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Published: Thursday 31st of October 2013
It is a proven fact that smoking has a devastating effect on a human body and mind. Moreover, it influences every sphere of a person’s social life. A lot of adverse effects are caused by nicotine, a chemical compound found in numerous plants and particularly in the tobacco plant. At low doses, nicotine causes addiction. Although smoking is often merely referred to as a habit, nicotine addiction is more dangerous than most other bad habits humanity has known. Besides, it is tremendously hard to break because it interferes almost any daily routine and affects both physical and psychological health of a smoker. Too much nicotine at once can literally kill a person, as it causes acute poisoning. Besides nicotine, there are some other chemical compounds in tobacco that cause various dangerous diseases, including cancer. They are mainly contained in the tar that people inhale in the process of smoking. There is a wide range of reasons why people smoke. Some of them want to reduce stress. Others, on the contrary, want to get better concentrated in a short time. There are also people who cannot switch from one activity to another without smoking a cigarette. It was not long ago when smoking was regarded to be a part of social interaction. Massive promotional campaigns ran to convince that smoking is a part of a person’s success.
Today, any promotion of smoking is banned. However, a lot of people still smoke. Even though they understand that this is entirely unhealthy, they still can name numerous reasons for smoking. Some of these reasons are rooted in the prejudices of the recent past, while others do not make sense at all. For example, some teens start smoking to seem independent like adults. They do not understand the contemporary adults, who smoke, experience more stress, and they are prohibited from doing it almost everywhere, and smoking itself is frowned upon by others. Some people smoke to feel less stressed, but this effect lasts for a couple of minutes when a new dose of nicotine gets into the blood. However, smoking does not have a long-term stress-relieving effect, but it causes brain damage instead. Besides, everybody is aware of the risks of secondhand smoking. While this is not an issue for plenty of smokers, others can feel really bad about exposing people they care about to this danger.
The effect that smoking has on a particular person is very individual. It depends on many issues. That is why some smokers deny the danger that is already proven both experimentally and statistically. They believe that they are initially stronger, healthier, and do not smoke as much as those who get sick because of smoking. Many of those who do not smoke do not consider it to be a mutual problem either. If they feel threatened by secondhand smoking, they will not just stay where other people smoke. However, it is highly relevant to see that smoking influences the whole nation. Every one of us is exposed to its risks, no matter whether we actually smoke or not. We should also see that the number of smokers will not decrease before we get a full understanding of how harmful it is. To start with, there should not be any smoking in the streets and public places. It may seem somewhat harsh, but such measures are nothing in comparison to the number of deaths caused by smoking. Only in the US, it is approaching half a million. This is more than the number of deaths caused by other significant factors, such as suicides, drugs, alcohol abuse, HIV, and car accidents added together. One of the main threats is lung cancer, 90% and 80% of which is caused by smoking in men and women correspondingly. Also, there are a lot of other lung diseases, which are caused or severely aggravated by smoking.
There is probably no system in a human body that is not affected by smoking. From yellow teeth to heart diseases and strokes, from skin pigmentation and aging quickly to lung cancer, from feeling stressed to a complete loss of fertility – these are proven effects of smoking. A smoker’s blood-vascular system is at enormous risk. They can track their pressure and take numerous blood tests to convince themselves that smoking is not dangerous for their blood. However, clots usually appear unexpectedly and ‘act’ very quickly. As mentioned above, lungs are the target number two. There are plenty of cases of emphysema caused by smoking. Those who want to believe that smoking is nothing but a habit, claim that emphysema can be the result of other factors. The tests show, however, smoking contributes to pathogenic mechanisms of this and many other diseases. The digestive system also gets endangered by smoking. A lot of disorders are connected with smoking. Moreover, there are high chances of stomach cancer. The health problems mentioned above are terrible to this or that extent. The majority of smokers are informed about these diseases as a potential danger of smoking. What they do not know is that there are many other diseases caused by their ‘habit.’ For example, they are blindness and sterility.
Of course, there are people in this world whose companies benefit a lot from smoking. Thus, smokers think that no one will stop producing cigarettes anytime soon. Consequently, there is no need to make any considerable effort and quit. However, this is not about companies. After all, even if there are people who benefit from other terrible realia, like war and diseases, the majority still feel it’s their duty to stand against those things. Why don’t we all want to stand against smoking then? Besides, should not we think about our own well-being? In England, for example, a family with a low income spends 2.5% of it on cigarettes every week. In countries with developing economies, this percentage is much higher despite the fact that cigarettes are cheaper there. Also, the cost of smoking is higher than the cost of cigarettes. We should also consider the money people spend on the medical treatment and medicines that they would not have needed if they did not smoke. These expenses are a part of smoking’s social cost, which is the amount of money one pays to society because of using various goods that are usually harmful, like petroleum or alcohol. In the case of smoking, its social costs consist of the cost of cigarettes, health expenses, air pollution and litter which influences everybody including the smoker.
It is exceedingly important to understand the risks of passive smoking. First and foremost, it affects children. It is a proven fact that secondhand smoking impairs kids’ performance at school, especially when it comes to tests. Children exposed to the passive smoking start having difficulties with reading and math. Tests have shown an unacceptable level of cotinine in the blood of children whose parents smoke at home. Cotinine has a psychoactive effect, which may be even beneficial for people with a range of disorders and diseases, but for children, it is really harmful. Another thing that kids get from smoking parents is a bad example. It does no matter whether it is a toddler or a teenager; the chances of starting to smoke in the future increase significantly. It is also true that other adults or peers may set the same example. However, parents should be the best positive role models, and smoking cannot be a part of their roles. Although smoking is less and less trendy as compared to a healthy lifestyle, it is still valued by many teenagers as a sign of being mature. The knowledge, we have obtained, allow us to convince today’s youth that there is no need to smoke to express them anymore. More than that, children should be explained that it is irresponsible to smoke knowing that it may cost them their lives and devoid them of an opportunity to prevent more than 25 diseases by merely avoiding smoking.
Of course, smoking is not just physical or financial but, to a great extent, psychological problem too. Only a few smokers can honestly claim that they smoke occasionally and feel alright when they do not have an opportunity to smoke. The majority of people who smoke feel anxiety and stress if they cannot smoke by their daily patterns. Moreover, it does not matter what this pattern is. You may be used to smoke every thirty minutes. When these thirty minutes are gone, you will feel anxious. You may also be used to smoke a single cigarette a day. If you do not smoke the next day, you will be as anxious and stressed as any heavy smoker. It is peculiar that cigarettes do not relieve stress. It gets reduced with the feeling that you are finally smoking, so you can focus on more important things. However, stress returns very quickly and the time of feeling relieved becomes shorter and shorter each day. The desire to smoke does not just interfere one’s daily routine. If it does not fit the routine, people start doing strange and sometimes dangerous things to smoke. For example, the overwhelming majority of companies in the world, big and small, prohibit smoking at the workplace. Thus, heavy smokers feel ‘forced’ to leave the workplace and smoke. A lot of people think that nothing can happen in those several minutes when they are away, but unfortunately, this is not always true.
To conclude, smoking affects human’s health significantly. It leads to a vast range of diseases, a lot of which cause death. It also causes sterility. Smokers rarely connect this problem with their ‘habit’ and try to find its roots somewhere else. This is one of the main reasons why the birth rate in many countries keeps decreasing. Smoking is highly addictive, and it is tough to quit for heavy smokers. Thus, besides being exposed to other negative effects on health, they feel always stressed craving for the next time they are going to smoke. Smoking does not only influence smokers. People around them are in danger too, because smoking passively is as much harmful as active smoking. In an ideal world, nobody smokes because we understand how bad it is for the society. All we can do in reality is to try to convey the idea of healthy living and the danger of smoking to everyone since early childhood. If this is not motivational enough, smokers should think about the financial issue of this problem. An average smoker spends a fortune on cigarettes during his or her lifetime. Don’t we have anything more important in which we could invest our money? One way or another, today’s society has just started to open their eyes to the problem of smoking, and there is still so much to discuss before it is solved.