Smoking and its harm effects
Smoking is a very usual thing for people who do it and they don’t notice anything harmful during the process. Some of them even don’t aware of how it may affect their health after. Today half of men and a quarter of women in the world are smoking.
Smoking is a practice when some substance is burned and smoke is breathed for tasting it and absorbing into the bloodstream. The most common substance that is used is dried leaves of the tobacco plants which is usually rolled in a square by rice paper and it creates a small cylinder – cigarette.
Cigarettes are mostly manufactured but in some case, people do their own by rolling tobacco in the paper. They are harmful to many parts of our organism such as skin, throat, mouth, esophagus, pancreas, stomach, lungs, heart, breasts, bladder and others. Cigarette smoke contains approximately 4, 000 chemicals which include 43 compounds that cause cancer. The main ingredients are nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, DDT. Tobacco smoke includes radioactive substances: bismuth, lead, polonium, and others. If to explore the composition of cigarettes, it is easy to understand, why smoking causes harm to human health, and what are its consequences.
There are some more devices and types of smoking:
- cigars or pipes (a big cigar has 40 times more nicotine than cigarette and it can cause mouth, throat, esophagus cancers)
- shishas or hookahs and moussal (smoking shisha leads to lip, mouth, and throat, lung, esophagus, stomach cancer)
- bidis (thin Indian cigarette with tobacco inside and have the same harmful effects as a regular one)
- vaporizes (a special tool used to vaporize ingredients like cannabis, tobacco or other herbs for the purpose of inhalation)
- bongs (filtration device used for smoking cannabis, tobacco, and other herbs)
- storing or chewing tobacco in the mouth (the effects on the body the same as from regular smoking)
Tobacco smoking became one of the popular forms of drug use. Regular consuming of this drug is becoming addictive. And it can lead to tobacco addiction in the end. When people are addicted they feel strong need to use the substance even if it harms them and brings negative results.
Actually, it is nicotine what is addictive in tobacco and each cigarette contains 10 milligrams of it and during consuming the smoker gets 1-2 milligrams.
A smoker pulls nicotine and other dangerous substances with each puff into the lungs where it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. After 8 seconds, nicotine harms the brain.
Nicotine is perceived as natural brain chemical acetylcholine. It is one the chemicals neurotransmitters which keep messages between brain cells. Brain cells (neurons) have specific receptors into which only particular neurotransmitters can fit. Nicotine locks into acetylcholine receptors what causing different changes in function of brain and body. For example, it increases heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Also, nicotine connects to acetylcholine receptors on neurons that release a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Generally, dopamine is released when feel good, pleasant like tasty food, doing favorite activity. Cigarettes make neurons to release excess dopamine and people who smoke can feel a strong desire to do it again and again for feeling good.
The mental and physical condition of the smoker, and the situation in which there is smoking, can cause feelings of relaxation and cheerfulness. In stressful situations, a cigarette has a calming effect, but in a situation of relaxation it works as a stimulant. Once the body gets used to a certain level of nicotine in the blood, it will seek to maintain it, and man again reaches for a cigarette.
Nicotine dependence is characterized by some specific patterns of use:
- Tolerance – when person is using bigger amount of drug each day for feeling the same effect.
- Withdrawal – is a group of symptoms which appear when person stop smoking. If you face these symptoms you can be sure about the additional stage of your nicotine dependence. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- cravings for tobacco
- sleep disturbance
- increased appetite and calorie intake
- drowsiness, fatigue, insomnia
- constipation or diarrhea
- The presence of dependent behavior (for instance, continued use of tobacco knowing it harms you and people who are surrounding you).
The effects of smoking on the body
It’s not a secret that tobacco smoke is very harmful to your health. All organism is affected by it, but let’s which systems and how can be harmed.
Central nervous system
As was noted before nicotine reaches your brain and works as nervous system stimulant so you can feel energized for short period of time but then so much tired.
Nicotine increases risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and poor eyesight. Also, it can dull the sense of taste and smell.
Smoking damages all cardiovascular system.
Nicotine makes blood vessels to tighten, which limits the flow of blood (peripheral artery disease). Also, smoking makes lower cholesterol levels and raises blood pressure what can lead to atherosclerosis.
Weakened blood vessels in the brain increase a risk of stroke. The long term smokers are in risk to get leukemia. There is a danger for second had smoker’s cardiovascular system too, they are in risk of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease.
When smoke goes into your lungs regularly, they are losing ability to filter chemicals. The toxins getting straight to the lungs as well because coughing cannot clear out them enough. According to this, smokers are in higher risk of respiratory infections, flu, colds.
Over time, smokers became prone to developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
Children who smell parent’s smoke are usually coughing, wheezing and tend to have asthma attacks, ear infection, bronchitis, pneumonia.
Integumentary system (skin, nails, hair)
Smoke change the structure of skin and causes skin discoloration, wrinkles. The nails usually become a bit yellow because of holding cigarette and hair keep the smell of tobacco for a long time after you finish smoking.
Smokers are in big risk of developing oral issues like gum inflammation and infection what can cause tooth loss, tooth decay.
Moreover, smokers can have a lot of types of cancer such as mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, kidney, and pancreatic cancers. And as smoking are developing in human’s body insulin resistance what increases risk of diabetes.
Both men and women are in risk to have problems with achieving orgasm and be infertile.
For women, smoking is also dangerous by developing menopause at early age and cervical cancer.
Pregnant women who are secondhand smokers or ordinary one, tend to have a baby with low birth weight, birth defects or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Treatment of nicotine abuse
First of all, remember that giving up smoking is really hard step, but it will bring very progressive positive changes to your health status. It increases your possibility to live longer even if you smoked for really long time.
The treatment includes reducing nicotine dependence by delivering it through less harmful methods – though the skin by nicotine patch (transdermal method) or oral and nasal tissue (nicotine gum, inhalers, nasal sprays).
Also, there is a possibility to apply for non-nicotine treatment by medications as bupropion SR and varenicline.
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