Smoking: The Facts
Smoking: The Facts
Want to quit smoking? Want to know how an addiction to nicotine effects you? Want to know more about smoking and health? Watch and learn...
Step 1: What's in a cigarette
A cigarette is made up of 3 parts.
A light weight paper holds the cigarette together, this can vary in porosity and is often bleached with chlorine.
The filter is made of cellulose acetate, its purpose is to trap some of the tar and smoke as it is drawn through, it also serves to cool the smoke making it easier to inhale.
Up to 600 different additives may be used in any cigarette. When smoked the combined ingredients release 4,000 chemical compounds, including ammonia, cyanide, carbon monoxide, cadmium, formaldehyde, benzene, arsenic, tar and nicotine.
Step 2: Why is smoking addictive
Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes. From inhalation it's quickly drawn into the blood stream, reaching the brain in under 10 seconds to create a physiological reaction. With regular use the body adapts to the increased stimulation, one way it does this is to grow more receptors in the brain. However, the effect of a cigarette dissipates in a matter of minutes, urging the smoker to light up another cigarette to get the same reward feelings and stave off any withdrawal symptoms.
One to the overwhelming arguments of nicotine's addictiveness is the extremely poor success rates of smokers who try to quit.
Step 3: What are the immediate effects
Just one cigarette immediately increases blood pressure and heart rate. The brain and nervous system is stimulated, paradoxicly making the smoker feel both relaxed yet with increased concentration, this gives the smoker their 'high'. The increase of chemicals in the body can cause new smokers to feel dizzy and sick.
Step 4: What are the long term effects
If you are a smoker it's worth knowing the staggering negative effects smoking has on the body.
Hydrogen cyanide and other toxic chemicals damage the lining of the lungs and bronchial tubes, destroying protective structures and leaving the lungs open to infection. Smokers tend to have persistent coughs, as well as being more susceptible to colds and illness. Smokers are 10 times as likely to get lung cancer and emphysema as non-smokers.
The effect of smoking on the heart is devastating. The poisoning effect of carbon monoxide weakens the heart leading to poor circulation. The reduced blood flow can result amputation of fingers and toes, lead to male impotence and more severely, stokes. The formation of fatty deposits causes a rise in blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of heart attacks.
Smoking damages the esophagus and generates more stomach acid, which in turn leads to heartburn and ulcers of the digestive system. It dramatically increases the risk of cancer throughout the body.
Tobacco smoke can cause gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath while teeth become stained and yellow. Mouth cancer is also a possibility.
Smoking prematurely ages skin; gives it a greyish appearance and prone to more wrinkles. Psoriases, which is a chronic skin disease is 3 times more likely to develop if you smoke. Hair becomes weaker, eyes duller and over time fingers become discoloured.
Step 5: Passive smoking
Scientific research has shown that non-smokers exposed to passive smoke face a 25% increase risk in heart disease and lung cancer, and a 50-60% increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Passive smoking is particularly harmful to children, and could lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, middle ear disease and cot death.
Step 6: Quitting
As soon as you stop smoking your body begins to repair itself.
Within just 20 min your blood pressure and heart rate will have returned to normal.
In one day your circulation would have improved, the carbon monoxide will have left your body and your risk of a heart attack will have fallen,
By 6 months your lung function will have increased, y