Hazards Of Smoking
Once regarded as socially-accepted, smoking is now counted among those habits which are hazardous to life. Citizens of Western countries no longer regard smoking as a good option to relieve their stress. Numerous universities worldwide do not allow their students to smoke in the campus. The worst part of smoking is that it not only causes harm to the smoker's health but also to the surrounding people through passive smoking. Passive smoking means to inhale cigarette smoke present in the environment if someone in the room is smoking and it is equally harmful. Due to this reason, smoking is highly condemned.
Scientific studies suggest that smokers are 2-3 times more likely to die from a heart attack than non-smokers of similar age. Tobacco consists of carbon monoxide and nicotine which contributes greatly to heart attack. Carbon monoxide reacts with haemoglobin to form carboxyhaemoglobin. It cannot be broken up easily and reduces their blood carrying capacity. The heart has to pump faster and harder to maintain a normal blood flow, thus increasing the blood pressure.
Carbon dioxide and nicotine increases the rate at which the fatty material is deposited in the arteries, which constrict them. Narrowed arteries supply insufficient blood to heart muscles leading to angina pains. If these fatty deposits completely block an important artery such as a coronary artery, it can lead to heart attack.
Tar is a brown, sticky substance that accumulates in the lungs during smoking and paralyzes the cilia. Cilia are microscopic hair lining air passages which trap dust particles. Due to paralysis, cilia cannot remove dust particles, allowing dust and germs to enter the lungs. Hence, the smoker coughs persistently. This type of cough is called a smoker's cough. The air passages may become inflamed and the person suffers from bronchitis. A person suffering from bronchitis becomes easily breathless and may not be able to walk properly. He may not even be able to sleep properly unless he is propped up. Chronic bronchitis can even kill someone.
When the air-sacs in the lungs are broken down by the harmful chemicals in the tobacco smoke, the surface area for the exchange of gases in and out of the body is reduced. More air has to be moved in and out of the lungs. This increases the rate of breathing making breathing more painful. This condition is known as emphysema. Emphysema prevents its sufferer from being active.
Lung cancer is very common among cigarette-smokers. Tar contains many carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals. If the out growth or tumour obstructs the air passages, it can result in death.
Besides lung cancer smoking also contributes towards mouth, larynx, and brain cancers.
The harmful effects of smoking are innumerable. The highly addictive nicotine is absorbed in the blood which circulates through the brain and lungs. It reduces the exchange of gases at the respiratory surface of the smoker. When it is absorbed by brain, it greatly damages the thinking process.
Smoking affects other people
A person who smokes not only harms himself but also others around him. People who do not smoke themselves but breathe in tobacco smoke from smokers are called passive smokers. Passive smokers, specially those who live with heavy smokers, are likely to suffer from sore eyes, smoker's cough, headaches and lung cancer caused by inhaling side-stream tobacco smoke. The allocation of non-smoking areas is one way to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke.