What makes people smoke? Well, the answer is simple, its nicotine. It is an addictive drug that is present in the tobacco smoke that causes smokers to smoke. People who are addicted to nicotine via smoking need to have a specific amount of nicotine to satisfy their addiction. This helps them to control their mood and cravings. An addicted smoker smokes to feel normal. The amount of nicotine that is needed by an addicted person decides the number of cigarettes the person consumes each day.
But nicotine is not the only chemical that is consumed by the smoker when he smokes cigarettes. Around 7000 other compounds are inhaled by smokers when they smoke cigarettes. The burning tobacco leaf is the main source of these chemicals. A lot of these chemicals are chemically active and are hazardous for the human body. They can cause many unwanted changes to the human body, both in the short term and in the long term.
Around 60 of the chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke are directly or indirectly linked with causing cancer. Every organ in the human body is affected negatively by smoking. Smoking causes a lot of damage, causing many diseases and reducing health in general.
What Are Dangerous Chemicals There In The Tobacco Smoke?
Let’s discuss the diseases caused by smoking and the various components of tobacco smoke that cause harm to the human body.
- Tar – For various particles in the tobacco smoke, the collective term that is used is Tar. It is constituted of chemicals, and a lot of them are carcinogens (For example, benzo(a)pyrene). It stains fingernails, lung tissue and teeth as it is brown and sticky.
- Carbon Monoxide – This gas is odorless. In large doses, carbon monoxide can cause serious harm to the human body. It can take the place of oxygen in your blood. There is a protein called hemoglobin in each blood cell. The function of hemoglobin is to transport oxygen molecules in the human body. Hemoglobin binds to carbon monoxide better than oxygen. For this reason, more red blood cells are made by our body to carry the oxygen it needs, which makes blood thicker. Less oxygen is received by our heart, brain, and other organs when the body needs more oxygen during exercise.
- Hydrogen Cyanide – Tiny hairs called cilia are present in our lung which helps to clear out foreign objects from our lungs. Hydrogen cyanide is harmful as it can damage our lung clearance system. It can stop it from working properly which results in the building up of hazardous chemicals of tobacco smoke in our lungs. Hydrocarbons, organic acids, nitrous oxides, phenols, and oxidizing agents are some other agents that can cause harm to our lungs, both in the short term and in the long term.
- Oxidizing Chemicals – These highly reactive chemicals can damage blood vessels, heart muscles, and some other parts of our body. The fatty material can be built up on artery walls as they react with cholesterol. Stroke, heart disease or blood vessel disease can result from oxidizing chemicals.
- Metals – Cadmium, lead, and arsenic is some of the dangerous metals that are present in tobacco smoke. Many of these dangerous metals found in tobacco smoke are carcinogenic, that is, they can cause cancer.
- Radioactive Compounds – Radioactive compounds are present in tobacco smoke. These compounds are carcinogenic which makes them very dangerous for the human body.
What Are The Diseases Caused By Smoking?
Many of your body’s organs are affected when you smoke tobacco.
Some Of The Effects Of Tobacco On Your Respiratory System And Diseases Caused By Smoking Are:
- Larynx and trachea irritation
- Problems in the functioning of lungs
- Narrowing and swelling of lung airways which causes breathlessness
- Creation of excess mucus in the lung passage
- Building up of harmful substances in the lungs due to damage of the lungs clearance system, which causes damage and irritation to lungs
- Higher chances of lung infection
- Increased wheezing and coughing
Some Of The Effects Of Smoking Tobacco On Your Circulatory System And Diseases Caused By Smoking Are:
- Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
- Blood vessel constriction in the skin which causes skin temperature to drop
- During exercise, less oxygen is carried throughout the body
- Blood becomes thicker, which can result in clotting
- Increased risk of atherosclerosis due to harm to the lining of arteries
- Toes and fingers get a lesser blood flow
- Blockages of the blood supply resulting in a higher chance of heart attack and stroke
Some Of The Effects Of Smoking Tobacco On Your Immune System And Diseases Caused By Smoking Are:
- Higher chances of catching diseases like pneumonia and influenza
- Higher chances of long-lasting and more severe diseases
- Lack of protective antioxidants in the blood. For example, Vitamin C.
Some Of The Effects Of Smoking Tobacco On The Musculoskeletal System And Diseases Caused By Smoking Are:
- Tightening of muscles
- Bone density reduction
Some Of The Effects Of Smoking Tobacco On The Male Reproductive System Are:
- Reduction of sperm count
- Increased chances of deformed sperm
- Genetic sperm damage
- Higher chances of impotence due to blood flow disruption caused by smoking
Some Of The Effects Of Smoking On The Female Reproductive System Are:
- Reduced fertility
- Irregularities of the menstrual cycle
- Menstruation absence
- Early menopause (by one or two years)
- Higher risk of cervix cancer
- Unwanted side effects of contraceptive pills are observed for smokers aged over 35 years
Some Of The Diseases Caused By Long-Term Smoking:
- Many forms of cancer
- Heart disease, coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack
- Digestive system ulcers
- Hip fracture and osteoporosis
- Pain due to poor blood circulation and in some rare cases, amputation and gangrene
Smoking has a lot of other health and social problems and quitting is the best option for any smoker to ensure safety. However, quitting is not easy. It is more likely that you will fail the first time you try to quit. But you have to keep trying. Fighting an addiction is not easy, but perseverance is the key. With the right help and planning, you will successfully quit smoking.
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