Daily Health Minute - Smoking And Your Digestive System
Smoking affects every part of the body, including the gastrointestinal tract. In every puff, cigarette smokers inhale more than 400 toxins and 43 known carcinogens.
From the lungs, these toxins have easy access to the bloodstream, allowing them to circulate throughout the body. Although everyone is familiar with the links between smoking and lung cancer, emphysema and coronary artery disease, few people think about the effects of smoking on the digestive system.
Studies have shown that smokers have decreased gastric motility, which can cause less efficient digestion. Smoking also can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, increase stomach acid secretion and reduce pancreatic bicarbonate production. Liver function is also compromised and may accelerate alcohol-induced liver disease.
The good news: Current research suggests that the effects of smoking on the gastrointestinal tract are temporary and that most problems will reverse themselves when smoking stops.