Do you know that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths? People die because of smoking yet these deaths can be prevented. For example in the United States, cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million people every year (Edlin, Golanty, & Brown, 2000). As students, some of us smoke while others have different thoughts about cigarette smoking. Well, are you aware of the contents of a cigarette? It contains more than 500 harmful chemical additives such as hydrogen cyanide, mothball, ammonia, and carbon monoxide. Smokers inhale all these chemical substances. For this reason, I want to inform you today on the effects of smoking cigarette.
Many people smoke because they are not entirely aware of its dangerous effects. It causes severe and potentially fatal health problems to the body. For instance, smoking presents detrimental effects to the respiratory system. It affects the lungs by causing mucus accumulation and paralyzing cilia, which coat the lungs airwave from any harmful substances. When cilia are paralyzed, there is mucus buildup in the lungs, and a smoker will find it hard to remove the mucus from the lungs. Elders (1997) posits that smoking causes a persistent cough because it is the only way lungs try to clear harmful irritants inhaled during smoking. It is also known to cause several cancer types such as lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and throat cancer because of the inhalation of toxic substances. Cardiovascular, immune, and gastrointestinal systems are potential areas that are affected by cigarette smoking.
Smoking cigarette does not only harm the smoker but also other people. For instance, passive smokers and unborn children have born the brunt of smoking. Pregnant women and those exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of experiencing stillbirths, ectopic pregnancy, and spontaneous abortions. Smoking exposes the fetus to potentially harmful substances hence are significantly susceptible to cleft palates and lips, infancy leukemia, irregular blood pressure, and attention deficit disorder. Edlin, Golanty, and Brown (2000) agree that the body weight of a baby born of a smoking woman is six ounces less than a child of a non-smoking female. Apart from pregnant mothers, children and adults exposed to involuntary smoking are at risk of acute lower respiratory tract infections, lung cancer, eye and nose infections, and heart diseases. Also, passive smokers living with a smoker have a 20 to 30 percent risk to develop lung cancer (Pattinson, Taylor, & Pattinson, 1991).
Smoking is addictive. Cigarette contains nicotine, and after days or weeks of smoking, new smokers shows addiction signs such as irritability and having an unstoppable urge to smoke as their bodies desire for nicotine dose. Cigarette smoking leads to the alterations in the brain, and it starts depending on nicotine. When smoking stops, withdrawal syndrome sets in as the brain is trying to adapt to the new changes. People who smoke find it uncomfortable to halt the habit because nicotine addiction is irresistible as it brings pleasurable sensations and will end slipping up. This addiction is the reason why smokers fail to not only triumph over their nicotine dependence but also unsuccessfully control their psychological tie to cigarette use. Tobacco companies add additives to cigarettes to increase their attractiveness hence a continued use of cigarette.
Smoking also affects the sexual organs. Nicotine is suspected to have harmful consequences on sexual performance because it constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the sex organs hence there is a limited response of erectile tissues when stimulated. Male smokers have a greater risk for low sperm count, damage to blood vessels to the penis, deformed and genetically damaged sperms. The sex drive of smokers is notably reduced because of low testosterone production. Women smokers have reduced fertility, irregular menstrual cycle or absence of menstruation, early menopause, and cervical cancer.
Despite the adverse effects associated with cigarettes, it has its benefits. Cigarette smoking suppresses appetite hence smokers are less likely to develop obesity as compared to non-smokers. This is because nicotine increases the level of adrenaline which dumps glucose to the blood. Hunger is reduced because the suppression of insulin enhances the retention of the sugar in the blood. Nicotine also helps in boosting the basal metabolic rate which activates weight loss.
Moreover, people who quit smoking are more likely to live longer than those who continue to smoke. This is determined by the number of years spent on smoking, the health status of the person at the time cigarette smoking is stopped, and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. An individual who stops smoking has a higher life expectancy as compared to a smoker because the chances of death caused by smoking related problems are reduced.
You now know the positive and adverse effects of smoking cigarette. Quitting smoking offers enormous health benefits, yet some damages it causes are just irreversible. The effects discussed here cause a sizeable harm to both cigarette smokers and passive smokers. Smoking causes the death of infants and risks the life of the mother as well. Pregnant women are at risk for ectopic pregnancy and stillbirths. Also, cigarette smoking affects the biological functions of sex organs by limiting the flow of blood hence are less likely to respond to any stimulation. Cigarette smoking also causes remarkable addiction among users. Therefore, next time when you see someone smoke close to you or want to introduce you to smoking, run.
Edlin, G., Golanty, E., & Brown, K. M. (2000). Essentials for health and wellness. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Elders, M. J. (1997). Preventing tobacco use among young people: A report of the Surgeon General. DIANE Publishing.
Pattinson, H. A., Taylor, P. J., & Pattinson, M. H. (1991). The effect of cigarette smoking on ovarian function and early pregnancy outcome of in vitro fertilization treatment. Fertility and sterility, 55(4), 780-783.
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