To Smoke or Not to Smoke: Tobacco Smoking Side Effects

Tobacco smoking has taken an alarming increase across the globe. Smoking habit in the west has very scary situations. More than 40 per cent of women and 65 per cent of men are in the habit of smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes in the developed countries. The very ill-effects of smoking are the higher incidence of mortality and morbidity. Many people have a notion that cigarette containing filters are less harmful. Filters are of little value in cutting down the amount of nicotine reaching the smokers lung.Quit SmokingImage courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

Reasons of smoking

The incidence of smoking is more common at a rather younger age generally before the age of 20. There are many factors which lead to smoking.

  • Smoking habits of parents
  • Friends who are addicted to smoke have a lot of influence.
  • Fun smoking at the tender age.
  • Stress, strain and tension
  • Family feud

Dangers of smoking

There are many dangers of smoking. Very few people appreciate that every puff smoked takes them much faster towards various ailments and shorten their life span. A study carried out by the British Medical Research Council on the basis of 40, 546 physicians surveyed. They found that among those smoking ten cigarette daily probably one will die from lung cancer every two years, those smoking 15 to 25 cigarette daily three will die every two years. Of those smoking 25 or more an average of slightly more than one will die yearly from the disease.

Smoking effects on health

Hardly any system in the body can escape from the harmful effect of tobacco smoking. The increased risks of mortality are higher among smokers as compared to non-smokers. A moderate smoker pays with 12.7 minutes of life for each cigarette he smokes while the heavy smokers pay with 11 hours of life for each packet of cigarette he smokes.

Consequences of smoking

Smoking is associated with many risk factors and consequences.

  • Smokers suffer from chronic cough, which is acute in the morning.
  • High risk of developing chronic bronchitis.
  • Recurrent distressing cough with or without expectorant.
  • Chest infection is common.
  • Chest become barrel shaped and the lungs become hyper distended.
  • Also affected the heart and may cause heart failure.
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic irritation and dryness of the throat.
  • Discoloring of teeth and offensive breath.
  • Eroding the enamel of teeth, thus the chances of falling of teeth increased.
  • Tobacco Amblyopia- a form of blindness

Smoking causes lung cancer

The most important risk factor associated with smoking is the increased incidence of lung cancer. It is responsible for about 90 per cent of all lungs cancers. In a study computed from 1920 to 1950, it was found that lung cancer fatalities increased ten times. The incidence of cancer of the lips, mouth and larynx is higher among the smokers. Tobacco chewer has a greater risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity. The risk of developing cancer of the mouth is mote amongst pipes and cigar smokers since they keep them longer in the mouth and so is exposed more to the irritants. Cancers of the urinary bladder and prostate have been found to be higher in smokers.

Smoking and heart disease

The cardiovascular system also bears the brunt of smoking. Cigarette smokers have greater risks of coronary artery disease as compared to non-smokers. A number of epidemiological studies have further corroborated that heavy smokers have increased the rate of heart attack 2.4 times in smokers as compared to non-smokers. Cigarette smoking may act as risk factors such as high blood pressure by elevating the serum cholesterol levels. Smoking significantly rises in blood pressure and an increase in the amount of blood being pumped by the heart and thus increases its work load. Smoking has been thought to affect the coronary vessels adversely by causing constriction to them. Smokers often suffer from a condition in which there is a spasm of blood vessels of the limbs accompanied by severe pain.

Cigarettes harmful contents

The most dangerous substances in tobacco are carbon monoxide, nicotine and tars. Carbon monoxide reduces the capacity of blood carry oxygen, while nicotine raises the heart rate and the person often gets palpitation. The presence of carbon monoxide in smoke leads to high levels of carboxyhaemoglobin which increases the frequency of angina attacks and shorten the duration of time interval before angina attacks. Nicotine increases the liberation of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine that increase work load upon heart. A cigarette smoke contains more than 12 billion tiny particles consisting mainly of tar and nicotine. The amount of tar from the smoke of one smoke of one cigarette is between 3 and 40 mg depending on the length of the cigarette. The tar in cigarette smoke contains nicotine, phenolic bodies, pyridine bases, ammonia, and other irritants.  Cigarette smoke is a mixture of gases, liquid particles and uncondensed vapours.

Smoking causes acidity

Gastric secretion increased remarkably after cigarette smoking. Gastric secretions have been found to be commoner among heavy smokers and so has been peptic ulcer, which is about twice as high in smokers than in non-smokers. Smoking negativities the healing of gastric ulcers and has a role to play in it’s non-healing. The effect is probably due to the nicotine content of the smoke.

Immediate smoking effects on women

Women are more sensitive to nicotine and enjoy smoking thereby become habituated to it. Menstrual problems like painful and frequent menstruation are common with women who are heavy smokers. They reach menopause earlier than women who are not smokers. Female smokers develop lack of normal sexual function and some even develop male characteristics like excessive hairiness. The risk of breast cancer increases with heavy smoker women. There is an evidence to show that women who smoke may increase their risk of breast cancer. Women who smoke have more difficulty during pregnancy and delivery. Smoking during pregnancy has adverse effects on the developing foetus. One out of every five miscarriage has been found to occur in women who are heavy smokers. A study conducted at Britain upon thousands of children where it was observed that physical and mental retardation at the age of 7 and 11 years in children was associated with heavy smoking during pregnancy by their mothers.

Women smoker in USA

Women started smoking at a rather late age. As per a study of US Public Health Services, 33 per cent of American women between 15-44 years age are cigarette smokers. Of about 2 million deaths reported from all cause in the United States, 47 per cent were from diseases associated with the use of Tobacco.

Major side effects of smoking on body

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchogenic carcinoma
  • Bronchitis
  •  Laryngitis
  • Angina
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Hypertension
  •  Reynaud’s disease
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic Ulcer,
  • Oesophagitis
  • Carcinoma mouth
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cirrhosis of liver
  • Cerebrovascular accidents
  • Stroke
  • Tobacco amblyyopia
  • Cancer of Urinary Bladder and prostate
  • Cancer prostate

How to quit smoking naturally?

  1. Forget will power
  2. Start thinking about it
  3. Watch and wait
  4. Start with a bang
  5. Make no exception
  6. Convince yourself
  7. Nicotine Patch (Transdermal Nicotine) is an effective method where a patch of medicine is placed on hairless area between the neck and waist. These patches are applied as soon as the patient gets up in the morning.
  8. Nicotine Gum is chewed until a peppery taste emerges. The person chews one gum on a fixed schedule (at least one piece every 1-2 hours) for at least 1-3 months.
  9. Nicotine Nasal Spray is used instead of smoking when the desire to smoke is bothersome.

These methods are best used under medical supervision but success in quitting smoking by this therapy is very encouraging.

The most difficult period after stopping smoking is the first two weeks. Many times an irresistible urge to smoke is experienced.  Best way to handle such a situation is to chew on something, may be raisin or a cardamom. Drinking a large amount of fluids and fruit juices during the last few days is advisable since it helps in the excretion of nicotine. s

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