The effects of tobacco on metabolism

The effects of tobacco on metabolism

The effects of tobacco on metabolism
The effects of tobacco on metabolism

It is not news that cigarettes and optimal metabolism are two opposing concepts. Smoking complicates protein synthesis, as well as muscle recovery processes. In the long run, one of the effects of tobacco is sarcopenia: muscle degeneration and loss of muscle strength  (2)  .

Today, the  boom  in  healthy eating  and fitness has forced tobacco companies to try to adapt to the situation. What led to the launch of e-cigarettes and IQOS. Is the e-cigarette really better?

To answer the question, you need to determine what the effects of tobacco are on metabolism.

Influence of cigarette in increasing muscle mass

It is known that smoking disrupts the processes of muscle recovery, athletic performance and therefore the increase in muscle mass.

In addition, smokers have a lower  maximum respiratory capacity  .

In cigarettes, the most harmful element is carbon monoxide. Once in the blood, this molecule binds to hemoglobin and will destroy the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. As a result, muscle cells suffer from a significant lack of oxygen.

Can Tobacco and Hormones Cause Low Testosterone?

It has been confirmed that tobacco can affect telomeres, a part of DNA directly related to aging. Over time, this segment gradually shrinks and is the main cause of old age. In the body of a smoker, this process is faster.

In addition, studies confirm that tobacco causes an imbalance in the hormonal system. So this is not a habit compatible with people who play sports. The levels of the stress hormone  cortisol increase  . What generates lower production of testosterone and growth hormone in the long run  (3)  .

Effects of cigarettes on the heart

On average, a smoker's heart beats 30% faster than a non-smoker's, this phenomenon raises blood pressure and puts extra strain on the cardiovascular system during exercise. These facts become apparent when comparing the strength and power of an athlete who smokes who is not.

The smoker's heart works inefficiently, in an athlete this can be dangerous because they will get shortness of breath and increased workload on the heart. The chronic smoker can run a marathon, but this will push his heart to the limit.

Does smoking affect sleep?

Smoking overloads the nervous system, causing irritability, mood swings and  sleep disorders  .

On the other hand, nicotine interacts with the effects of the sleep hormone,  melatonin  . For this reason, it is usually more difficult for the smoker to fall asleep.

Is the e-cigarette better?

Electronic cigarettes appeared about 10 years ago; During this time, both the technology and the attitude of doctors to such products has changed significantly.

For example, smoking bans on board airplanes or in public places have also begun to extend to e-cigarettes, vaporizers and other tobacco substitutes.

Large cigarette companies such as Philip Morris International are actively promoting their new product IQOS under the slogan "heat does not burn". Based on less tobacco effects

In this electronic device, it really heats up and does not burn at high temperatures. Although these devices reduce the effects of tobacco, it has not been confirmed by scientists.

Types of electronic cigarettes

An e-cigarette is defined as a device capable of heating or evaporating smoke. The most common e-cigarette consists of three parts: a battery, a steam generator and a cartridge.

The battery powers the steam generator, which when heated causes special liquid to evaporate, thus forming steam and ultimately feeling like cigarette smoke. The liquid in the cartridge may or may not contain nicotine.

There are currently different types of e-cigarettes. From the most classic, to tubes, evaporators, battery-powered, and large with built-in tanks.

In 2016, PMI applied IQOS for FDA approval of the new product as a substitute for modified risk tobacco in 2016.  (5)

The total investment in the IQOS project exceeded $ 5 billion. (1) The  multinational tobacco company Philip Morris sees the future in this new product and forecasts an increase in the e-cigarette market by up to 40% by 2025.

IQOS vaporizers are an updated version of e-cigarettes. The main difference is that the aromatic liquid does not evaporate, and the real dry tobacco is heated.

In theory, IQOS devices reduce some of the effects associated with smoking. This is because no burns occur and therefore some negative compounds cannot be generated. What does science say?

Is smoking IOQS better than smoking a regular cigarette?

The answer to the question of whether the IQOS e-cigarette is better than smoking a regular cigarette has caused controversy in the scientific community.

Studies conducted by tobacco companies show that when a person smokes a normal cigarette, it creates a burn. Combustion produces toxic compounds such as carbon monoxide (CO).

When smoking IQOS, the combustion process does not occur due to the fact that the tobacco is heated to a regulated temperature of about 300 ºC.

In contrast, a study by   Naoki Kunugita  , a famous Japanese pulmonologist; declares that nicotine concentrations are the same in both regular cigarettes and IQOS cartridges.

These studies confirmed the presence of TSNAs and CO. Although in a smaller concentration, but finally present.

Naoki discourages the use of any form of tobacco in his work.

What ingredients do IQOS cartridges contain?

The ingredients of IQOS cartridges have not been published, but will probably be similar to those of regular tobacco. What is known is that the composition of IQOS air does not completely avoid carcinogenic elements.

Ordinary tobacco leaves from Marlboro cigarettes may contain invert sugar, ammonium hydroxide, licorice extract, cocoa derivatives and a number of "natural-looking" flavors  (2)  .

Each of these added ingredients plays a different role. For example, ammonium hydroxide improves the quality of tobacco (although it is also a potential carcinogen). Licorice helps to "open" the lungs, which increases the level of nicotine absorption.

With regard to flavorings, tobacco campaigns have been criticized for the fact that the main purpose of these substances is to increase dependence on smoking  (3)  .

Electronic cigarettes - what do doctors say?

The World Health Organization is pushing for a total ban on e-cigarettes, vaporizers and similar devices. Referring to the fact that the effects on human health have not yet been determined. The products are constantly changing and there is no time to monitor their consequences.

His answer is solid: "Under the guise of a toy, they are trying to sell us an extremely toxic poison that is highly addictive."

Although not enough time has passed to determine whether the e-cigarette is better or really more harmful. A similar trend of effect has been confirmed. 


  • The effects of tobacco are to damage the cardiovascular, hormonal and muscular systems.
  • Tobacco interferes with the absorption of oxygen, impairs protein synthesis, promotes premature aging, loss of muscle mass and maximum respiratory capacity.
  • Science has not confirmed that the e-cigarette is better than the regular one.
  • The advantage of IOQS is the lower concentration of toxic compounds that are generated during combustion as CO. However, the nicotine concentrations are the same. Apart from the presence of TSNAs, a molecule with potential carcinogenic effects is comparable.
  • Studies still need to be done to see if the effects of IOQS on tobacco are negligible.


  1. Philip Morris is trying to prove that he can spin around cigarettes,  source
  2. Ingredients in different varieties Marlboro,  source
  3. Philip Morris and the origin, distribution and denial of nicotine release,  source
  4. Systematic review of the health effects of e-cigarettes. source
  5. Concentrations of hazardous chemicals in the main heat-generated aerosol do not burn  the  tobacco source
  6. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. Source
  7. World Health Organization, Tobacco Smoke Profiles,  source
  8. Smoking disrupts muscle protein synthesis and increases the expression of myostatin and MAFbx in muscle,  source
  9. Effect of cigarette smoking on bioavailable testosterone levels in healthy men,  source
  10. Health effects of cigarette smoking,  source