It is common knowledge that smoking kills, well it also steals your health and affects your fitness. Most of us are affected by smoke in one way or another, either we inhale it purposefully or we are passive smokers because a loved one insists on puffing away around us. This article takes a look at how health and fitness are affected by smoking and the seriousness of the impact it has on our lives.When you smoke the carbon monoxide from smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets absorbed into the blood. Carbon monoxide also lessens the level of oxygen that is released to the muscles from the blood. It also causes the mucous membranes in the lungs to swell, leading in turn to increased resistance in the airways.Cigarettes contain tar and the tar coats the lungs and causes the elasticity in the air sacs to reduce, which in turn reduces the absorption of oxygen. When you smoke the cleaning function of the lungs is greatly reduced, which allows pollutants to remain in the lungs and tubes, giving rise to various illnesses.Your heart has to work harder to make up for the lack of oxygen in the body due to the effects of carbon monoxide and the airways resistance. Nicotine increases the heart rate and blood pressure and causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the body.Smoking has a negative impact on physical endurance and increases fatigue especially during and after exercising because it reduces the intake of oxygen.The ill effects of smoking on health are numerous and quite scary. There is a definite association between smoking and cancers of the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, kidneys and lungs. Breathing difficulties and heart ailments caused by smoking tend to affect longevity negatively. When you smoke you can look forward to a thickening of the arteries, blood clots and heart trouble. Emphysema can kill and the reduction in stamina sets you up for a whole lot of other illnesses to invade the body.Passive smoking is also a killer and the sad part is we are killing the very people we love, every time we light up a cigarette and pollute the air.Smoking damages the environment and causes everything around us to stink. The burning question is why would we want to smoke when we know just how dangerously it can affect health and fitness?