Negative health effects of smoking
By JONES H. MUNANG’ANDU -
SMOKING accounts for nearly 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths worldwide. Additionally, smokers are at an increased risk of cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas.
While some negative health effects of smoking manifest slowly over time, others can be measured almost immediately. Sticky brown tar leaves yellow stains on fingers and teeth. Some of the inhaled tar is absorbed by lung cells, causing them to die. Tar also damages the cilia in the upper airways that protect against infection.
Nicotine causes arteries to constrict, lowering skin temperature and reducing blood flow to the hands and feet. Carbon monoxide deprives the body of oxygen, binding to red blood cells in place of the oxygen molecule and forcing the heart to pump more blood through the body.
One-third of smoking-related deaths are caused by coronary heart disease or chronic airway obstruction. For example, the nicotine in tobacco combines with carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke to damage the lining of blood vessels and make blood platelets stickier.
Platelets form part of the damaging plaque build-up in artery walls.
These effects in combination contribute to the development of heart diseases. Smoking also increases the risk of stroke by 50 per cent among men and 60 per cent among women. Other research has shown that mothers who smoke give birth more frequently to premature or underweight babies, probably because of a decrease in blood flow to the placenta. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
In addition, Cigar and pipe smoke contains the same toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in cigarette smoke. Rates of coronary heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis are elevated for cigar and pipe smokers and are correlated to the amount of smoking and the degree of inhalation.
Studies have found that cigarettes are addictive because an unknown component of tobacco smoke appears to destroy an important brain enzyme known as monoamine oxidase B (MAO B). The enzyme is vital for breaking down excess amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that triggers pleasure-seeking behaviour.
Smokers have decreased levels of MAO B and abnormally high levels of dopamine, which may encourage the smoker to seek the pleasure of more tobacco smoke.
Even non-smokers are at risk from smoking. Recent research has focused on the effects of environmental tobacco smoke that is, the effect of tobacco smoke on non-smokers who must share the same environment with a smoker.
Secondhand smoke can aggravate asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis, and impair blood circulation.
The smoking habit and addiction to nicotine usually begin at an early age.
In my personal inquiry, more than 90 per cent of adults who smoke started by age 21, and nearly half of them were regular smokers by the age of 18.
Despite increasing warnings about the health hazards of smoking and widespread bans on smoking in public places, smoking remains common among teenagers and young adults.
Studies of former smokers show that their risk of dying from smoking-related diseases decrease with each year of abstinence.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), smokers who quit smoking before the age of 50 reduce their risk of life-threatening disease by half after just one year, compared with those who continue smoking.
Other benefits of quitting smoking include more disposable income, admission to social activities and institutions that ban smoking. Nonetheless, to quit smoking is difficult, most likely because smokers crave the effect of the nicotine in the smoke.
Smoking cessation methods are plentiful, and many books and products are available to help an individual stop smoking.
Many smokers turn to group help because of the support and understanding provided by other former smokers or people trying to quit.
Most successful group-help techniques involve a challenge and reward system that also bolsters the self-discipline of the former smoker.
A number of nicotine replacement products are available to help a person quit smoking.
Nicotine patches and nicotine-containing adhesive disks that must be applied to the skin are also very helpful.
The nicotine is slowly absorbed through the skin and enters the bloodstream.
Over time, a smoker uses nicotine patches containing smaller and smaller doses of nicotine until eventually the craving for nicotine ends.
Nicotine gum works in a similar manner, providing small doses of nicotine when chewed.
A nicotine nasal spray is a physician-prescribed spray that relieves cravings for a cigarette by delivering nicotine to the nasal membranes.
Also available by prescription, the nicotine inhaler looks like a cigarette and when puffed the inhaler releases nicotine into the mouth.
Furthermore, an approach combining three different smoking cessation therapies has found remarkable success.
This approach combines an antidepressant drug called bupropin, marketed under the brand name Zyban, with a nicotine replacement product and counseling.
While less than 25 per cent of smokers who use nicotine replacement products alone remain smoke-free for more than a year, 40 to 60 per cent of smokers using this combination approach achieved this milestone.
The author motivational speaker, health commentator & Health practitioner. Email firstname.lastname@example.org mobile; 0966565670, 0979362525.