Friday, June 28, 2013

Dangerous Results Of Smoke

Harmful Effects of Smoke

Cigarette smoking and its impact on health has been examined for many decades. The harmful effects of tobacco smoke are of great concern to a growing number of medical institutions, governmental entities and individuals who seek to inform the general public about the inherent dangers of cigarette smoke, not only to the smoker but to others who are exposed to the smoke.

Elements of Tobacco Smoke

According to Medicine Net, tobacco is part of the herb genus Nicotiana, named for the French ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot, in the sixteenth century. Tobacco has been used for thousands of years, not only for consumption but also as incense in religious ceremonies. The burning of the tobacco leaf creates a vaporized gas, which when inhaled triggers chemical reactions in the brain and nervous system. Nicotine acts as a stimulant by causing the brain to release neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals induce states of euphoria and mental clarity and acuity.

Effects of Smoking on Health

The harmful effects of smoke on individuals who use tobacco products have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, including lung cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure and heart disease. While nicotine itself is not thought to be carcinogenic, the tar residue and carbon monoxide that are by-products of inhaling tobacco smoke are reported to be harmful to health. According to the National Cancer Institute, the addictive nature of nicotine is thought to encourage continuous use of tobacco, thereby increasing the potential for harmful effects on the body.

Second-hand Smoke

According to the National Cancer Institute, the burning of tobacco also creates what is commonly referred to as "second-hand smoke." The elements of second-hand smoke are "mainstream smoke," which is the smoke residue exhaled by the smoker and "sidestream smoke," which is the smoke from the burning embers of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Second-hand smoke contains anywhere from 200 to 4,000 chemicals that may have debilitating effects on those who are in the vicinity of tobacco smoke.

Harmful Effects of Second-hand Smoke

The effects of second-hand smoke have been reported to cause anywhere from 25,000 to more than 50,000 deaths of non-smokers each year. The primary cause of death among non-smokers due to second-hand smoke is heart disease, followed by lung cancer and infant mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to second-hand smoke leads to stroke, acute myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease.

Avoiding Harmful Effects of Smoke

The increased interest in creating smoke-free environments has led to concerns of non-smokers who may be exposed due to activities that necessarily place them in close proximity. These activities would include workplace environments, restaurants, entertainment venues and other areas where common access is provided to both smokers and non-smokers. Frequenting places that prohibit smoking or that segregate smokers, such as non-smoking areas of restaurants, will continue to be the most efficient way to avoid the harmful effects of smoke.

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