The Visible Consequences of Smoking

The visible consequences of smoking are not just yellow fingers, nails and teeth. There are other potential effects to a smoker's skin, mouth and eyes.



Smoking is related to psoriasis and premature skin aging, including wrinkling. Some of the chemicals in tobacco smoke can inhibit blood flow and the ability of blood to transport oxygen, leaving skin more vulnerable to wrinkling in smokers.Footnote 1,Footnote 2,Footnote 3,Footnote 4,Footnote 5,Footnote 6

The lack of blood flow and oxygen can also reduce the body's ability to heal sores and other wounds.Footnote 6,Footnote 7,Footnote 8 Cigarette smoke may decrease the efficiency of the immune system, which also has a negative impact on the healing of wounds.Footnote 1


Smoking is a major cause of mouth diseases such as periodontitis (gum disease) and oral cancer.Footnote 9

Gums affected by periodontitis can turn red and bleed, and the condition can lead to tooth loss.

It has been estimated that about one-third to one-half of all periodontitis cases among adults are due to smoking.Footnote 9,Footnote 10,Footnote 11

Oral cancer causes lesions, sores and lumps that may be seen when the mouth is open, and can alter the look of the face when removed surgically.


Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts, the clouding of the eye's lens.Footnote 9 This condition is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

This health warning message for cigarettes and little cigars addresses the visible consequences of smoking:

Numerous effects caused by cigarettes shown on a young woman (i.e. premature wrinkling, dental problems, eye problems)

Quitting is more effective than other measures to prevent the visible consequences of smoking as well as other smoking-related diseases.

Need help to quit? Call the pan-Canadian quitline toll-free at 1-866-366-3667.


Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: