Smoking & Second Hand Smoke, what it does to cause all that trouble

I want to Quit

smokingWhat smoking does and what to take

Smoking affects the body in very many ways, thus, the length of this article. But fear not, at the end is the vitamins that you need to take that will help combat the bad effects and yes, some information on what to take if you decide you want to quit.

Free Radicals

The majority of smoker’s ailments are the result of free radicals. Though free radicals are formed during everyday functions such as breathing and eating, environmental stress factors such as smoking accelerate their production. In fact, each puff on a cigarette generates millions of free radicals. To fight free radicals you need anti-oxidants.

For a better understanding of this process go to  Free Radicals and Antioxidants.

The liabilities of smoking also include the types of particles that are present in the cigarette and its smoke.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is the same odorless, colorless gas that comes out the tailpipe of your car or a faulty gas heater. In high enough concentrations it is deadly; in lower doses it causes shortness of breath and increased heart rate.

Normally red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body by attaching the oxygen to a molecule called hemoglobin. When carbon monoxide is present, it will attach itself to hemoglobin instead of oxygen. The red blood cells are then unable to perform their regular duties for a period of time. . Eventually the carbon monoxide falls off or the red blood cells are replaced; however, more carbon monoxide enters the body through continued smoking. This is one of the key reasons athletes almost never smoke, since smoking can inactivate over 10% of the body’s hemoglobin.

The body is able to eliminate most of the carbon monoxide fairly quickly when someone stops smoking. Most people who quit feel more energetic and less short of breath within a few days of quitting.


Although it is only one of many dangerous substances in cigarettes, nicotine is responsible for making cigarettes so addictive. Studies have shown nicotine to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

Tar is the dark substance that actually carries the nicotine to the lungs. Along with the nicotine, it also carries the long list of other chemicals: Benzene, Radon and Other Nasty Stuff. These are chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency has said you don’t want in your home since they cause cancer. You inhale them when you smoke.

One of the risks faced in smoking is heavy metal poisoning from the cadmium in cigarette smoke. Smoking creates an accumulation of cadmium in organs and the severe anemia associated with cadmium toxicity

Hemochromatosis (Iron Overload) Increased levels of iron which increases the activity of the free radicals. For iron overload patients, who outnumber anemia patients, this extra iron just multiplies the ill effects of all the other toxins.

Damage done by smoking cigarette and what you can do about it

Below you will find the many different deficiencies caused by cigarette smoking that hurt the body. You don’t have to take notes; we put the recommended vitamins at the bottom for your convenience.

Vitamin E: One damage that is done by smoking is that the numerous toxic substances from the cigarette smoke cause scars to form on the arterial walls. These scars take the place of normal cells in the body and they don’t replace their function. This replacement happens in the process called oxidation. Vitamin E can stop that damage from occurring as it is an antioxidant. (For an understanding of oxidation and the solution antioxidants see article
Free Radicals & Antioxidants).

Vitamin B: Smoking triggers the release of stress hormones in the body. This means an increased need for all the B vitamins, including folate (B9). The following B vitamins are specifically needed:

Vitamin B5: Cigarette smoking damages collagen, depletes vitamin C (necessary for collagen), causes wrinkles, blood vessel constriction and sallow skin. You need Pantothenic acid (B5).

Vitamin B12: It is found that smokers have low blood levels of cobalamin (Vitamin B12). Also, note large doses of Vitamin C destroy cobalamin, so taken Vitamin C and B12 supplements an hour or more apart, not at the same time.

Vitamin B6: Tobacco blocks your body’s use of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6). Pyridoxine turns the proteins you eat into proteins your body needs and you need it to convert carbohydrates from the form you store them in into the form you can use for energy. It is needed for hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes.

Vitamin C: Smokers have below-normal levels of Vitamin C – as much as 40 percent lower in pack-a-day smokers. Cigarettes rob your body of Vitamin C by breaking down and excreting it much faster than normal. Studies show that people exposed to second hand smoke also need extra Vitamin C. Toxic substances from the cigarettes destroy the Vitamin C.

Smoking uses up about 25 milligrams of vitamin C per cigarette. It has been noted that smokers are ill more often, directly related to low vitamin C levels. Each cigarette you smoke emits extremely high levels of gaseous pollutants. Smoking creates poisons that are deposited on oral cavities and tissues in your throat and lungs. The irritation they cause further lowers your body’s Vitamin C supplies.

As we said above cigarette smoking damages collagen as it depletes vitamin C (necessary for collagen).

One of the risks faced in smoking is heavy metal poisoning from the cadmium in cigarette smoke. The accumulation of cadmium in organs caused by smoking and the severe anemia associated with cadmium toxicity are prevented by dietary Vitamin C supplements. Cadmium is also in the air we breathe. If we live near any pollution, Vitamin C again is needed. Vitamin C protects against this and other oxidative damage caused by smoking as it is an antioxidant.

Note: don’t take beta carotene supplements if you smoke, Through three studies it was found that smokers taking beta carotene supplements had an increased risk of lung cancer. Instead take mixed carotenoids, not beta-carotene. The best way is to get Vitamin C is through organically grown fruits and vegetables, but if you supplement, check the ingredients.

Smokers, and those exposed to second-hand smoke should consume more high in beta-carotene (carrots, squash, yams, sweet potatoes and other yellow-orange vegetables) as well as foods rich in Vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers, and broccoli) and vitamin E. (wheat germ and nuts). Note: above we recommended not to take beta-carotene supplements. This is different from eating the vegetables that have this ingredient because the vegetable has all the co-factors necessary for the proper use of the vitamin.

Selenium: Selenium acts to prevent the accumulation in your body of toxic deposits of heavy metals like cadmium. Chemically, it creates a bond with the metal, thus rendering it less harmful and helping your body to eliminate it.

Magnesium: If you smoke, you may be a special candidate for magnesium deficiency. Smoking causes stress that in turn causes blood cholesterol levels to rise and magnesium levels to fall.

Since magnesium and calcium all work together to make your heart muscle contract in a regular rhythm, one of the first signs of a magnesium deficiency is an irregular heartbeat. As a result of calcium/magnesium imbalance, calcium deposits may form on the heart muscle. If this happens, the heart cannot contract properly. Magnesium is also important in breaking down fats you eat into fatty acids that can be useful in building body parts like nerve sheaths and cellular membranes. If those fats are not broken down properly, they begin to collect in deposits, which lodge on damaged arterial points. Thus a magnesium deficiency can increase you risks of contracting the two major degenerative heart diseases: arteriosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. Another point to remember in this regard is that magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of lecithin, which also helps break down those fats.

Magnesium deficiencies can lead to other problems. It can lead to high blood pressure. Your kidneys are very vulnerable to damage by sharp crystalline oxalic acid which can result in hypertension. Spasms of an artery caused by a lack of magnesium can be a direct cause of angina pectoris or even a heart attack.

Other problems related to smoking

Cataracts: What clouds the eye lens is the damage from oxidation. Smoking and other risk factors all increase oxidative damage. To prevent cataracts – antioxidants. In addition to antioxidants – trace minerals magnesium and manganese appear to play a role in cataract prevention.

Coughing: There are herbs that stop coughing by increasing the production of saliva, which makes you swallow more frequently, suppressing the cough reflex. These herbs are the contained in the cough drops containing the oil from herbs including eucalyptus, peppermint, anise and fennel. Slippery elm is another herb that stops the cough reflex by forming a protective and smoothing layer around the irritated mucous of your throat. You can find slippery elm teas and lozenges. A few other anti-cough herbs are called “expectorants” because they thin the cough-causing mucous. Horehound is probably the most effective and best tasting of these herbs. You can find horehound tea bags and cough lozenges.


How much do you take? The vitamins we list are merely a guideline. In actual fact, the more you smoke the more you need to take to counteract the damage.

We recommend the following nutrients and a great way to get them, see below.



An excellent source of all the other vitamins to give you what you need including B vitamins, calcium/magnesium….etc.

Diet: Fruits & vegetables. This is how the body gets antioxidants naturally and will help to counteract the damage caused by smoking.

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