Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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As a teenager in today?s society, I have a first hand account of the immense pressures that young adults are constantly faced with daily. Teenagers are forced to deal with issues such as drugs and alcohol, specifically smoking tobacco cigarettes, which include nicotine, a highly addictive ingredient in cigarettes. The effects of smoking are incredibly harmful and often fatal. Not only will smoking cigarettes change one?s appearance, but can also have many effects on the body?s everyday functions.

The part of the body most affected by cigarette smoke is obviously the respiratory system. Those who smoke develop ?smokers cough? and are often predisposed to emphysema and asthma. The body also loses it?s ability to fight against the common cold and the flu, therefore smokers are sick more often than nonsmokers. Cigarettes are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and increase the risk of getting lung cancer (also increase the risk of throat, lip, bladder, pancreatic, kidney and mouth cancer).

There are over four thousand chemicals found in cigarettes, many of which are found to be incredibly poisonous and toxic to the human body. The three major ingredients found in cigarettes are nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide. Nicotine is highly addictive, comparable to the strength of heroin?s addiction. Nicotine is so poisonous that if an adult were to swallow a mere drop of it, they would be killed. Tar, a carcinogen, is the main cause of lung and throat cancer in cigarettes. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and extremely toxic gas, which is taken up more readily by the lungs than oxygen. High levels of carbon monoxide in the blood is typical for smokers and increases the risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries and other circulatory problems.

The circulatory system is also greatly affected by cigarette smoke. Smoking tobacco narrows the arteries and veins, thus leading to high blood pressure. Smokers prominently have higher cholesterol levels than nonsmokers and are much more susceptible to contracting peripheral vascular disease in the hands and feet. Those who smoke are also at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths and should not be taken lightly. It is highly addictive, and causes numerous health problems that could, otherwise, easily be prevented.