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Tobacco smoking

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Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the vapors either tasted or
inhaled. The practice began as early as 5000–3000 BC. [1] Many civilizations burnt incense
during religious rituals, which was later adopted for pleasure or as a social tool. [2] Tobacco was
introduced to the Old World in the late 1500s where it followed common trade routes. The
substance was met with frequent criticism, but became popular nonetheless. [3] German scientists
formally identified the link between smoking and lung cancer in the late 1920s leading the first
anti-smoking campaign in modern history. The movement, however, failed to reach across
enemy lines during the Second World War, and quickly became unpopular thereafter. [4] In 1950,
health authorities again began to suggest a relationship between smoking and cancer. [5] Scientific
evidence mounted in the 1980s, which prompted political action against the practice. Rates of
consumption from 1965 onward in the developed world have either peaked or declined. [6]
However, they continue to climb in the developing world. [7]

Smoking is the most common method of consuming tobacco, and tobacco is the most common
substance smoked. The agricultural product is often mixed with other additives [8] and then
pyrolyzed. The resulting vapors are then inhaled and the active substances absorbed through the
alveoli in the lungs. [9] The active substances trigger chemical reactions in nerve endings which
heightens heart rate, memory, alertness, [10] and reaction time. [11] Dopamine and later endorphins
are released, which are often associated with pleasure. [12] As of 2000, smoking is practiced by
some 1.22 billion people. Men are more likely to smoke than women, [13] however the gender gap
declines with younger age. [14][15] The poor are more likely to smoke than the wealthy, and people
of developing countries than those of developed countries. [7]

Many smokers begin during adolescence or early adulthood. Usually during the early stages,
smoking provides pleasurable sensations, serving as a source of positive reinforcement. After an
individual has smoked for many years, the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms and negative
reinforcement become the key motivations to continue.

The Effects of Smoking on Human Health


Smoking Effects
By Terry Martin, About.com Guide

Updated July 20, 2008

About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
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See More About:

 health risks of smoking


 chemicals in cigarette smoke
 smoking and heart disease
 copd

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The effects of smoking on human health are serious and in many cases, deadly. There are approximately
4000 chemicals in cigarettes, hundreds of which are toxic. The ingredients in cigarettes affect everything
from the internal functioning of organs to the efficiency of the body's immune system. The effects of
cigarette smoking are destructive and widespread.

Smoking Effects on the Human Body

 Toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several
different ways.
 Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every
part of the body and in breast milk.
 Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying
a full load of oxygen.
 Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the
growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly.
 The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers.

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 Smoking affects the function of the immune system and may increase the risk for respiratory
and other infections.
 There are several likely ways that cigarette smoke does its damage. One is oxidative stress that
mutates DNA, promotes atherosclerosis, and leads to chronic lung injury. Oxidative stress is
thought to be the general mechanism behind the aging process, contributing to the
development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and COPD.
 The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells. Smokers have lower levels of
antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers.
 Smoking is associated with higher levels of chronic inflammation, another damaging process
that may result in oxidative stress.
 Do you have any idea which smoking-related disease is the number one cause of death among
smokers? If you're thinking it's lung cancer or COPD/emphysema, you're wrong. While both of
these smoking-related diseases do claim a lot of lives, it is heart disease that that holds the top
slot in the list of diseases that kill smokers.

 Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States today, and the leading
cause of death among smokers. And, on a global level, researchers report that there were
1,690,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease among smokers in the year
2000. In contrast, there were approximately 850,000 lung cancer deaths during the same
year, and 118,000 COPD deaths from smoking in 2001, worldwide.
 Smoking is hard on the heart, but the fact is, tobacco use plays a role in a multitude of
diseases that ultimately lead to disability and/or death. Cigarette smoke contains over
4,000 chemical compounds; 200 of which are known to be poisonous, and upwards of 60
have been identified as carcinogens. Viewed in that light, it's no wonder that the effects
of smoking are so widespread and destructive.
 Let's take a look at how cigarette smoke affects our bodies, from head to toe. You may be
surprised at some of the ways smoking has a negative impact on our health.

Hair:

 Smell and staining

Brain and Mental Effects:

 Stroke
 Addiction/nicotine withdrawal
 Altered brain chemistry
 Anxiety about harm caused by smoking

Eyes:

 Eyes that sting, water and blink more


 Macular degeneration
 Cataracts

Nose:

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 Less sense of smell

Thyroid

 Graves Disease
 Thyroid Disease

Skin:

 Wrinkles
 Premature aging

Teeth:

 Discoloration and stains


 Plaque
 Loose teeth
 Gum disease (gingivitis)

Mouth and Throat:

 Cancers of the lips, mouth, throat and larynx


 Cancer of the esophagus
 Sore throat
 Reduced sense of taste
 Breath smells of smoke

Hands:

 Poor circulation(cold fingers)


 Peripheral vascular disease
 Tar stained fingers

Respiration and Lungs:

 Lung Cancer
 COPD (includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema)
 Cough and sputum
 Shortness of breath
 Colds and flu
 Pneumonia
 Asthma
 Complicates Tuberculosis

Heart:

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 Harms, blocks and weakens arteries of the heart
 Heart attack

Liver:

 Cancer

Abdomen:

 Stomach and duodenal ulcers


 Cancer of stomach, pancreas and colon
 Aortic aneurysm

Kidneys and bladder:

 Kidney cancer
 Bladder cancer

Bones:

 Osteoporosis
 Spine and hip fractures

Spine:

 Degenerative Disc Disease

Male reproduction:

 Sperm: deformity, loss of motility, reduced number


 Infertility
 Impotence

Female reproduction:

 Period pains
 Earlier menopause
 Cancer of cervix
 Infertility and delay in conception

Blood:

 Leukemia

Legs and Feet:

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 Gangrene
 Peripheral vascular disease
 Beurger Disease

Immune System:

 Weakened immune system

The effects of smoking hold additional risks for women. Those who smoke throughout their pregnancies
increase the risk of:

 Spontaneous abortion/miscarriage
 Ectopic pregnancy
 Abruptio placentae
 Placenta previa
 Premature rupture of the membranes
 Premature birth

Risks to the fetus include:

 Smaller infant(for gestational age)


 Stillborn infant
 Birth defects, e.g. congenital limb reduction
 Increased nicotine receptors in baby's brain
 Increased likelihood of child smoking as a teenager
 Possible predisposition to adult anxiety disorders

As long as this list of diseases known to be associated with smoking is, it is incomplete. We don't yet
fully understand all of the dangers that cigarette smoke presents, but research continues, bringing us
new discoveries seemingly by the day.

One thing is certain: Cigarettes snuff out life at an alarming rate. Statistics tell us that upwards of
half of long-term smokers will die a smoking-related death. And globally, that presently
translates to nearly 5 million deaths a year. Put another way, someone loses their life to smoking
every 8 seconds somewhere in the world.

If you currently smoke, use this information to help you see your smoking habit for what it is - a
deadly addiction that you can live without. The tools here at About.com Smoking Cessation are
designed to help you learn what nicotine addiction involves and what it takes to quit smoking.

 Your Quit Smoking Toolbox

Also, stop in and visit our support forum here at About.com Smoking Cessation. This very active
community of people quitting tobacco has new members joining daily, and the support is some of the
best I've seen anywhere online, or in real life, for that matter.

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 Smoking Cessation Support Forum

Browse through and read messages as a guest, or register (free) to post comments of your own.

As humans, we are incredibly resilient. While not all smoking damage is reversible, so much can
be healed, even after years of smoking.

 After the Last Cigarette

Don't ever think it's too late for you to quit smoking, and please...don't waste any more of your life on
cigarettes. Smoking offers you absolutely nothing of value.

Take back your life. You deserve the freedom and long-lasting benefits that smoking cessation
brings.

The Hazards of Cigarette Smoking


Cigarette Smoking Causes Disease, Illness
and Premature Death
By Deborah Leader, RN, About.com Guide

Updated December 02, 2009

About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

See More About:

 the dangers of tobacco


 quitting smoking
 secondhand smoke
 lung cancer
 stop smoking aids

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Teen Tobacco UseFacts, Statistics, and Help! Visit our Site for Teen
Treatment.FamilyFirstAid.org

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It is a well-known fact that cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health. It's an irony of sorts,
then, why so many people do it. The hazards of smoking are numerous, affecting even the
unborn child as it sits innocently in its mother's womb.

For those with even the slightest desire to quit, the following cigarette smoking fact sheet may
help:

 According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking is the most important source of
disease and illness and/or premature death worldwide.
 Each year, 438,000 Americans lose their lives to smoking-related illnesses.
 Cigarettes contain more than 4,800 chemicals - 69 of these are known to cause cancer.
 Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, which, when inhaled, reaches the brain faster than any
injectable drug, including heroin. This is part of the reason why quitting is so difficult.
 Parents who smoke can create health problems for their children, including exacerbation of
asthma, increased frequency of colds and/or ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome.
 Cigarette smoking is responsible for a number of serious illnesses including COPD, heart disease,
stroke, high blood pressure, abdominal aortic aneurysm, pneumonia, gum disease, cataracts
and many forms of cancer. It can also lead to infertility, slower healing wounds, and peptic ulcer
disease.
 Approximately 8.6 million Americans have at least one smoking-related illness.
 Among those who still smoke, chronic lung disease accounts for 73% of all smoking-related
illnesses. In former smokers, chronic lung disease accounts for 50% of all smoking-related
conditions.
 Every year, secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart
disease deaths in the United States alone.
 Tobacco advertising plays a significant role in the addiction process as it encourages young
people to begin a lifelong relationship with cigarettes before they are even old enough to
understand the impact that smoking has on their health.
 In 2006, more than 6% of middle school students were current smokers while 20% of all high
school students reported being current smokers in 2007.

Smoking cessation is an important aspect of disease prevention in adults and young people alike.
Currently, there are 7 medications approved by the FDA to help people quit. Because quitting
smoking often requires multiple attempts, stop smoking aids coupled with either individual,
group or telephone counseling are highly recommended to increase the chances of a successful
quit attempt.

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For more information on smoking cessation, stop by COPD's Quit Smoking Section or
About.com's Smoking Cessation Guide Site. Visit About.com's Addictions Guide Site to learn
more about addiction to nicotine or other substances.

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