Effects of Smoking

Essay by cljobeCollege, UndergraduateA+, July 2006

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Is there anyone who does not know someone who smokes? Everyone has a friend or relative that has smoked or does smoke currently. Cigarettes are the most commonly bought legal drugs in the world. Most smokers develop the habit during their teen years and by the time they are adults they are addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in tobacco. Millions of people are addicted to smoking, and thousands more become addicted every year. Therefore, the hazardous ingredients in cigarette tobacco have many dangerous effects to your health and the health of others.

Tobacco is a prepared leaf from plants that can be used for smoking or chewing. The tobacco plant is grown all over the world and right here in our home of Kentucky. You can find tobacco in cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals and poisons. Every time someone smokes, poisons are released into their body and in our air.

Nicotine is a poisonous substance contained in the leaves, seeds and roots of the tobacco plant. Each time a person smokes a cigarette or chews tobacco, that person ingests nicotine.

The substance of nicotine is also used to kill insects or parasites, so just think what it can be doing to a person's body that smokes. A smoker may start out with just a few cigarettes a day, but the more the person smokes the higher the dependency on nicotine becomes. Just like other addictive drugs, the smoker develops a tolerance and needs to use more cigarettes to get the effect they desire. The tobacco companies also add ammonia to increase the sensation of nicotine. By adding the ammonia, it will increase the need for a person to smoke more cigarettes and achieve a greater dependency on the company's product.

Nicotine is not the only ingredient that is bad for the human body. There are many other harmful chemicals in cigarettes such as carbon monoxide, which is an odorless gas that is burned while smoking. The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette smoked increases the heart rate and blood pressure. This combination is a strain on a person's heart and blood vessels that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. In extreme cases, the blood flow is cut off from your feet and hands and may lead to having limbs amputated. Overall, carbon monoxide takes oxygen from the whole body and makes every organ have to work harder.

In addition, tar is another substance that is found in cigarettes. Tar is a sticky brown substance produced by cigarettes and is inhaled when a cigarette is smoked. This substance is what gives a person yellow teeth and can leave stains on their fingers. While smoking a cigarette, tar is coating the lungs and may cause a variety of diseases. Tar directly attacks the lungs and makes breathing more difficult. Tobacco companies have a developed a low-tar cigarette as an alternative to the traditional cigarette. However, changing to a low-tar cigarette does not normally help smokers because they may take deeper puffs and hold the smoke in for longer, which will draw tar deeper into the lungs.

Smoking impacts almost all aspects of a person's health and is a leading cause of death. One of the main problems is that people have limited knowledge of the effects of smoking on the body. Over the past ten years, more statistics have shown that smoking does lead to diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. A majority of smokers believe that smoking does not lead to illness. However, it is likely most smokers' belief is based on at least some degree of denial that a disease will ever affect them.

The biggest side affect from smoking is cancer. Cancer is a group of many related diseases and lung cancer is one of the largest killers in the United States. The risk of dying from lung cancer is higher in males than females and has been directly linked to smoking. This disease can become a life threatening problem if not detected early and proper treatments started.

Cigarette smoking accounts for a third of all heart disease deaths. The carbon monoxide in the smoke increases the amount of cholesterol to clog in the arteries. The arteries constrict with each puff of smoke taken, and if a blockage is in the artery, it may lead to a heart attack. While smoking, the arteries become stiff and weak which in turn can stop blood flow around the heart. The nicotine in the cigarettes can raise blood pressure, heart rate and increase the oxygen demand, especially in the heart. Many people suffer from heart failure, but even though they know about the dangers of smoking, they do not quit until they become a heart patient. In most cases, smokers will live with heart complications for the rest of their lives.

Emphysema is a deadly disease that also affects the lungs and respiratory system. Tobacco smoke releases various chemicals which can lead to permanent damage to the walls of the lungs. This damage to the lungs becomes worse over an extended period of time that a person has smoked and it is irreversible. The symptoms of emphysema are a chronic cough, shortness of breath and possible wheezing. The best way to eliminate this disease is to stop smoking or avoid ever starting the habit.

Many smokers are unaware of the impact smoking has on other people. For instance, an unborn baby of a mother who smokes is more likely to die of infant death syndrome. When a mother smokes, the placenta does not work as well as it should and this is how the baby receives food and oxygen. Each time a woman smokes she is giving her child less oxygen and may lead to a premature birth. Pregnant women who do smoke can have a lasting negative effect on their baby's life as well as there own.

The effects of tobacco smoke are just as bad in non-smokers as in smokers. All of the risk a smoker has is also true for a non-smoker due to exposure of second-hand smoke. Tobacco smoke is made up of many dangerous vapors and when inhaled can be dangerous to anyone who is breathing the smoke. Non-smokers may suffer from allergies, eye irritations, and headaches as a result of inhaling second-hand smoke. Many studies now show that second-hand smoke can have harmful effects to the non-smokers and may cause them to develop disease such as lung cancer and heart disease. Every person that breathes the smoke of tobacco is at risk for a tobacco related illness.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking actually kills more people than car accidents and alcohol. Those who have smoked have double the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke than a non-smoker. Studies have shown that if a non-smoker and a smoker are victims of the same disease then it is more likely it will be fatal for the smoker. Non-smokers normally live longer and are overall in better health than a smoker.

Smokers have high risks in addictions, disease and pregnancies. Smokers prefer their habit, rather than caring about the major health dilemma they are faced with. They tend to avoid anything that says they are wrong to continue smoking. This is one of the most serious problems that face our nation today. Each year, thousands die and more suffer from chronic disease due to prolonged smoking. Smokers say they need to smoke because it makes them feel good or more relaxed. In addition, it is possible a person may need to smoke more just because it is so addicting.

In conclusion, smoking kills people everyday. Quitting is the most difficult goal for smokers to obtain. Usually people attempt two to three tries to stop smoking, before finally being able to quit. Anyone can quit smoking; it does not matter about age, health or lifestyle. The decision to quit and the success of quitting depend on how much a person wants to. When a person continues to smoke, they are increasing the dangerous consequences of chronic health problems to themselves and jeopardizing the health of others.