Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It's involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin C is water soluble, and the body does not store it. To maintain adequate levels of vitamin C, people need to consume food that contains it every day. Vitamin C's antioxidant activity may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing various conditions, including some cancers.
Smoking and having exposure to other pollutants can lead to oxidative stress. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can help reduce oxidative stress. People who smoke tend to have lower levels of vitamin C than people who do not smoke. This may be due to having higher levels of oxidative stress.