A to Z Health Guide

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 is responsible for one out of every five deaths in the U.S.

What health problems are related to smoking?

According to the World Health Organization, smokers have a higher risk for:

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

Can smoking affect my kidneys?

Yes, for the following reasons:

  • Smoking can affect 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 important organs like the kidneys and can make kidney disease worse.

Is smoking a problem for people with high blood pressure?

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

  • Smoking can affect 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.

Is smoking a problem for people with diabetes?

Yes. People with diabetes should not smoke because:

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

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.

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.

For More Information:

  • Speak to your doctor
  • Call NKF Cares toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273)
  • Contact other organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.

The information shared on our websites is information developed solely from internal experts on the subject matter, including medical advisory boards, who have developed guidelines for our patient content. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. No one associated with the National Kidney Foundation will answer medical questions via e-mail. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.