Does smoking make you tired? To answer this question accurately, you have to look at two different time frames. Nicotine, one of the ingredients in cigarettes, is a stimulant, and having a cigarette gives smokers an immediate boost. However, the cumulative effects of smoking, which damages heart, lungs and muscles, can lead to exhaustion, inactivity and serious illnesses including lung cancer and heart disease.
Nicotine is the active ingredient in cigarettes, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it acts within seconds of inhalation, triggering an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, changing respiration and releasing adrenaline. In the brain, nicotine acts on neurotransmitters that affect mood, appetite and memory, and activates feelings of pleasure and reward. Nicotine wears off quickly, however, leaving the smoker soon feeling tired, depressed or anxious, according to MedlinePlus.
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of different chemicals, according to MedlinePlus. These do not immediately affect the body like nicotine does, but at least 60 are known to cause cancer, thereby seriously affecting your health and well-being over time.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is common in smokers. The American Thoracic Society reports the main symptoms of COPD include feelings of tiredness, fatigue and breathlessness, as well as coughing and wheezing. People who suffer fatigue or breathlessness as a result of COPD may restrict their activities, which can lead to loss of fitness, which will make them more tired, thus triggering a cycle of exhaustion and listlessness.
Smoking a cigarette will elevate your heart rate and stimulate adrenaline, making you feel more alert, but at the same time smoke damages your blood cells, and can damage the function of the heart and of blood vessels, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Smoking is a major risk factor in heart disease, which can severely curtail your quality of life.
A study of 19- to 30-year-old athletes, reported in the "Indian Journal of Experimental Biology," showed that athletes who smoked showed significant decreases in muscle strength and flexibility compared with nonsmokers. Smoking can also cause erectile dysfunction. A study of 8,500 Australian men who smoked showed a significant link between smoking and impotence, even in young men.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Mind over Matter --- Tobacco Addiction
- MedlinePlus: Smoking --- The Facts
- American Thoracic Society: What are the Signs and Symptoms of COPD?
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: How Does Smoking Affect the Heart and Blood Vessels?
- "Indian Journal of Experimental Biology"; Effect of Cigarette Smoking on Muscle Strength and Flexibility of Athletes; P.R. Kumar and N.V. Kumar; November 1998
- "Tobacco Control"; Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: Findings from a Representative Sample of Australian Men; C. Millett et al; April 2006