Chennai Kidney Care

Renal Effects Due to Smoking

Kidneys are very important organs in the body managing to eliminate wastes in the form of urine, regulate the fluid balance, blood pressure & red cell production. Cigarette smoking is considered a universal health hazard; particularly it is very much damaging to kidney function as well in addition to its direct impact on the lung function. Smoking & cardiovascular, kidney diseases are closely linked, but very few people know about the impact of smoking on kidneys.

“An average smoker is likely to die 10 years earlier compared to a non-smoker. It’s a leading cause of cancer anywhere in the body and causes major renal health concerns in people around the world.” 

Let’s understand how harmful is smoking? 

Smoking causes a slowdown of the blood flow to essential organs, one of them being the kidneys. This causes a high probability of renal health breakdown.

 From the treatment perspective this risk can be classified as

  1. medical conditions as a result of smoking and
  2. surgical conditions arising out of smoking. 

The effect of diabetes induced damage to kidney leading to hypertension, kidney failure and ESRD (end stage renal disease) is all well documented. The surgical conditions includes all kinds of cancers is now a very specialized area of ongoing research.

Medical conditions:

Smoking enhances the progression of diabetic nephropathy from microalbuminaria to persistent proteinuria to ESRD

Chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease has its deleterious effects on renal function. CKD is associated with cardio vascular disease & diabetes which is linked to smoking.

Smoking also affects the treatment of CKD. Smokers have a poorer outcome from dialysis treatment with lower quality of life & increased depression. In case of renal transplants smoking is detrimental to both the patient and the donor with a significant rate of rejection within a year.

Smoking is a significant risk factor for renal cancer particularly renal cell carcinoma and also cancers elsewhere in the urogenital tract, bladder cancer etc.

Cigarette smoke is actually a complex mixture of nicotine, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, carcinogen & reactive oxygen species. While nicotine is addictive & compels them to continue smoking, nicotine and other tobacco products easily enter the brain through the blood stream and circulate throughout the body constricting the blood vessels, hardening the arterioles and capillary walls, increasing the deposition of atheroma and elevating the blood pressure.

Smoking suppresses the immune system reducing its ability to fight cancer. Stimulation of nicotinic receptors results in blood vessel constriction, increasing the pressure inside the kidney leading to glomerular and tubular damage & to chronic kidney disease.

Carbon monoxide generated by the burning tobacco combines with red blood cells forming carboxy-hemoglobin which reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood affecting tissue reconstruction and inhibits wound healing.

Smoking is a source of heavy metals such as cadmium and lead which are toxic even at very low concentrations. These metals accumulate in the kidney tissue more than any other organ contributing to tubular and glomerular dysfunction. In a nutshell,

  • Smoking reduces the blood flow to the kidney, causing a severe under-functioning of it. 
  • Smoking increases the hormone production of angiotensin, resulting in kidney problems.
  • Smoking thickens renal arteries, causing arteriosclerosis.
  • Smoking tobacco also allows other toxins leading to a disease called proteinuria, an excess amount of protein in the urine.
  • Smoking effects also damages arterioles.
  • People with diabetes and high blood pressure are at a much higher risk of developing CKD. In the group of smokers and non-smokers, the certainty is always high with smokers. 


Do you smoke & do you want check the health status of your kidneys?

You can connect with our specialist at  

For any queries or appointments, you may also reach us at +91 7338882290