Many people think or the idea of smoking as a cool way to show off or think how cool it is to smoke and puff out that smoke from within. Also, others think it relieves stress and makes you feel better.
You are wrong!
The post-consumption effects of any drug (including tobacco) vary from person to person. There are various factors on how tobacco affects a person like things including their size, weight and health, also whether the person is used to taking it. The effects of tobacco, as with any drug, also depend on the amount taken.
In Australia, tobacco use or better we can say abuse as the correct word is responsible for approximately 15,000 deaths each year. In 2004–2005 approximately three-quarters of a million hospital bed-days were a result of tobacco use.
What harmful chemicals does tobacco smoke contain?
Since these things are made by humans, and for monetary benefit people tend to make use of cheap ways to make handsome profits always across any product. This is tobacco which as such harmful and now you can imagine if you consume the processed form of it how much of adulteration they have.
Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Breathing even a little tobacco smoke can be harmful.
Of more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful, including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Among the 250 known harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 69 can cause cancer. These cancer-causing chemicals include the following:
Arsenic - is used to preserve wood. Some arsenic compounds have been linked to cancer of the lung, skin, liver, and bladder.
Benzene - is used to manufacture other chemicals. It can cause cancer, particularly leukemia, in humans.
Butadiene - is a chemical used to manufacture rubber. It is considered to be a carcinogenic chemical that can cause certain blood cancers.
Cadmium - is a metal used to make batteries. Cadmium and cadmium compounds can cause lung cancer and have been associated with kidney and prostate cancer.
Chromium - is used to make alloy metals, paint and dyes. Chromium VI compounds cause lung cancer and have been associated with cancer of the nose and nasal sinuses.
Formaldehyde - This is used to make other chemicals and resins. It is also used as a preservative. Formaldehyde causes leukemia and cancer in respiratory tissues.
Polonium-210 - Polonium is a radioactive element that has been shown to cause cancer in animals.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Tar - It is not one single chemical, instead it describes several chemicals that are in tobacco smoke. It leaves a sticky, brown residue on your lungs, teeth and fingernails.
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There is no safe level of tobacco use.
Use of any drug always carries some risk—even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug. It is a general norm that anything in limited quantity or moderate consumption is not going to harm us. But in case of any drugs, tobacco, alcohol or in any form is considered to be better if not at all consumed.
What are some of the health problems caused by cigarette smoking?
Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death worldwide. Cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause about 480,000 premature deaths each year in the United States.
Of those premature deaths, about 36% are from cancer, 39% are from heart disease and stroke, and 24% are from lung disease. Mortality rates among smokers are about three times higher than among people who have never smoked.
Smoking harms almost every organ and organ system in the body and diminishes a person’s overall health. Smoking causes cancers of the lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukaemia.
Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in an artery in the chest), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts, and worsens asthma symptoms in adults. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other airway infections. In addition, smoking causes inflammation and impairs immune function.
Since the 1960s, as compared with the nonsmokers - a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer or COPD has actually increased, even though the number of cigarettes consumed per smoker has decreased.
There have also been changes over time in the type of lung cancer smokers develop – a decline in squamous cell carcinomas but a dramatic increase in adenocarcinomas. Both of these shifts may be due to changes in cigarette design and composition, in how tobacco leaves are cured, and in how deeply smokers inhale cigarette smoke and the toxicants it contains.
Smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant. A pregnant smoker is at higher risk of miscarriage, having an ectopic pregnancy, having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low birth weight, and having her baby born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate.
A woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her infant’s risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Men who smoke are at greater risk of erectile dysfunction.
The longer a smoker’s duration of smoking, the greater their likelihood of experiencing harm from smoking, including earlier death. However, regardless of their age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease, including cancer, by quitting.
Carbon monoxide & nicotine: A dangerous duo
Duo in indoor outdoor or console games are fun and all but here we are talking about something serious, your health.
Carbon monoxide, methane, carbon dioxide all these we might have heard or come across as the cause towards global warming. Imagine these affecting in your body, scary right?
Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas you inhale when you smoke. Once in your lungs, it’s transferred to your bloodstream. Carbon monoxide decreases the amount of oxygen that is carried in the red blood cells. It also increases the amount of cholesterol that is deposited into the inner lining of the arteries which, over time, can cause the arteries to harden. This leads to heart disease, artery disease and possibly heart attack.
On the other hand, as we all know nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical. It can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries (vessels that carry blood). Nicotine may also contribute to the hardening of the arterial walls, which in turn, may lead to a heart attack. This chemical can stay in your body for six to eight hours depending on how often you smoke. Also, as with most addictive substances, there are some side effects of withdrawal. And some e-cigarettes and newer tobacco products deliver even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes.
Remember, companies want to sell their products anyhow, we shouldn‘t be duped by their ads or any such thing. It is always a cost to us be it at the initial stage(buying products) or be it in the later stage (paying medical bills, pills, etc).
What are the risks of tobacco smoke to nonsmokers?
Secondhand smoking (also called environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoking, and passive smoking) is the combination of ‘side-stream‘ smoke (the smoke given off by a burning tobacco product) and ‘mainstream’ smoke (the smoke exhaled by a smoker).
Various health and research agencies have classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). Inhaling secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.
Approximately 7,300 lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
An estimate says that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30%.
Secondhand smoke causes disease and premature death in nonsmoking adults and children. Exposure to secondhand smoke irritates the airways and has immediate harmful effects on a person’s heart and blood vessels. It increases the risk of heart disease by an estimated 25 to 30%.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is estimated to cause about 34,000 deaths from heart disease each year.
Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of having a baby with a small reduction in birth weight. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of SIDS, ear infections, colds, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
Secondhand smoke exposure can also increase the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms among children who have asthma. Being exposed to secondhand smoke slows the growth of children’s lungs and can cause them to cough, wheeze, and feel breathless.
Are other tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco or pipe tobacco, harmful and addictive?
Any drug, be it medicine based or drugs consumed for pleasures, all forms of tobacco are harmful and addictive. There is no safe tobacco product. In addition to cigarettes, other forms of tobacco include smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes, hookahs (water-pipes), bidis, and kreteks.
Smokeless tobacco: Smokeless tobacco is a type of tobacco that is not burned. It includes chewing tobacco, oral tobacco, spit or spitting tobacco, dip, chew, snus, dissolvable tobacco, and snuff. Smokeless tobacco causes oral (mouth, tongue, cheek and gum), oesophageal, and pancreatic cancers and may also cause gum and heart disease.
Cigars: These include premium cigars, little filtered cigars (LFCs), and cigarillos. LFCs resemble cigarettes, but both LFCs and cigarillos may have added flavors to increase appeal to youth and young adults. Most cigars are composed primarily of a single type of tobacco (air-cured and fermented), and have a tobacco leaf wrapper. Studies have found that cigar smoke contains higher levels of toxic chemicals than cigarette smoke, although unlike cigarette smoke, cigar smoke is often not inhaled. Cigar smoking causes cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, oesophagus, and lung. It may also cause cancer of the pancreas. Moreover, daily cigar smokers, particularly those who inhale, are at increased risk for developing heart disease and other types of lung disease.
Pipes: In pipe smoking, the tobacco is placed in a bowl that is connected to a stem with a mouthpiece at the other end. The smoke is usually not inhaled. Pipe smoking causes lung cancer and increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, and oesophagus.
Hookah or water-pipe: A hookah is a device used to smoke tobacco (often heavily flavored) by passing the smoke through a partially filled water bowl before being inhaled by the smoker. Although some people think hookah smoking is less harmful and addictive than cigarette smoking, research shows that hookah smoke is at least as toxic as cigarette smoke.
Bidis: A bidi is a flavored cigarette made by rolling tobacco in a dried leaf from the tendu tree, which is native to India. Bidi use is associated with heart attacks and cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, and lung.
Kreteks: A kretek is a cigarette made with a mixture of tobacco and cloves. Smoking kreteks is associated with lung cancer and other lung diseases.
Is smoking addictive?
With the number of cases and deaths all across worldwide you can somehow guess that smoking is highly addictive. Nicotine is the drug primarily responsible for a person’s addiction towards tobacco products, including cigarettes.
The addiction to cigarettes and other tobacco products that nicotine causes is similar to the addiction produced by using drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine is present naturally in the tobacco plant. But tobacco companies intentionally design cigarettes to have enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.
The amount of nicotine that gets into the body is determined by the way a person smokes a tobacco product and by the nicotine content and design of the product. Nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth and the lungs and travels to the brain in a matter of seconds. Taking more frequent and deeper puffs of tobacco smoke increases the amount of nicotine absorbed by the body which makes your head feel lighter.
Is it harmful to smoke just a few cigarettes a day?
There is no safe level of smoking. Smoking even just one cigarette per day over a lifetime can cause smoking-related cancers (lung, bladder, and pancreas) and premature death.
What are the immediate health benefits of quitting smoking?
The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial:
Heart rate and blood pressure, which are abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal.
Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. (Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.)
Within a few weeks, people who quit smoking have improved circulation, produce less phlegm, and don’t cough or wheeze as often.
Within several months of quitting, people can expect substantial improvements in lung function.
Within a few years of quitting, people will have lower risks of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases than if they had continued to smoke.
The sooner you quit, the sooner you'll notice changes to your body and health. Let’s take a look on the timeline at what happens when you quit for good.
After 20 minutes - Check your pulse rate, it will already be starting to return to normal.
After 8 hours - Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will have reduced by half.
After 48 hours - All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.
After 72 hours - If you notice that breathing feels easier, it's because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy will be increasing.
After 2 to 12 weeks - Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.
After 3 to 9 months - Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases by up to 10%.
After 1 year - Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker's.
After 10 years - More great news! Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker's.
What are the long-term health benefits of quitting smoking?
As we saw above quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and many other diseases, such as heart disease and COPD, caused by smoking.
Different survey shows that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely to die from smoking-related illness than those who continue to smoke. Smokers who quit before age 40 reduce their chance of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases by about 90%, and those who quit by age 45-54 reduce their chance of dying prematurely by about two-thirds.
Regardless of their age, people who quit smoking have substantial gains in life expectancy, compared with those who continue to smoke. Another survey also shows that those who quit between the ages of 25 and 34 years live about 10 years longer; those who quit between ages 35 and 44 live about 9 years longer; those who quit between ages 45 and 54 live about 6 years longer; and those who quit between ages 55 and 64 live about 4 years longer.
Also, a study that followed a large group of people age 70 and older found that even smokers who quit smoking in their 60s had a lower risk of mortality during follow-up than smokers who continued smoking.
Is it important for someone diagnosed with cancer to quit smoking?
Quitting smoking improves the prognosis of cancer patients. For patients with some cancers, quitting smoking at the time of diagnosis may reduce the risk of dying by 30% to 40%. For those having surgery, chemotherapy, or other treatments, quitting smoking helps improve the body’s ability to heal and respond to therapy. It also lowers the risk of pneumonia and respiratory failure. In addition, quitting smoking may lower the risk that the cancer will relapse, that a second cancer will develop, or that the person will die from the cancer or other causes.
A short summary on why you should quit smoking
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States.
Almost one third of deaths from coronary heart disease are due to smoking and secondhand smoke.
Smoking is linked to about 90% of lung cancer cases in the United States.
Smoking rates overall are down, but too many adults still smoke, vape and use other forms of tobacco, especially between the ages of 21 and 34.
About half of U.S. children ages 3-11 are exposed to secondhand smoke.
On average, smokers die more than 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
You can be one of the millions of people who successfully quit every year.
Effective Ways To Quit Smoking
Nicotine and tobacco cravings can feel like they are in control when you decide to quit smoking. With the help of some useful tools, you may be able to conquer the cravings and kick the habit for good. Remember that your long-term health will thank you for avoiding the nicotine.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy- Your primary care physician can help you understand medical smoking cessation options. There are a variety of nicotine replacement drugs that can help you wean your body off the physical addiction without some of the painful side effects of quitting.
Changing Your Routine- Many smokers have incorporated smoking into their daily routine. Coffee and cigarette in the morning, a quick smoke break at work, a walk with friends - all of these are natural triggers that your body associated with smoking. By changing your routine, you can ditch the behavioural hints that tell your body it’s time for a smoke.
Delay- If you’re craving a cigarette, tell yourself to wait 10 more minutes. Start retraining yourself to do other things whenever a craving strikes.
Find Something Else- Trying out gum, low sugar lollipops, and other hard candies can be a great replacement for the desire to put a cigarette in your mouth. Make sure it’s something satisfying that takes some time to chew.
Replace your thoughts - Instead of when your mind tells you that you want a cigarette, replace the words with I want to try a different candy or some thing healthier. This small psychological change will also help your mind to be strong enough to hold those cravings.
Think about the cost - Anything unhealthy is going to cost you for short and long period altogether. If you keep smoking from young age you are spending on cigarettes. You may or may not feel any effects for the time being. But at later stages, once you face all the health issues, you will have to further pay for those therapies, treatments and cures and so on and so forth.
Remind Yourself Why You’re Quitting Smoking
When you consider the health consequences of smoking, it’s easier to remember why you’ve stopped. Here are just a few ways smoking takes a toll on you:
Smoking damages your blood vessels and increases your risk of atherosclerosis.
Coronary Heart Disease occurs when the plaque builds up over time resulting in heart attacks, arrhythmias, and even death.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) can cause your body to have a hard time breathing and distributing oxygen around the body.
The risk of stroke at an early age increases and can even cause an increase in the severity of the stroke.
If you’re suffering from Coronary Heart Disease, Atherosclerosis, or any other heart symptoms from smoking, please visit your cardiologist to help manage the symptoms as early as possible.
The Bottom Line
Cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products contain many dangerous toxins. The best thing you can do for your health is to quit tobacco entirely.
Don’t spend the rest of your life chained to a nicotine addiction. Thousands of people kick the habit every year, and you can be one of them. It may not be easy, but you can do it!