Special Report

This Is Exactly What Happens to Your Body Once You Start Smoking

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11. Acid reflux

Research has shown that cigarette smoking makes gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) much worse by directly provoking acid reflux and also by a long-term decrease of lower esophageal sphincter pressure. Nicotine relaxes the muscle in the lower esophagus that keeps acid in the stomach, causing it to leak. A separate study found that patients who quit smoking see a significant improvement in reflux symptoms.

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12. Cellulite appears

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The toxins in cigarette smoke weaken the body’s ability to form collagen, a key protein needed to keep the skin strong and healthy. When that connective tissue is compromised, it may allow for easier protrusion of fat into the dermis.

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13. DNA cells change

Smoking a pack a day for a year causes at least 150 mutations in lung cells, about 100 in the voice box, 23 in the oral cavity, 18 in the bladder, and six in the liver, research has found. A gene mutation is a permanent change in DNA. Such acquired mutations are the most common cause of cancer.

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14. Inner ear doesn’t get enough oxygen

The inner ear doesn’t get enough oxygen because it has been replaced by carbon monoxide. A recent study of more than 50,000 participants suggests that smoking is linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. A dose–response relationship was established, which means the more people smoke, the higher their risk of hearing loss.

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15. Skin begins to wrinkle

Smoking contributes to the degradation of collagen and elastic fibers in the skin, suggesting an imbalance between biosynthesis and the destruction of dermal connective tissue, according to research, leading to accelerated aging of the skin. Exposure to toxic smoke,combined with the repeated facial expressions a person makes while smoking, can contribute to wrinkles.

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