How smoking affects you

How smoking affects you

Quitting smoking boosts your looks. Studies show that smoking ages you faster and damages your skin, so getting rid of cigarettes really is a beautiful thing. Smoking also costs you lots of money, makes you unfit and, of course, seriously damages your health. Once you quit, you’ll look better, feel healthier and live longer. We’re talking BIG benefits. Check out the main effects of smoking below and use them as motivation to go smoke free for good. Discover the effects of smoking on:

Your looks

Here’s the ugly truth – smoking makes you age faster and damages your looks. It can age you prematurely between 10 and 20 years. By the time you reach 35, you could look more like 55! Your future certainly isn’t pretty if you keep smoking.

No beauty regime can work enough magic to stop the ageing effects of smoking:


You’ll develop more wrinkles and they’ll appear way before their time. That’s because the toxins in cigarette smoke dry out your skin and deprive it of oxygen and nutrients.

Expect to see more fine lines and wrinkles on your face. We’re talking crow’s feet and even the dreaded smoker’s face – deep lines around your mouth and eyes caused by puckering on cigarettes and squinting in smoke. The longer you smoke, the more wrinkles you’ll get!

Damaged, greying hair

Prepare to put up with dull, weak, dry hair damaged by the toxins in cigarette smoke. Smoker’s hair can also go grey early or fall out! You won’t find a product to fix these horrors!

Dull skin and spots

You’ll have dull yellow or grey skin thanks to a lack of blood reaching the skin. You’ll have to deal with more spots and blemishes too. Smoking reduces Vitamin A – a nutrient that protects the skin from damage and conditions like acne or brown spots.

Stained teeth and bad breath

No one wants yucky, yellow teeth but you’ll have to deal with them if you smoke. Tobacco in cigarette smoke stains teeth yellow and alters the chemicals in your mouth, creating a build-up of plaque. It also damages your gums, causing stinky breath and tooth loss. In fact, smokers are up to 150% more likely to lose their teeth. It’s enough to wipe the smile right off your face.

Saggy bits

You know how your skin can stretch and snap back into place? That’s because of collagen. It maintains firmness and elasticity. But smoking breaks down this collagen, leading to saggy, less firm skin all over your body. This includes your breasts, which can become saggy earlier than you’d expect – or want!

Yellow nails and fingers

Cigarettes leave their mark – stubborn yellow stains on your fingers and nails caused by tobacco smoke and holding the filter. Plus smoking really weakens your nails, so get ready for more breakages.

Awful eyes

Smoking causes bloodshot eyes, sagging eyelids and bags under your eyes. You’ll look like you’re recovering from a very late night.

Protect your looks by quitting smoking today. You can halt the ageing effects straight away by ditching cigarettes.

The sooner you quit, the less severe the effects will be.

You can’t reverse many ageing effects but your body should repair itself in some ways once you quit. For example, in just a month your skin will be clearer and brighter.

Check out the Future You Smoking Booth to discover how old you’ll look if you keep smoking.

Your money

Smoking hits your bank balance too! You could save tons of cash just by ditching cigarettes.

Think about all the things you could buy instead. If a pack of cigarettes costs about $20, a pack-a-day smoker spends:

  • $20 a day – The cost of a movie ticket.
  • $140 a week – A new pair of shoes.
  • $600 a month – Over half your month’s rent.
  • $7,000 a year – An amazing overseas holiday.

There are hidden costs of smoking too. As a non-smoker, you’ll save cash because you won’t be:

  • Washing, dry cleaning or replacing smelly clothing.
  • Having dental work to remove yellow stains.
  • Using lots of anti-ageing products.

Want to know how much cash you’re saving once you’ve quit? Register for the free QuitTracker app and watch the savings stack up.

Your fertility and kids

Getting pregnant

Quitting smoking can increase your chances of becoming a mum. It’s worth thinking about, even if you don’t want kids for another 10 years. Decisions you make about smoking now can affect the rest of your life.

Did you know that:

  • It takes a smoker up to two months longer to get pregnant than a non-smoker.
  • The longer you smoke, the more likely you are to have fertility issues.
  • Smoking can damage your ovaries.
  • Fertility treatments like IVF are less effective on smokers.

Quitting smoking helps right away – stay smoke free for a year and you’ll enjoy the same chances of getting pregnant as a non-smoker.

Smoking while pregnant

Smoking while pregnant can harm your baby and cause serious problems during pregnancy. Quitting before you fall pregnant (or as soon as possible if you become pregnant) will have immediate benefits. Straight away you’re more likely to have a healthier baby and a trouble-free pregnancy.

If you smoke while pregnant:

  • Over 7,000 toxic chemicals in cigarettes are passed to your baby through the umbilical cord.
  • Nicotine raises both your heart rate and your baby’s, and your blood vessels narrow, restricting blood to your baby.
  • Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen to your baby.

As soon as you quit, you lower the risk of:

  • miscarriage Your baby being born too early (premature birth).
  • A low birth weight baby at risk of health problems during infancy.
  • A pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
  • Your baby dying at birth or shortly afterwards (perinatal death).
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Smoking while breastfeeding

The toxic chemicals in cigarettes are passed to your baby through your breast milk. Nicotine also changes the flavour of breast milk and reduces the amount of milk available. Your baby could struggle to breast feed or refuse to do it.

Breastfeeding, however, is still better than bottle feeding because breast milk contains essential nutrients to help your baby grow up healthy.

There is no safe way to smoke during pregnancy. Quit as soon as possible to give your baby the best start in life.

Your health and fitness

The effects of smoking are far more than just skin deep. Cigarette smoke causes many serious diseases and health problems, so quitting can really boost your health and fitness. If you quit soon enough you can reverse much of the damage to your health or even avoid it.

Here are some of the major health issues:


The chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas cancer. In fact, cigarette smoke is the leading cause of lung cancer in Australia.

There is good news. Ditch the cigarettes and in 10 years your risk of lung cancer will be half what it would have been if you’d carried on smoking.

Heart disease

Women smokers are more likely to store fat around their waist and upper body rather than around their hips, resulting in a higher waist-to-hip ratio. This means a much higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

You can slash this risk by cutting out cigarettes for good. In 15 years, your risk of heart disease will be almost the same as if you’d never smoked.

Sexual health problems

When it comes to sexual health, smokers are more likely to:

  • Have painful and irregular periods.
  • Develop cervical cancer.
  • Experience failure of contraceptive pills.
  • Have a stroke while using contraception.

Your sexual health will improve as soon as you quit and keep on improving. In five years, your risk of cervical cancer will be almost the same as if you’d never smoked.

Lung disease

Smoking can really mess up your lungs. When you quit smoking, you reduce the risk of smoker’s cough and serious lung diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema.

Loss of fitness

Smoking reduces lung capacity and the amount of oxygen in your blood. That means you have less energy so you have to work harder at the gym or playing sports. Ditch the smokes and you’ll find that workouts are more fun and your fitness will increase.

Fast facts: young smokers

  • Most current smokers develop the habit in their teens.
  • People who start smoking while teenagers are more likely to become regular smokers, smoke more heavily, have difficulties quitting and suffer from smoking related diseases. 
  • Around half of the teenagers who go on to develop a lifelong daily smoking habit will die from a smoking-related disease.


The information above is published on this website under license courtesy of Queensland Health.