Cigarette smoking has been around a little less than 500 years ago and despite its highly addictive and body damaging properties one will begin to wonder how it still is a highly sought after commodity in the world today.
According to WHO tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. While most cigarette packs carry the inscription smokers are liable to die young they, however, do not warn smokers about the other damages it could do to vital organs of the body such as the heart and lungs.
Nicotine which is the main chemical contained in tobacco becomes easily addictive because it releases dopamine (one of the four happy chemicals) which in turn activates the reward system of the brain encouraging the user to repeat the behavior over and over again. This type of addiction can affect the human body and brain. The body may become psychologically and or physically dependent hence normal cognition is affected, individuals cannot function properly unless he/she smokes. Studies have also shown that third-hand smoke is a health hazard for people in environments where smoking occurs.
The deleterious effects of smoking on major organs are a major worry as these effects tend to accumulate over time often presenting itself after years and years of smoking.
On the heart, Nicotine the major component of cigarette smoke raises blood pressure by at least 6%. More damaging, tobacco can damage arterial wall lining causing arteries to narrow and increasing blood pressure. Atherosclerosis denotes the thickening of the artery thereby blocking the flow of blood is caused majorly by smoking. Additionally, smoking is a prodigious cause for the development of heart failure for people with congestive heart failure because less oxygen is carried by the blood during exercise and at rest.
Smoking also has deleterious effects on the lungs, causing various respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Active smoking has also been estimated to be the major cause of 90% of lung cancer cases. Do you still need to smoke?
The effects of smoking on the buccal cavity are also worrisome, it causes staining of the teeth, gum damage, and halitosis. Smoking has been found to be the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer too.
Smoking also has dangerous effects on reproduction and fertility alike. In men, it can affect penile blood supply due to its damage to blood vessels and also affect the accessory reproductive organs. For women, smoking can decrease the number of ova produced by the ovaries and also causes early aging of the ovaries. For pregnant women, the effects of smoking are equally dangerous creating significant health problems for the baby.
Smoking has also been recognized as a risk factor for osteoporosis (a condition whereby bones become brittle and weak) and also bone fracture.
Our brain: the multifunctional powerhouse of the body is not spared from the harmful effects of smoking as it is a major risk factor for cerebrovascular diseases like stroke.
The skin also suffers when people smoke noticeably causing untimely aging of the skin and makes the skin look grey and leaden.
Contrary to beliefs E-cigarettes and vaping devices are also dangerous as they contain nicotine. The effects of smoking are riskier than whatever reward the user may gain from its use.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.