EFFECTS OF SMOKING
Smoking has adverse effects on one’s health and well-being including reduced life expectancy and other chronic illnesses. Statistics show that one in every five people succumbs to tobacco related illnesses in the United States. Although smoking provides relaxation, rush and enhance the mood, its adverse effects greatly outweigh the benefits. Therefore, people should quit smoking for longer, healthier life. The effects of smoking are accumulative over time, and the more one smokes the more the effects on one’s health.
Smoking is one of the principle causes of cancer in the world, especially lung, mouth and throat cancers. These three types of cancer are more prevalent in smokers than in non-smokers because cigarettes contain carcinogens. Several chemicals are present in cigarettes including tar, which is a carcinogen that causes cancer. Smokers are also at a higher risk of contracting other forms of cancer such as breast, stomach, bladder, kidney, pancreas, and cervix cancers (Currow, 2013).
Heart diseases are also another main cause of deaths due to smoking. The nicotine present in cigarettes increases the amount of cholesterol in the body, and it causes addiction. Cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels causing them to narrow and harden. This leads to blocked arteries that prevent blood flow to the heart, which causes heart attack. Hypertension due to high blood pressure also results from smoking, which also leads to stroke and heart attack.
Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are also common in smokers. These diseases are caused by continued inhalation of carbon monoxide, which is found in cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide causes a shortage of oxygen supply in the body, thus causing breathing difficulties and shortness of breath. The air sacs are also damaged, a condition called emphysema. Chronic bronchitis could also occur, where a patient produces a lot of mucus while coughing, and can persist for up to three months. The progression of these conditions could result in lung cancer if not managed (Macnair, 2011).
Smokers are also at a risk of other health problems such as infertility, asthma, bad breath, ulcers, cataracts, stained teeth and gums, loss of eyesight and low levels of vitamin A. A smoker may also develop complications during surgery, and the body may take a longer period to recover after surgery. A smoker’s appearance also deteriorates because of stained teeth and gums, and the fingers discolor due to tar. The skin also develops irregular patches, a condition referred to as psoriasis. There is also premature aging of the skin as it develops wrinkles at an early age (Australian Drug Foundation, 2013).
Smoking also has adverse mental and psychological effects on one’s health and well-being. Nicotine provides a feeling of relaxation, thus reducing anxiety and relation. However, the feelings are short-lived and later lead to depression since it results when one tries to withdraw from smoking. Nicotine triggers the production of a brain chemical called dopamine and people suffering from depression have low levels of this chemical. Therefore, they tend to seek to improve its levels via smoking. In addition, some smokers develop locus of control, which is a phenomenon where people believe that they can have control of their destiny and happenings (Bonas, 2005).
Withdrawal effects such as irritability, anxiety, anger, and impatience may result soon after one quits smoking. One also seems to lose concentration and adjusts the attitude towards people. In addition, one may develop boredom, increased appetite, dizziness, restlessness and the sleeping patterns are affected. These symptoms may last up to one week after quitting. However, the withdrawal symptoms can be relieved through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which is non-carcinogenic. It is available in the markets as nicotine patches, lozenges, inhaler, gum, and nasal sprays. A non-nicotine tablet, bupropion, also helps reduce nicotine cravings (Shaw, 2011).
Australian Drug Foundation. 2013. Smoking: what are the effects? Retrieved from >http://www.mydr.com.au/addictions/smoking-what-are-the-effects<
Bonas, S. (2005). Smoking: psychological and social influences. Net Doctor. Retrieved from >http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/smoking/psychologicalinfluences_000509.htm<
Currow D. (2013). Will an occasional cigarette damage your health? ABC Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved from >http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2011/10/25/3347303.htm#.UYQKEqKkqzM<
Macnair P. (2011). Smoking – health risks. Net Doctor. Retrieved from >http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/smokehealth.htm<
Shaw J. (2011). Emotional Effects of Smoking. Live Strong. Retrieved from