1 July 2017 marks ten years since the British smoking ban was put in place, banning the consumption of tobacco in all indoor public spaces. Throughout the years, many reports have been published detailing the harmful effects of smoking on the body and everyone knows the damage smoking can do to internal organs, but many may not know just how harmful smoking can be for the feet! Skin effects Nicotine decreases the blood flow to the skin, whilst carbon monoxide displaces oxygen which would keep skin looking and feeling healthy. Due to a decrease in oxygenated blood and vitamin C reaching the feet, the skin on the feet can become dry, flaky, irritated and may be at risk of developing skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Toenail Issues Although they are the furthest point from the lungs, toenails can be analysed to find out he nicotine levels in a person’s system, so even though it is not something smokers give much thought to, it is evident that the chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco reach even the toes and effect the growth of the nails. The reduced blood and oxygen reaching the toe nails results in weaker nails which are at risk of breaking and splitting. Ulcers and Wounds The reduced blood flow and lack of oxygen can delay the healing time of sores, blisters and wounds on the feet and lower legs. Quitting smoking is the best course of action for improving healing times for cuts and scrapes, whilst keeping the wound clean, dry and properly looked after will reduce the risk of infection whilst it heals naturally. Peripheral Arterial Disease The most serious effect of smoking on the legs and feet is peripheral arterial disease, this is caused by fatty deposits building up in the arteries in the legs and restricting blood flow to the lower legs and feet. This can affect any part of the body, but feet are especially worrisome, as the foot pain can continue even whilst resting and wounds in the area can get worse, rather than healing, which can result in tissue death and, in serious cases, amputation of the feet and legs.