Dangers of Smoking

Epidemiologists estimate that 50% of smokers will die of smoking if they do not give up – and it is not the case that they only lose a few years; a quarter of a century is more likely for those dying between the age 35 and 69. World wide smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death. Every year more Americans die from smoking than from all accidents, infectious diseases, murders, suicides, diabetes, and cirrhosis combined together. In fact the annual tally, is more than all of the Americans killed in World War II. Reason enough to know the Toxins in the Smoke Bomb.

Of the many toxic substances in tobacco smoke three are particularly important for the above mentioned mortality and morbidity.

  • Nicotine is the principal substance that causes addiction to tobacco. It stimulates the release of epinephrine–adrenaline–into the smoker’s bloodstream, forcing the heart to work harder (and offering a possible explanation for why smokers have raised blood pressure). By constricting blood vessels, including the coronary arteries, nicotine compromises the heart’s own blood supply.
  • Carbon monoxide the same gas in car exhaust that’s lethal in closed spaces, is a major component of the inhaled smoke and gets into your blood, reducing the amount of oxygen carrying capacity of your blood to the heart and the rest of the body.
    • The effects on the circulatory system are both immediate and dangerous. Nicotine is a stimulant which raises the heart rate and blood pressure, constricts the arteries, and, in conjunction with carbon monoxide, causes atherosclerotic conditions within the artery walls. This clogging process affects the heart and may lead to ischemia (a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle) and cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack as well as other sites of the body such as the brain or peripheral circulation in the extremities, sometimes resulting in gangrene and amputations. Over 200,000 of smoking related deaths are attributed to the combined effect of nicotine and carbon monoxide on the circulatory system.
    • Even inhaling second-hand smoke causes an estimated 37,000 to 40,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease each year.
  • Tar in tobacco produces chronic irritation of the respiratory system and is a major cause of lung cancer.
    • One hundred years ago, lung cancer was so uncommon that if a doctor ever saw a case of it he would have written it up in a medical journal. Even as recently as 1930 most doctors never came across a case of primary lung cancer. This disease, which 50 years ago was almost unheard of, is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women.Lung cancer accounts for one third of all cancer deaths of men. Lung cancer was once believed to be predominantly a disease of males. By the mid 1980’s, lung cancer overtook breast cancer to become the number one cause of cancer deaths in women. Over 85% of the people who die of lung cancer could avoid the disease completely if they just didn’t smoke.
    • Besides the lungs, other sites where cigarettes exert a carcinogenic effect include: mouth, lip, tongue, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus. In addition, cigarettes contribute to cancers of the kidney, bladder, pancreas and stomach.
    • Besides these effects, smoking is the main cause of chronic respiratory lung diseases such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). COPD, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, are major cripplers caused by cigarette smoking. While emphysema is not as deadly as lung cancer, patients with it often envy patients with cancer. People with lung cancer will usually die within six months of diagnosis. Patients with advanced stages of emphysema are permanently crippled, but it may take years for them to die from it. In its later stages, emphysema is a living hell.

Some smokers come into our clinics wondering if they need to quit smoking. They claim to feel fine. No symptoms of any diseases are yet obvious. Even their doctors say they appear normal. Unfortunately, the first sign of some of the smoking related illnesses is sudden death. This is not a preferrable time to consider smoking cessation. The best time to quit to maintain the optimal benefits from not smoking is when you are alive and relatively healthy. If you are off cigarettes now, stay off. Your risk of all of the smoking related illnesses will eventually drop down to that of a non-smoker. They can still happen, but it is much less likely. If you currently smoke you will destroy more tissue and cause more damage and irritation every day you smoke.

We only have one body and one life. Some people feel they should have a choice to do the most with the time they have, so they should eat, drink, smoke and be merry. These people are partially correct. We should have the choice of what we can do to obtain the most fun and fulfilling life. But going through a long crippling period, followed by a long lingering death is not the best utilization of time. It is not fun. Consider all of the risks in comparison to the momentary pleasures the minority of your cigarettes brought you. Give yourself a chance for a long, productive and happy life. [Twilightbridge.com]


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