Smoking not only damages your own body, but also harms passive smokers in your immediate vicinity. The harmful substances often cause lung disorders such as chronic coughing, and the long-term risk of lung cancer is high.


Symptoms associated with tobacco consumption

  • Chronic bronchitis (smoker's cough)
  • Reduced sports performance
  • Cardiovascular problems (heart attack, stroke, etc.)
  • Pregnant women: damage to the unborn child
  • COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (coughing with phlegm, shortness of breath, an oxygen mask often needs to be worn permanently in the final stage)
  • Hoarseness (possible sign of laryngeal cancer)
  • Coughing blood (possible sign of lung cancer)

Causes and treatment

Smoking and its possible effects

Every cigarette is harmful, even for passive smokers. The effects are different for everybody. How long you’ve smoked and the number of cigarettes also play a role. Approx. 4,000 substances irritate the airways, and some 90 of them are carcinogenic. The consequences of smoking include:

  • Dependence, addiction
  • Frequent colds (airways are affected)
  • Reduced physical performance (reduced absorption of oxygen by the lungs, in particular because of carbon monoxide)
  • Cardiovascular problems (smoking promotes arterial calcification, which can lead to heart attack or stroke)
  • Long-standing arterial calcification in the legs can even cause tissue death
  • Discoloured teeth, gradual shrinking of gums (periodontitis)
  • Faster ageing of the skin (skin receives less blood)
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced sense of smell (which means that food smells less good)
  • Wound healing disorders (skin receives less blood)
  • Development of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Higher risk of stomach and intestinal ulcers
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Thrombosis (formation of blood clots, mostly in the legs), embolism (blood clot has dislodged)
  • Higher risk of diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
  • Higher risk of cancer: lungs, oesophagus, kidneys, pancreas, bladder, larynx, etc.

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible therapies
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (in groups or individually with the doctor)
  • Hypnosis
  • Nicotine replacement (skin patches, medication, gum)
  • Acupuncture

When to see a doctor?

Further information

Swiss Lung Association (Lungenliga Schweiz)


Nicotine abuse, tobacco dependency, tobacco consumption

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.