Does Smoking Stunt Your Growth?

We all know about the various health problems and threats that smoking poses, and yet many of us continue to smoke regardless of this – and even continue to smoke under age. The vast range of illnesses and diseases caused by smoking, as well as the detriment to physical fitness, do not seem to be enough to put people off, but some of the issues of vanity that effect teenagers may sometimes be more off putting.

This is why it’s not uncommon to find on Yahoo Answers or web forums teenagers asking whether smoking will stunt their growth. The lung cancer it seems is not enough of a concern – but if you’re not going to be as tall as your friends, well that’s a different matter.

How Smoking Stunts Growth

Unfortunately for these smoking teens, the answer is yes – smoking can stunt your growth. It can also result in the slow healing of wounds, lack of muscle and other problems associated with poor anabolism and lack of tissue building and repairing.

Smoking will not affect the pituitary glands which produce the hormones necessary for growth, but however it does result in an increase in carbon monoxide in the blood. This then in turn means that the blood has a lower concentration of oxygen and of the other things that it needs to build and repair tissue such as minerals and vitamins. What this then means is that when an area needs protein or other nutrients to grow, it will not be supplied with them as quickly or in such high quantities and quality. This may then mean that that function of the body is not carried out at all, or just that it is not carried out well.

At the same time smoking may result in lower amounts of testosterone – the hormone involved in building muscle, growing hair, and burning fat. This hormone is also involved in growth as it is an anabolic hormone that tells the body when to build tissue.

Who’s at Risk?

This effect is relatively minor, and you will probably not notice extremely stunted growth – you’ll just not be growing quite as healthily or as effectively as you otherwise would have been. It probably won’t cause a problem for second hand smokers as they won’t inhale enough to significantly alter their balance of oxygen and carbon monoxide. At the same time stunted growth is of course only an issue for those still growing – whose growth plates in their wrists and ankles are still open so that the bones can increase in length. Pregnant mothers though certainly should not smoke as it is highly important that their blood provide a developing child with all the nutrients it needs to survive and prosper.

That said, anyone who smokes should have more than enough reason to quit and in reality some loss of height is really the least of your worries.

9 comments

  1. Alex Reply
    April 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I've been smoking 20 a day since I was 12. I'm now 18 and I still fit into clothes I wore when I was 14. I can't quit. I haven't gone a day without a cig since I started smoking and as a result of this my scars don't heal 🙁 is there anything I can do to help with this other than quitting?

  2. Krys Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Hi Alex, I would suggest that you attempt to cut down your 20 a day habit, drink a lot of water, take a multi-vitamin and start working out most mornings. The strength within your body and mind will surprise you. Good luck.

  3. Laugher Reply
    May 21, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    lol @ alex

  4. Anonymous Reply
    June 25, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Mm… Quite useful!

  5. wakeel Reply
    August 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I want to stop smoking but I can't

  6. Tracy Reply
    February 15, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Smoking stunts your spiritual growth more than anything else, you rely on your cigarette after years to be your best friend, smoking is easy because it asks nothing in return, it never argues with you, you seek it out after a good film, or a meal or anything that you feel is great just your thoughts with your cigarette it never judges you, it can become a love affair that you had not bargained on, in the end it can take your mind and you have a choice to let it go but as with all true love affairs you cannot let it go in a fear that you would die without it. You are then an addict in every word of the sense, because we all have choices and you can give it up but you won’t, it takes away all the pleasure you once believed you had, it is demanding and it is a war in the mind, please give up now, get help talk to your doctor don't leave it to late. I hate myself for smoking every day but every day that nicotine will get me out of bed, I am completely selfish, really think about this, it is your spirit that dies which is where the stunting of growth really lays, it is easier to have a cigarette and block out feelings that hurt us, so smoking will block that feeling, and we block our feelings then we lose what we are supposed to feel to enable real growth of the soul. I hope you understand what I am writing and never lose the will to have a good life with the true treasure of life, go for a walk in the park and see what mother natures has for you, and really feel the joy before it is too late.

  7. Nadeem Zafar Reply
    February 21, 2016 at 2:30 am

    A really good, insightful article. Very well written.

  8. prince Reply
    January 5, 2017 at 12:58 am

    It is very useful!

  9. Stefan Reply
    June 18, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    What does “stunt” exactly mean? Will it stop forever, or you will develop slower than the others? (p.s. I’m 13 and I stopped smoking a couple of time ago. I smoked about 3 packs in total. Is it possible that I stopped growing? I also vaped for a period of time.)

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