Effects of Smoking on the Urinary System

Smoking directly impacts all of your body's systems, including your urinary system. Chemicals that are present in cigarettes are absorbed into your blood stream and can harm your kidneys and urinary tract.

How Is the Urinary System Affected?

When you smoke a cigarette, the toxic chemicals from the tobacco are absorbed into your body and are excreted by your kidneys into your urine. Since urine filters through the kidneys and sits in the bladder, these harmful substances concentrate in these areas, affecting your urinary system in various ways.

Bladder Cancer

The Effects of Tar in Smoking

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One of the biggest risk factors for the development of bladder cancer is smoking. As toxic chemicals collect and concentrate in the bladder and bladder tissues before being excreted during urination, they act as carcinogens to bladder tissue. Smokers have a bladder cancer risk that is more than twice as high as non-smokers.

Kidney Damage

In patients who smoke and who have conditions that leave them predisposed to kidney disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, have higher incidences of kidney dysfunction and failure than patients with the same diseases who do not smoke.

In general, male patients who smoke have lower overall kidney function than male patients who do not smoke. This is true only in men, although studies are currently underway to test kidney function in female smokers.

Urinalysis in Lung Cancer

The Effects of Nicotine on Kidneys

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NNAL and cotinine, by-products of cigarette smoke that are often found in the urine of smokers, are known carcinogens. Testing the urine of smokers and finding unusually high levels of these carcinogenic chemicals indicates an extremely high risk of developing lung cancer, which is often not curable. Patients found to have high levels of both of these chemicals in their urine have a rate of lung cancer that is 8.5 times higher than smokers who have normal levels of these chemicals in the urine.


There are hundreds of adverse health effects that are brought on by smoking in addition to increased bladder and lung cancer rates and kidney damage. Quitting smoking has a highly beneficial effect on all of your bodily systems.

If you need help to quit smoking, visit www.smokefree.gov .