Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Risks Of Cigarette Smoking

At one time, smoking was considered a harmless and fun activity. Celebrities smoked, game shows advertised cigarettes, and little was known about the health effects caused by the habit. Today, research has shown cigarette smoking should not be considered harmless or fun. Smoking can be dangerous to the smoker's health and to the health of those around them.

What Makes Cigarettes So Dangerous?

Cigarettes contain more 4,000 different chemicals, at least 400 of which are considered toxic or poisonous. This includes substances such as nicotine, tar, benzene, methanol, acetylene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde, arsenic, acetone, DDT, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia. Nicotine is addictive, which gets smokers hooked on cigarettes. It creates a feeling of pleasantness by affecting the brain and the nervous system. In this way it is just like any other drug such as heroin or cocaine.

How Harmful Can it be Really?

Cigarettes are known to be the cause of at least 25 serious diseases and 11 different types of cancer. According to surveys, about 45.3 million or nearly 20 percent of adults in the United States are smokers, and smoking is responsible for at least 438,000 deaths every year. Smoking can cause chronic lung and pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, stroke, aneurysms, leukemia, cataracts and pneumonia and can lead to bladder, esophageal, lung, oral, throat, cervical, kidney, stomach and pancreatic cancers.

Risks of Passive Smoking

People who smoke not only put themselves but also their loved ones in danger as well. Passive smoking is just as harmful. Smoking during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, premature delivery or still birth. Children of smokers often suffer from health problems caused by second-hand smoke, such as middle ear infections, breathing problems and chronic bronchitis and asthma. According to a study, smoking cost Americans about $193 billion in 2004, and this includes not just the cost of the pack but also cost of time wasted and health costs.

Is It Just Cigarettes?

These harmful effects are linked to tobacco, so cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff and even exotic forms such as kreteks, bidis,hookahs and flavored sheeshas are just as dangerous. Studies show menthol cigarettes are more dangerous as the pleasant effects of menthol induce the smokers to inhale deeper and keep the smoke in their lungs longer and also makes it hard for them to quit. The only ways to avoid the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco use is not to start or to quit and to take measures to avoid second-hand smoke as well.

Help for Quitting

A number of ways to quit are available, including nicotine gums and patches, nicotine-replacement therapy, drugs designed to control the immediate symptoms of quitting and support groups. Quitting will also show immediate benefits such as improved appetite, better taste function and lung function and circulation improvement and will lead to a lowered risk of heart and lung diseases and cancer in the long run.

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