How Does Smoking Affect Muscle Growth?


Effects of Smoking

This is an excerpt from the NoBull Bodybuilding book.

As you can see, I’ve covered quite a lot.

Smoking and the Effects on Bodybuilding

You’ve heard that it’s a nasty habit and this won’t be a lecture on all those other negative effects.  Let’s just take a look at how smoking might adversely affect your muscle building progress.  According to the International Sports and Science Association (ISSA):

Cigarette smoking causes a variety of life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. An estimated 400,000 deaths each year are caused directly by cigarette smoking. Smoking is responsible for changes in all parts of the body, including the digestive system. This fact can have serious consequences because it is the digestive system that converts foods into the nutrients the body needs to live.


People who smoke may not realize the harmful effects of their habit. In fact, smoking can seriously inhibit your chances of success in any athletic endeavor. The active ingredient in tobacco is nicotine. Although this substance stimulates the adrenal glands for increased energy, the long-term negative side effects far outweigh any possible benefits. When you inhale smoke into the lungs, the heart has to work harder. You can see this by monitoring the pulse of a smoker after they puff on a cigarette. The heart actually beats faster and harder. In many who smoke, this effect causes irregular heart contractions that can persist for thirty to forty-five minutes. Besides increased heart rate, smoking elevates blood pressure and increases resistance in the airway. It then becomes more difficult to breathe. The arteries constrict, thus increasing blood pressure. These effects also occur in the arteries of the heart, reducing blood flow to the heart muscles. One by-product of smoking is carbon monoxide. This substance easily attaches to oxygen and leaves less oxygen available for the working muscles, thus reducing your endurance tremendously. The oxygen in your lungs also decreases with smoking, by nearly half. The numerous toxic by-products of smoking have been associated with cancer, heart disease and other degenerative illnesses. Skin temperature can drop due to smoking, causing a person to feel cold and function at low levels during training and competition. Other forms of tobacco include snuff and chewing tobacco, which also have dangerous side effects. In addition to the nicotine that ends up in your saliva and down your throat, many forms of mouth cancer are caused from these practices.

We know you’ve had friends who smoke and are professional bodybuilders.  We know you have friends who are just fine.  There’s plenty of debates on forums about smoking marijuana and how it might affect muscle building.  From being lazy to not focused, everybody has an opinion but there’s no 100% conclusive proof on how it might actually affect muscle building.  However, it does seem like those who engage in such habits as cigarette or marijuana smoking MAY have other unhealthy habits (like increased snacking or drinking) that would have an effect on muscle building.  Again, not proof but if that’s the case, it’s one more reason to quit.

Reduced oxygen and the potential for a reduction in testosterone would be proof enough to quit smoking period and put it on your list of things to do.  Break the habit.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”

Categories: Natural Bodybuilding

  • profuseness

    I like it.

    thank you

  • Marc David

    You're welcome.

  • Marc David

    You're welcome.

  • Marvin Will

    Oh, my! I’m surprised that smoking can increase the habit of eating and drinking. My neighbor had to quit smoking because she had a periodontal disease. Thankfully, her dentist was able to catch and cure it before it became worse.