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.