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A 36-year-old member asked:

What can carbon monoxide poisoning from cigarettes do to you over time?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jason Adler
Pediatric Critical Care 26 years experience
Potential for harm: The carbon monoxide as well as other byproducts of cigarette smoke can be harmful. People exposed to second hand tobacco smoke can develop symptoms of acute carbon monoxide poisoning if in large enough quantities, including headache, dizziness, and nausea. Chronic exposure to carbon monoxide has been associated with cardiovascular disease and neurologic problems.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Dennis Clifford
A Verified Doctoranswered
45 years experience
Good question: Low level co in the blood does have affects on mitochondria and organ metabolism but the long term effects are difficult to assess and there are no studies that really help us. One clear effect is increased production of red blood cells since oxygen saturation in the blood is reduced by co. This causes the body to make more red blood cells which can result in blood that is too viscous and harmful.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 48 years experience
Hard to say: The body is able to tolerate the low level exposures to CO over time with no specific hardship.Any study of its potential effects is hampered by overlapping bad habits of smokers & the inability to isolate cause/effect in a scientific study.It is well known that there are dozens of toxic chemicals released in the smoke, besides the nicotine. Over time the negative consequences of these toxins kill
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Jan 4, 2017
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