Thursday, October 31, 2013

Smoking & The Body

Smoking & Our Body

Tobacco smoking contributes to 17 percent of all deaths in the United States, roughly 33 percent of cancer deaths, 25 percent of fatal heart attacks and 85 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking severely damages a person's heart, cardiovascular system, and over time, lungs. It impairs brain function, increases the risk of stroke and can drastically accelerate signs of aging, among its many other harmful effects. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in the U.S.

Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine is an extremely addictive chemical naturally found in the tobacco plant. When ingested, it increases levels of the pleasure-inducing brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It also acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system and increases adrenaline production. Nicotine causes the heart to beat faster and work harder and the blood vessels to constrict (causing high blood pressure and increased blood fats). These combined factors greatly increase the likelihood of heart disease.

Nicotine dependency develops very quickly in most people, and can be quite a challenge for some to overcome due to the withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, frustration, restlessness, nervousness, increased appetite, headache, stomach cramps, anger, anxiety, slowed heart rate, rise in blood pressure and an intense craving for nicotine.

Toxic Chemicals

With every inhalation, a smoker might ingest hundreds of different toxins. Cigarette smoke is known to contain at least 900 toxins, including carbon monoxide, vinyl chloride, benzene, cyanide, ammonia, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, cadmium and nitrosamines. It is estimated that one cigarette may cost the average smoker seven to 13 minutes of his life. Furthermore, starting at age 30, a person can smoke some 96,700 cigarettes, causing an estimated 5 million fewer life-hours in America annually.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is just as harmful, if not more so, than firsthand smoke. When a person smokes inside an enclosed building or vehicle, it affects everyone who is there. Children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of smoking, due to the fact that their immune systems are still developing. And the harmful effects to pets may be even more intense, as they are usually at floor level--where all the smoke falls. When a person smokes around others, he is inflicting upon them the same damage, if not worse, than he is inflicting upon himself.

Nutritional Effects

Smoking can deplete levels of several of the body's essential nutrients. In fact, with every cigarette smoked, a person loses roughly 25 milligrams of vitamin C. To counter these effects, smokers may benefit from supplementing their diets with vitamins A (beta-carotene), B-complex, C, and E, along with the minerals calcium, selenium, and zinc.

Tips for Quitting

Most smokers are aware of the harmful effects of smoking, yet they still light up. Why? Because they are addicted, and addictions often require a great deal of effort, patience and willpower to overcome. There are several methods that may be helpful for smokers who want to quit. A popular method used by many is the essential oil lobelia, which contains a nicotine-like chemical that may help to ease the withdrawal symptoms and ward off the desire to smoke. Another method that has reportedly worked for some is a two-day grape or apple fast. Some people have reportedly chewed ginseng roots (juice and all), while others claim baking soda along with a daily multivitamin helped relieve their urge to smoke.

Clinical methods to help smokers quit include: laser treatment, hypnosis, pharmaceutical drugs, and acupuncture. The number one factor involved in quitting is whether or not the person is truly ready to quit. If they are wholly committed to quitting, they will succeed. It may require a few failed attempts, trying a few different methods, or for some, it may even take a few years. Nonetheless, the human mind is an extremely powerful device, capable of overcoming any addiction, considering that all energies are focused on the same goal, undivided, and without hesitation or uncertainty. Smoking is a one-way highway to illness, suffering, and untimely death. There are no positive qualities of smoking, no benefits, no reward except the avoidance of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. An addiction to smoking, like any other addiction, controls a person.

Related posts

    Smoking & ArteriesIt's no secret that exposure to tobacco smoke causes a number of dangerous effects in the body. Toxins like nicotine and tar lower the "good" cholesterol and raise...
    Side Effects of SmokingThe side effects of smoking are complex and varied, and no answer to the question of how fast they depart will do for all issues. Some damage done by smoking can be permanen...
    Smoking is bad for your health.Smoking cigarettes is harmful to most organs in the human body. Tobacco use causes respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. Each year, more deaths are caused b...
    Diseases related to smoking and nicotine kill over 400,000 people each year, according to the American Lung Association. Chronic diseases like emphysema and bronchitis severely affect a person's q...
    Information on SmokingAccording to the Center for Disease Control, "Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general." W...