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Why you should quit smoking

Discussion in 'Pathology and Pathophysiology' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    Smoking cigarette and/or tobacco has been confirmed by medical experts as a dirty, harmful habit. Toyin Akinola, in this report, enumerates the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and why it is better to quit the habit altogether.

    Tobacco comes from the leaves of the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum. It can be consumed or used as a pesticide and still in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines. The leaves are dried, cured, aged and combined with other ingredients to produce a range of products such as cigarette, cigar, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco as well as wet and dry snuff.

    Leaves from the tobacco plant contains nicotine, which is a stimulant drug. Stimulant drugs act on the central nervous system to speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body.

    According to Wikipedia, Encyclopedia, tobacco smoking is the practice where by tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke (consisting of particle and gaseous phases) is inhaled. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and many of these chemicals are poisonous and at least 43 of them are carcinogenic (cause cancer), the three major chemicals in tobacco smoke are:

    ”¢Nicotine—the chemical on which smokers become dependent.
    ”¢Tar—which is released when a cigarette burns.
    ”¢Carbon monoxide (CO)—a colourless, odourless and very toxic gas. Smokers typically have high levels of CO in their blood.

    When tobacco is smoked, nicotine is absorbed through the membranes of the mouth and upper respiratory tract. Some people believe that smoking “light” or “low tar” cigarette is less harmful than the regular cigarette. However, there is little difference between the amount of chemicals inhaled by people who smoke “light” cigarette or the regular ones. The alkaloid, nicotine, is the most characteristic constituent of tobacco and it is responsible for its addictive nature.

    Dr.Oluwaseun Aluko, General Practitioner, Teju Specialist Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan stated that the nicotine present in tobacco is responsible for its addictive nature. Nicotine increases alertness and highness in smokers and prevent drowsiness in some people. It is not only highly addictive for youth; it is a stimulant and it is also poisonous.

    It can be used as a pesticide on crops, and a drop of pure nicotine would kill a person. Every day, 1,500 kids become daily smokers, and one-third of them will die prematurely as a result of getting hooked.

    Even youths who don’t smoke very often can suffer the adverse effects of addiction, and the harmful effects of tobacco derive from the thousands of different compounds generated in the smoke, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzpyrene), formaldehyde, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, radioactive polonium-210, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), phenols, and many others.

    Because of the powerfully addictive properties of nicotine, tolerance and dependence develop. Absorption quantity, frequency and speed of tobacco consumption are believed to be directly related to biological strength of nicotine dependence, addiction, and tolerance.

    How tobacco affects a person depends on many things, including their size, weight, health, and whether the person is used to taking it. According to The partnership for a tobacco-free Maine, teens and youth are vulnerable to the deadly effects of smoke.

    Smoking by children and adolescents hastens the onset of lung function decline during late adolescence and early adulthood and is related to impaired lung growth, chronic coughing, and wheezing. The effects of tobacco, as with any drug, also depend on the amount taken. German scientists identified a link between smoking and lung cancer in the late 1920s, which led to the first anti-smoking campaign in modern history. In 1950, British researchers also demonstrated a clear relationship between smoking and cancer.

    Dr Nafiu Taiwo, a General practitioner at the Ibadan Central Hospital, Ososami, Ibadan, Oyo State said smoking has been found to be the cogent risk factor for many medical conditions, like hypertension, heart failure, renal failure, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.

    He said it has been observed from population studies that person’s exposed to a certain level of nicotine will always come down with one or more of these medical conditions.

    Rates of consumption since 1965 in the developed world have either peaked or declined. However, they continue to increase in the developing world. Research shows that the usage of tobacco is an activity that is practised by some 1.1 billion people, and up to one - third of the adult population. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports smoking to be the leading preventable cause of death worldwide and estimates that it currently causes 5.4 million deaths per year.

    Experts say harms caused by using tobacco include diseases affecting the heart and lungs, withsmoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancers).

    Dr Taiwo said the toxin in nicotine has been found to be the cause of some alterations and cellular changes that gives way to cancer. WHO estimates that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century.

    Similarly, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (USAID) describes tobacco use as “the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries” and an important cause of premature death worldwide.

    Tobacco can affect youth activities and athletic performance; it narrows the blood vessels and puts a strain on the heart. It also leads to lack of oxygen and shortness of breath, and it makes smokers run slower than non-smokers.

    The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that second-hand smoke causes lung cancer in adults and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children and sudden infant death syndrome.

    The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases and children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to develop ear infections, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma.

    Dr Aluko also said that people that are exposed to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk because they inhale the carbon monoxide directly and this can cause different respiratory illnesses.

    According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.

    Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

    It also causes an estimated 90 per cent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80per cent of all lung cancer deaths in women; an estimated 90 per cent of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.

    Smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including increased risk for— infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

    Cardiovascular disease is another cause of death due to smoking; hardening of the arteries is a process that develops over years, when cholesterol and other fats deposit in the arteries, leaving them narrow, blocked or rigid, when the arteries narrow (atherosclerosis), and blood clots are likely to form.


    Smoking accelerates the hardening and narrowing process in the arteries. It starts earlier and blood clots are two to four times more likely, cardiovascular disease can take many forms depending on which blood vessels are involved, and all of them are more common in people who smoke.Smokers tend to develop coronary thrombosis 10 years earlier than non-smokers, and make up nine out of 10 heart bypass patients.


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