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Dangers of Smoking

Dr. Maisie M
Smokers never become old simply because they die younger! Taking in those first few puffs of smoke as a teenager is never a conscious decision. The initial choice of smoking is made when the implications of tobacco use and its addiction are not very clear.
Do you think a single drag of smoke would cost you not more than a few quick bucks? Think again... If you add up all future health expenses to it, then you'll realize that it actually may cost you a huge fortune.
Now let's closely examine what happens when you slowly inhale smoke... It enters your respiratory system and causes irritation to the delicate mucosal lining in the lungs. This is because the cigarette smoke consists of a mixture of toxic chemicals like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nicotine that can severely harm your respiratory system.
The lung's defense mechanism instantly tries to throw these toxic fumes out of the body. And hence you start coughing! You continue to inhale smoke further until it paralyzes the protective lining and crumples your lungs and then your immune system. Now... the cough disappears and the toxic gases travel through your blood to other body systems.
Once nicotine enters the liver, it starts acting like a drug and stimulates the secretion of blood glucose. At the same time, it acts on the brain causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. It stays in the blood for quite some time before it's excreted by the kidney and liver.
You can see how just one drag of smoke has the capacity to not only compromise your immunity but also make way for foreign bodies like bacteria, viruses, and the like thus inviting a host of illnesses.
How good does that feel! Not to mention that this euphoria wears off within minutes wanting you to smoke more and more, to retain that effect.

Here, you are! Hooked... helpless... and how...

... smokers suffer from such direct damage on a daily basis with each passing cigarette.
It should be noted that cigarettes affect not only the lungs, but also most of the vital organs of the body including the brain and the heart. There is hardly any system in the human body which is not affected by smoking.
Cigarette smoking is one of the major risk factors for hypertension and fatal heart attacks. The chemicals in the smoke develop atherosclerosis and lower supply of oxygen to the heart leading to cardiovascular diseases.
However, there's still a glimmer of hope given that the damage already caused due to the smoke can be reversed. Once you quit smoking successfully, the risk of developing a heart disease or stroke is the same as you never smoked.
The effect of smoking in causing stroke and brain hemorrhage is due to deposition of plaque in blood vessels. This causes narrowing of blood vessels and reduced blood circulation that may lead to stroke and paralysis. Smoking may also cause gangrene due to clogged arteries.
The toxins in smoke can cause lung disorders like emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchitis. This is because the alveolar sacs in the bronchioles that are functional in oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange are damaged.
Smoker's cough is a common, and develops as the defense system tries to expel the chemicals accumulated in the air passage and lungs. Gradually, the respiratory system becomes more prone to infections due to lowered immunity.
Smoking impacts women's health by causing infertility, miscarriages, complicated pregnancies and early menopause.
Smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding can have hazardous effects on the baby in early childhood and growth years. Smoking may cause sperm abnormalities leading to infertility in men.

Other Effects

Nicotine affects the bones, joints and muscles of the body. A single cigarette contains about 9 mg of nicotine, most of which is burnt off and 1 mg enters your body with each cigarette that you smoke. This small amount of nicotine can cause severe harm. It causes osteopenia, osteoporosis, and hence increased chances of fractures and tissue injuries.
Smoking may cause loss of taste, bad breath, dental caries, stained teeth, mouth sores and receding gums. Dry mouth and loss of appetite are some signs of addiction to smoking.

Stats about Smoking

√ About 33% of male adult population (global) smokes.
√ Time cut down from one's lifespan is approximately equal to the time indulged in smoking.
√ Every minute, seven people die of tobacco use.
√ 49 known carcinogenic compounds and 4000 other toxins are contained in a single cigarette.
√ More than 90% of lung cancer deaths are due to cigarette smoking.
√ The cost that smokers impose on US economy is more than $193 billion a year.
The effects of smoking are increased by manifold due to the gateway effects. Two important gateways are children choosing to smoke due to their parents; and the second gateway is that these puffs lead to many other addictions, even drug abuse.
Medical costs incurred from the tobacco-related illnesses and complicated pregnancies could be the direct costs affecting the national economy. Lower work-efficiency, dropping of earnings, higher medical expenses, early retirement (if ever) put an additional burden on the growth and economy.
A common notion ~ 'Smoking is a great stress-buster and helps me unwind.'
The fact ~ 'Smoking kills' slowly & miserably. It's invariably nothing but planning a surprise suicide encounter for later.'

So next time you see a warning on a pack of cigarettes which says, 'SMOKING KILLS', you know How!