Smoking is injurious to health

Smoking

Even after being aware that smoking is injurious to health, they do not quit, or even if they try, they fail to do so. Smoking is like a love towards nicotine which pulls one closer if one tries to get away, but this type of love always destroys.

Smoking is injurious to health as it damages our central nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and Integumentary system. The list of ways it hurts us is long and never-ending.

smoking

Smoking is inhaling the burnt substance’s smoke so that the smoke breathed in can be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. As hearing it from everyone, the curiosity made me research that apart from tobacco what else people smoke and those are as follows:-

  • Cannabis
  • Opium
  • Datura
  • Methamphetamine
  • Black tar heroin
  • Crack cocaine
  • Synthetic cannabis
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)

Different products of tobacco

  • Waterpipe tobacco
  • Cigars
  • Cigarillos
  • Roll-your-own tobacco
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Bidis
  • Kreteks
  • Chillum

Non- Smoking Tobacco

  • Pan
  • Gutka
  • Khaini
  • Pan Masala
  • Snuff

Cigarettes consist of 600 ingredients that burn and release 7000+ chemicals, many of which are poisonous, and 69 of them lead directly to cancer. According to stats, approximately 8 million(7million die due to direct tobacco consumption and 1.2million are nonsmokers who get exposed to secondhand smoke.) people die worldwide, accounting for 20% of all the deaths of adult men and 5% of deaths of adult women.

The consumption of tobacco is increasing in our country. Around 1/3 of the population in India above 15years of age is consuming some form of smoking.

smoking kills

Why do we smoke?

Most people start smoking in their teenage because, at that age, the things which are not even cool seem that they are, and they are represented in front of the audience in such a manner with the help of movies, serials, or ads that they are.

Peer pressure is a significant reason for many people to start smoking. They try at first or maybe to look cool but slowly, with time, even they do not realize that they become the slave of it and then even after wanting the struggle to stop smoking.

Children whose parents smoke have more chances of becoming a smoker in the later stage of life. For some teens, it is a rebel against their parents.

People connect smoke with emotions. When they are happy or sad, they have to get a smoke. It is also considered a way to relieve stress/ tension/ boredom. We transfer the pleasurable feeling of peace and relaxation to the act of smoking.

A new trend of hookah, e-cigarettes, and vape has come in the new generation. Unfortunately, these are often wrongly seen as harmless but are equally harmful as traditional tobacco products.

Being economical and easily accessible makes it even easier to get them, and the slight buzz that it gives makes people consume them even more. Moreover, instead of tobacco, there are many things that people smoke, giving them a buzz.

Myths and facts about smoking

Let’s start with myths:-

  • Self-rolled cigarettes are more safe and secure than company manufactured.
  • Lung cancer is caused due to air pollution but not by cigarettes.
  • Smoking helps in de-stress
  • Cigarettes are safer than chewable tobacco
  • It is okay to smoke low-tar or menthol.
  • Expensive won’t harm as much as cheap cigarettes.

Facts

  • One person dies every 6 seconds because of smoking.
  • A cigarette emits more than 7000 chemicals, out of which 69 are those which trigger cancer.
  • Every 9th Indian consumes tobacco.
  • Post 15 years of quitting smoking, the chances of your heart disease would be equal to an individual who has never smoked.

How smoking affects our body?

There is a long list of effects on our bodies. As there is no safe way to smoke and there are no safe substances in tobacco products.

Smoking and the central nervous system

Nicotine is one of the main ingredients in tobacco that leads to mood-altering. Nicotine’s impact on the body as it is neuroregulatory in nature acts both as a depressant and stimulant to the central nervous system.

Nicotine reaches the brain and releases epinephrine hormone, which stimulates the nervous system and gives us a kick/ feels us energized for a while. As this pleasure feeling over time drips, you feel tired and crave more, leading to addiction. Nicotine is a highly addictive reason being people feel more difficulty quitting smoking than even alcohol.

On the other hand, nicotine gums have a slower onset of action resulting in less reinforcement value.

Smoking and Respiratory system

Whenever you smoke something, it gets in your body through the respiratory system, and when it comes to smoking, it does not get you any good. As I mentioned earlier, 7000+ chemicals are released, which affect our lungs.

Smokers have a higher chance of getting infections and lung diseases as smoking damages the airways and tiny air sacs.

  • It leads to lung diseases like COPD( Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which covers emphysema( destruction of air sacs leads to it), and chronic bronchitis(permanent inflammation in the lining of breathing tubes leads to it).
  • The smoker is more likely to die 12-13 times more often than nonsmokers due to COPD.
  • Tobacco leads to 90% of oral and lung cancers. Chances of lung cancer are 25times and 25.7times higher in men and women, respectively, compared to nonsmokers. As per a CDC report, 9 out of 10 lung cancer patients have a back history of smoking.
  • Tobacco may lead to an asthma attack if you are an asthma patient, or even if you have sinus or any other breathing problem, you may feel breathless or uneasy.

Symptoms of lung cancer

Symptoms of lung cancer don’t come up early. By the time the signs are visible, usually, it’s too late.

  • Cough for more than three weeks
  • Bloodstained sputum 
  • Difficulty in breathing/chest discomfort/wheezing 
  • Change in voice (typically hoarseness) for > 3 weeks 
  • Unexplained weight loss/tiredness 

Smoking and Cardiovascular system

Nicotine damages your whole cardiovascular system. It impacts your health, but your loved ones and they would be doing secondhand smoke, leading to specific heart problems like heart attack and stroke. More than 33,000 nonsmokers die every year in the United States because of coronary heart disease caused by secondhand smoke.

Intake of nicotine squeezes and tightens blood vessels/arteries, affecting the normal blood flow. This constant tightening of blood vessels may lead to PAD (peripheral artery disease) caused when the streets to the arms and legs start to narrow.

It leads to stroke, which occurs when:-

  • Blood flow within the brain is interrupted.
  • Weaken blood vessel walls

Consumption of smoking leads to Atherosclerosis. When arteries narrow and become less flexible, plaque builds in the arteries creating walls that slow down the blood flow to the various parts of the body, known as Atherosclerosis. 

Smoking increases the formation of plaque.

The abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is bloating the lower part of the central vessel that supplies blood to the body(aorta).

Aorta is the main artery that carries rich oxygen throughout the body, and smoking damages that artery.

Smoking and Integumentary system

Smoking affects all body parts, including the integumentary system as well. The most easily noticeable is the effects on the skin. The impact on the Integumentary system are as follows:-

  • Aging skin
  • Wound healing
  • Skin cancer
  • Sagging skin
  • Palmoplantar pustulosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Infections
  • Acne Inversa
  • Skin Tone and Staining

Aging skin

Humans age skin with ages but one of the most prominent reasons for pre-mature aging is sunlight/ sun exposure. On the other hand, some researchers say that smoking causes an individual’s skin to age even faster.

Few pieces of evidence also say that tobacco smoke is phototoxic, which means that it becomes even more harmful in the presence of (UV) ultraviolet light.

Tobacco smoke exposure decreases capillary and arteriolar blood flow that may damage the connecting tissues, which helps in maintaining healthy skin. The undermentioned features can measure aging:-

  • Wrinkles. Smokers are likely to have almost twice to thrice times more pre-mature wrinkles as compared to nonsmokers.
  • Skin tissue composition. The composition of skin changes with age, but a dutch case-control study measured the extent of elastosis (a condition in which skin loses its elasticity because of connective tissue degeneration) in smokers and reported that the chances of such a disease would increase with the increase in no. of smokes.

Wound healing

Smoking slowdowns the process of healing wounds as it damages the tissues leading to skin injuries. It increases the chances of wound infection and blood clot formation. Undermentioned are the potential reasons for the same:-

  • The decrease in the collagen synthesis
  • The slow growth of new blood vessels within the wound slows down the process of wound healing.
  • Delayed migration of keratinocytes
  • Vasoconstriction and lack of oxygen reaching skin cells

Skin cancer

Smoking increases the chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by 52% higher than nonsmokers. It is the 2nd most common form of skin cancer usually observed on smokers’ lips 75% of oral and lip cancer are found in smokers. As per some researchers, the % of cancer increases due to lowered immune systems.

Symptoms of oral cancer

Symptoms of oral cancer can be seen at early stages like:-

  • White or reddish patches inside the lining of the mouth or tongue are considered precursors of cancer.
  • latter being more sinister
  • Non-healing ulcers that do not heal for more than three weeks of treatment 

Sagging skin

Smoking leads to sagging skin in many parts of the body, as smoking reduces skin elasticity. Henceforth it leads to sagging of skin, and skin sagging is mainly found in breasts and arms.

Side effects of smoking

I hope you would have gone through how smoking affects our body; well, that is internal; what are the visible effects of smoking. The visual effects of tobacco are as follows:-

  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Early tiredness
  • Smoking may make it difficult for you to conceive.
  • It may give men erectile dysfunction.
  • Smoking may even be the cause of osteoporosis.
  • It may weaken your immunity.

How can someone quit smoking?

The most critical part is quitting the sweet poison you’ve been taking in for such a long time. So, let’s see how we can together face this enemy of ours.

START

S- Set a quit date

Fix a date when you would start this beautiful journey by quitting smoking. Fixing a date will prepare you mentally that before that date would be the last smoke, I am taking in.

T- Tell family and friends what you’ve planned.

Let them know about your plan to motivate you and make you stop or at least keep you far by taunting. It would be even great if you get a person who is trying to quit.

A- Anticipate where required 

Anticipate sitting and hanging out with people who smoke or discourage you and your plan of getting rid of it by offering you a cigarette because that would be the most crucial part as your body would show withdrawal symptoms. In addition, you would be craving nicotine and cigarettes.

R- Remove all tobacco-related products from your reach

Please get rid of all the cigarettes or even any other product which has tobacco in it from all the possible places as seeing might trigger you to have it, which would ultimately ruin the whole plan of quitting it.

T- Talk to a doctor and consult.

Consult with your doctor as your doctor might prescribe you something that would help you throughout the process, or if that’s not possible and the situation is getting worse, you might go for nicotine patches and gums.

Our body is healing.

Within few minutes of quitting smoking, our body starts to heal.

  • Twenty minutes later –12 hours: Heart rate and carbon monoxide in the blood drop to normal levels.
  • One year later: The risk of a heart attack drops sharply, as is blood pressure. Coughing and upper respiratory problems begin to improve.
  • 2–5 years later: The risk of stroke drops to that of someone who has never smoked, according to the CDC.
  • 5–15 years later: The risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancer gets reduced to half.
  • Ten years later: The risk of lung cancer and bladder cancer is half that of someone who currently smokes.
  •  Fifteen years later: The risk of heart disease is similar to that of someone who never smoked.
cigarettes' buds

Withdrawal symptoms of smoking

Withdrawal symptoms can begin in even less than 30-40 mins depending upon the level of intake of nicotine. Factors like how long you smoked and how many cigarettes you used to consume daily will impact the severity of the symptoms. Smokers symptoms would include:-

  • Intense craving for nicotine
  • Tingling in your hands and feet
  • Sweating
  • Constipation and gas
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • In extreme cases, depression.

Commonly seen symptoms who chew tobacco

  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Slower heart rate
  • Increased hunger or weight gain

To know more about withdrawal symptoms, you can consider visiting- Withdrawal symptoms.

Why has it not been banned yet?

After researching for days and days on cigarettes, I could not find even a single advantage of cigarettes; by seeing this, a question came to my mind that if it is good for nothing, has it not been prohibited by govt? Why is the government still not stopping the production of cigarettes? Post deep diving into this, I found the following:-

There is no such reason why govt has not banned cigarettes. It should be restricted to keep our youth healthy, but I guess they have kept the choice on its consumers.

Govt. discourages consumption of it by:-

  • Imposing high taxes
  • Running ads. for awareness
  • Banning smoking in public areas
  • By promoting warning message in visual medias

As this sector generates a lot of employment, shutting down the production/ manufacturing will increase unemployment, and India is already struggling with unemployment.
Well, this can be one of the reasons that govt. Has not banned it as they earn a lot from the taxation on tobacco.

YearEarnings in Rs. crore
2010-201115,286
2015-201627,823
2016-201728,489
2017-201830,313
2018-201934,830
2019-202035,600
Tax Collection from cigarettes in India

Conclusion

Smoking seems incredible, but it is not. It looks like you are winning, but in reality, we are just losing ourselves and everything. The far we stay from nicotine and products consist of them like cigarettes, the better it would be for us. It is rightly said- “If you have life in you, you have the world with you.”