If you smoke, quitting smoking is one of the great things you can do for your liver’s overall health, and free resources are available.

Although smoking primarily links with its effects on lung health, that isn’t the only way it can harm your health. Smoking can negatively affect your health in multiple ways. One way includes your liver’s health.

Cigarettes contain toxins that can cause permanent liver scarring, known as cirrhosis. Additionally, smoking can lead to nicotine deposits, which can trigger a buildup of lipids in your liver.

This buildup of lipids can result in a liver condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Keep reading to learn more about how smoking affects your liver.

Smoking can negatively affect your entire body by harming your health in multiple ways. One way can include scarring your liver. Smoking increases the risk of liver conditions, such as NAFLD and cirrhosis, primarily because it increases the number of toxins in your body. Your liver’s function involves processing toxins.

When you smoke cigarettes, your liver can take on an increased workload. This can lead to liver toxicity and a condition called oxidative stress that occurs when liver cells experience exposure to toxins called free radicals.

Over time, this can block blood flow to your liver, leading to liver scarring and liver tissue thickening. Severe scarring and thickening of your liver are called cirrhosis.

Does smoking cannabis affect your liver?

Research into the effects of cannabis and all areas of health, including liver health, is new. But studies show that smoking cannabis could increase the risk of some types of liver disease but decrease the risk of others.

For instance, researchers have linked cannabis to an increased risk of fatty liver, increased scarring, and immunosuppression. Conversely, research on animal subjects has found that cannabis might help treat liver conditions such as hepatic encephalopathy.

Can smoking cause liver cancer?

Smoking links to an increased risk of liver cancer.

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes that experts consider carcinogenic. Among them, chemicals such as nitrosamines, vinyl chloride, tar, and 4-aminobiphenyl can cause liver cancer. The risk of liver cancer can increase with the number of cigarettes a person smokes daily and the years a person has smoked.

Does chewing tobacco affect your liver?

Although it often links with oral health effects, chewing tobacco can also harm your liver.

Several of the toxic chemicals in cigarettes are also present in chewing tobacco. These toxins can increase stress on your liver and lead to conditions such as NAFLD and cirrhosis, no matter how you ingest them.

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There are many popular methods of cleansing or “detoxing” your liver. A quick walk down grocery store aisles or an internet search will give you dozens of options. But these products and guides aren’t typically necessary.

If it’s healthy overall, your liver can heal and cleanse itself. Natural remedies usually can’t undo liver scarring, so no pills, juices, or other products can reverse it. Instead, letting your liver regenerate and get back to its typical level of functioning can be a good idea.

Some supplements and ingredients in common detox plans have general health and liver health benefits. They include supplements such as milk thistle and turmeric. You can read more about cleansing your liver in our guide.

Quitting smoking can be a great commitment to your health. It can also be a challenging time. But you don’t have to do it alone. You can use resources for help.

When you’re ready, check out:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) Hotline: SAMHSA can direct you to local treatment programs, support groups, and other services. You can reach them by calling 800-622-HELP (4357) or using their online locator. Services are available 24/7 in English and Spanish.
  • Smokefree.gov: Smokefree.gov offers guides and resources to help people in the United States quit smoking. Their guides are designed to take you from start to finish, and plans are available for people in specific populations, such as women, teens, veterans, and adults more than 60 years old.
  • The National Texting Portal: The National Texting Portal is a service involving a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. This free text line offers support and advice to just about anyone trying to quit smoking. You can reach the portal at any time by texting QUITNOW to 333888.
  • The quitSTART app: The quitSTART app allows you to track your progress and manage cravings. You can also find motivational challenges and games using this free app. The app is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.

Smoking can negatively affect your entire body, including your liver. The toxins in cigarettes can cause liver scarring. They can also cause lipids to build up in your liver, causing NALFD.

Cigarette smoking also links with liver cancer. Many of the toxins in cigarettes are known carcinogens, and several of those carcinogens can harm the liver.

There isn’t as much research yet into the effects of smoking cannabis on your liver, but studies show it might also have harmful effects. Quitting smoking can help lower your risk of liver disease and liver cancer.