Maybe you are aware that the government and other organizations are campaigning against smoking. But do you really know why you should stop smoking?
The Dangerous Effects of Smoking
Why should you quit smoking? Smoking can cause cancers such as lung cancer and other illnesses. It causes thousands of deaths every year, mostly from smoking related cancers, cardiovascular illnesses, bronchitis, emphysema and other chronic lung illness. This is because cigarettes contain about 4000 chemical compounds and about 400 toxins that can cause harm to your health. When you smoke a cigarette, the heat breaks down tobacco to form these chemicals and toxins. Tobacco burns down to release toxic substances such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and other toxins. Tar is a carcinogen or a substance that can induce cancer. Nicotine is an addictive substance and can increase the risk for hypertension, heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis. Carbon monoxide is a substance which can reduce oxygen in the body. Cigarette smoke also contains gas and other particulate substances that can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The damage due to smoking is affected by the number of cigarettes actually smoked, whether the cigarette has a filter and how the tobacco has been prepared. Smoking is said to reduce life expectancy by seven or eight years. The number of deaths from smoking equals to the number of deaths caused by breast cancer, drug addiction, road accidents and AIDS. Smoking can cause cardiovascular disease which can later in lead to death. Smoking can also cause atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries which can later on cause fatty deposits in the arteries and can later on lead to heart attacks and stroke. These fatty deposits can also give rise to blood clots which can migrate to other parts of the body and van cause organ damage. Blood clots are four times more likely to form among smokers than among non-smokers.
Smoking can also cause thrombosis in the kidneys which may layer on lead to high blood pressure or kidney failure. If blockage occurs in the legs, this may lead to pain during exercise, gangrene and loss of limbs from amputation. Smokers are also prone to develop cancers such as throat cancer, lung cancer and mouth cancers. Other types of cancers in smokers are kidney cancer, cancer of the pancreas, cancer of the esophagus, cervical cancer and bladder cancer.
Smokers can also develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which can cause blockage of the airways and difficulty of breathing. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which can cause damage to the air sacs or the alveoli of the lung. Chronic bronchitis can result to inflammation and narrowing of the airways which can manifest as cough, and excessive production of mucus.
Smoking and Young Brains
The youths are at risk for developing certain bad habits acquired from peers, one of which is cigarette smoking. Recently, a small study from UCLA has found out that young adult smokers are prone to experience changes in their brain structures due to smoking, dependence and craving. The researchers have also found out that this happens even in people who have been smoking for only a short period of time. They deduced that these neurobiological findings may suggest why young people who smoke at an early age often get hooked to cigarettes even during adulthood. In this study the researchers found out that the insula, a part of the brain’s cerebral cortex that is involved in monitoring internal states and making decisions, is thinner among smokers. The increase in the number of pack years a person smoked is directly proportional to the thinness of the insula.
To read more about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, feel free to explore our other articles on this site.