Why is Smoking Bad For Your Health?

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Smoking is legal but it is not good for health. Even the manufacturers of cigarettes make it a point to warn the consumer that smoking is bad for health. Cigarettes contain tobacco, the only plan that has a drug called nicotine. Nicotine has the ability to kill a human in less than an hour if injected into the blood stream, even in small quantities. It is a strong poison. Tobacco contains very minute amount of nicotine that is not deadly but produce negative effects on the health.

There are over 4000 chemicals in the tobacco smoke; most of them are extremely harmful for human body. The harmful chemicals found in the cigarettes include: carbon monoxide, nitrites, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, Sulphur compounds, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, vinyl chloride, etc. These chemicals mix together and form a sticky tar. The smell and color of the cigarette is caused by the tar. In addition, tar sticks to skin, lungs and clothing.

Diseases Caused by Smoking
The combination of nicotine and tar can cause a number of dangerous, even fatal diseases such as various types of cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease. In fact, smoking can harm nearly every organ of the body. Each year, 40,000 people die from diseases caused by smoking. It has been estimated that each cigarettes reduce your life by 5 to 8 minutes.

Lung Diseases
Tar adheres to the inside of the lungs and is very dangerous. It attaches itself to the cilia in the lungs that have the function of sweeping out dirt and germs. Hence, when cilia are covered in tar, it is unable to perform its function properly. As a result, dirt and germs stay in the lungs and cause diseases. And the damage does not stop at the cilia. Every cigarette smoke can cause damage to breathing and scar the lungs. It can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Smoking is considered as the number one risk factor for cancer, especially lung cancer. In fact, there are 70 chemicals found in a cigarette that can cause cancer. It can cause cancer in the lungs, esophagus, trachea, bronchus, oral cavity, nasopharynx, lip, nasal cavity, stomach, bladder, larynx, pancreas, liver, kidney, colon, uterine cervix and rectum. It is also known to cause leukemia.

Autoimmune Diseases
Smoking compromises the immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body from disease and infection. Hence, smokers are more likely to have respiratory infections than non-smokers. It causes several autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Smoking has been recently discovered to contribute to type 2 diabetes with smokers 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop it.

Bones Problems
Smoking decreases bone density and increase the risk for osteoporosis, in which bones become weaken and more likely to fracture. It has been seen that older men and women who smoke suffers from significant bone loss. Quitting smoking can decrease the risk for low bone mass and fracture, but it may take several years. Smoking can also initiate early onset of menopause as it lowers the hormone estrogen in the body.

Heart Diseases
The chemicals found in tobacco can harm your blood cells and cause damage to the function of your heart. The damage can increase the risk for: Atherosclerosis ‘“ buildup of waxy substance in the arteries, Aneurysms ‘“ potentially fatal bulging blood vessels, Cardiovascular disease ‘“ heart related diseases including coronary heart disease, heart attack, chest pain and high blood pressure and Stroke ‘“ sudden death of brain cells due to bleeding or blood clots.

Dental Problems
Smoking can also results in dental problems such as bad breath, tooth discoloration, inflammation of the salivary glands, buildup plaque and tartar on the teeth, loss of jaw bone mass, leukoplakia, gum diseases and oral cancer.

Passive Smoking is As Bad
Unfortunately, you don’t have to smoke actively to get sick from tobacco smoke. Passive smoking, which means breathing the smoke from someone else’s cigarette, can cause sickness as well. Passive smoking is as bad as active smoking. Passive smoking, also called second-hand smoke, kills hundreds of people every year. Children with smoking parents have a higher chance of getting tonsillitis, asthma, bronchitis and ear infections. Children who are exposed to smoke from birth have underdeveloped lungs and are two to four times more likely to suffer from allergic reactions and asthma.

Light and Menthol Cigarettes Are Not Safer
Light cigarettes are as bad for health as normal ones. There is no thing as safe cigarette. Any type of cigarette puts you at increased risk for smoke related diseases. The same is true for menthol cigarettes as oppose to common assumption by many smokers. Menthol cigarettes also damage almost every organ of the body and cause many diseases. In fact, there have been studies showing that menthol cigarettes are more addictive than regular cigarettes.

Cigars and Pipes Causes Same Health Problems
The negative effects of smoking are not limited to cigarettes. All forms of tobacco, including pipe and cigars, produce similar detrimental impacts on health as cigarettes. The death rate associated with cigar and pipe smoker is lower than cigarette smokers but still higher than non-smokers. The tobacco used in pipes and cigars is not safer rather the extent of inhalation is lower than cigarette. If cigars and pipes are inhaled deeply, they are more dangerous and harmful.

In short, smoking of any kind ‘“ cigarettes, cigars or pipes cause significantly harmful effects on your health. In fact, smoking can kill you. There is no way to smoke safely. Hence, you should never smoke and if you are a smoker quit as soon as possible. Quitting smoking can partially reverse the damaged caused by smoking but it takes several years.

Author: Zaib Fatima Rizvi

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