smoking?

According to the World Health Organization, smokers have an increased risk of developing:

  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Mouth cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Pancreas cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Cervical cancer
  • Stroke
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Kidney cancer
  • Early menopause

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Can smoking affect my kidneys?

Yes, for the following reasons:

  • Smoking can interfere with medicines used to treat high blood pressure. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease.
  • Smoking slows the blood flow to vital organs like the kidneys and can worsen already existing kidney disease.

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Is smoking a problem for people with high blood pressure?

Yes. People with high blood pressure should not smoke because:

  • Smoking interferes with some of the medicines used to treat high blood pressure.
  • Smoking increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks in people with high blood pressure.

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Is smoking a problem for people with diabetes?

Yes. People with diabetes should not smoke because:

  • Smoking slows blood flow to vital organs and can worsen heart, blood vessel and kidney problems.
  • Smoking slows blood flow to your feet, making sores and infections harder to heal.

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I don't smoke, but my family members do. Can this affect me?

Yes. Studies show that non-smokers who live with smokers have an increased risk of developing the health problems listed above.

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How can I quit smoking?

  • Quitting smoking can be difficult.
  • Many programs are available to help smokers quit. Contact organizations like the American Cancer Society for information.
  • Your doctor can also offer suggestions to help you quit.

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For More Information:

  • Speak to your doctor
  • Call the National Kidney Foundation's toll-free number 1-800-622-9010.
  • Contact other organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.

If you would like more information, please contact us.

©2014 National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.