Smoking is a popular kind of recreational drug use. The most common form of smoking is tobacco smoking which is being practiced by more than one billion persons all over the world. Tobacco smoke contains complex mixtures of chemicals. A number of the components of smoke include nitrogen oxide gas, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, formaldehyde, phenol, nicotine among others. Due to its chemical complexity, tobacco smoke has several greatly adverse effects on human health. Even though several studies on health harms have focused on cigarette smoking, current research has indicated that other use of tobacco like pipe smoking and cigar also leads to serious health risks to users. Many serious diseases are caused by smoking which affects smokers more than non-smokers. Thus, those who smoke have higher death rate than those who refrain from smoking. Smokers are attacked by various acute diseases which cause their death. These illnesses encompass stroke, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Smoking leads to reduced overall health, escalation in health care cost and utilization and increment in absenteeism from work. This paper will report on smoking and its health effects.
Smoking and Death
In the US, smoking results to over 480 000 deaths annually. This is approximately 1 out of every 5 deaths (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 11). Each year, smoking leads to more deaths than any other causes such as car accidents, alcohol and drug abuse, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Smoking is a main cause of cardiovascular disease that causes more deaths in the US. One out of three deaths are as a result of cardiovascular disease. Cigarette smoking has caused premature death of above 10 times of the several citizens of the United States than the deaths which have been as a result of the wars fought by the US in the course of his history. Smoking leads to 9 out of 10 deaths, which is 90% of deaths caused by lung cancer in females as well as men (US Department of Health and Human Services 7). Smoking raises the chances of death from each and every cause in women as well as men. Over the last 50 years, the risk of dying from smoking has significantly increased among the women as well as men in the US.
Health Effects of Smoking
Smoking and Cancer
Smoking leads to cancer of larynx, oral cavity bladder, pancreas, esophagus and lungs. In fact, it is the leading cause of lung cancer in the US with approximately 79% cases in women and 90% of men. According to American Cancer Society, above 155,000 women and men died as a result of lung cancer in 2017 (18). Also, smoking raises the risks of cancer of uterine cervix, penis, stomach, colon, liver, anus and kidney. Cigarette smoking leads to damage of DNA and causes mutations. The harmful and dangerous chemicals in the smokes are capable of causing or promoting the development of previously initiated cancer (Carter et al. 639).
Smoking and Respiratory Diseases
Beyond 110,000 smoking deaths annually include respiratory diseases. It is well known that smoking causes a condition referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that emphysema as well as comprises chronic bronchitis. Smoking is accountable for roughly 80% of the entire mortality caused by COPD. COPD is a disease that slowly progresses and develops following recurrent abuses to the lungs for several years. It is difficult to detect its symptoms in the early years of smoking, however, at this phase breathing tests may always identify abnormalities in the lung’s small terminal airways (Carter et al. 635). If a person smokes for two decades or beyond, a collection of chronic respiratory changes progresses. Some of these chronic lung injuries include emphysema, airway narrowing and thickening and mucus hypersecretion with a chronic cough. These transformations may lead to substantial disability, impairment as well as death. Individuals with clinically severe COLD normally possesses all the three though victims vary in relative corresponding to these changes.
Smoking and Human Reproduction
The number of male smokers who are impotent is higher than male nonsmokers. Smoking has an extensive impact on women’s sexual and reproductive system in various ways. Smoking damages the fertility of women. Among are the alterations in immunity, interference with motility in the female reproductive tract and direct toxicity to eggs which exposes women smokers to infections which block the fallopian tubes. Also, smoking has severe contrary impacts on pregnancy. They involve infant deaths, lengthy premature rupture of membranes, bleeding during pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and retarded fetal growth (Carter et al. 640). Also, women who smoke always go into the stage of nonsurgical menopause approximately one to two years earlier than those who never smokes. Moreover, the male reproductive system is also affected by smoking; male smokers are likely to become impotent as a result of prolonged smoking.
Health Effects of Smoking on Secondhand Smokers
There is never a safe degree of exposure to secondhand smokers. Also, minimal exposure to smoke may harm adults as well as children in several ways. It has been estimated that smokers rise the chances of nonsmokers to develop lung cancer by 20% to 30%. Individuals exposed to smoke are at a high chance of developing respiratory diseases, breathlessness, phlegm, slowed lung growth, asthma attacks, wheezing and coughing. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that in every year, over 41,000 deaths are caused by secondhand smoke (665). Infant death syndrome mostly attacks children exposed to secondhand smoke. In adults, exposure to secondhand smoke raises the risk of nasal and eye irritation, chronic and acute coronary heart disease morbidity, nasal sinus cancer, heart disease mortality and lung cancer (Carter et al. 632).
It is usually almost impossible for smokers to quit smoking due to the addiction. It is difficult to escape a developed addiction to nicotine, nevertheless, before one successfully quits, it may take several trials before quitting. In order to quit smoking, smokers have to do away with their strong social as well as psychological ties to smoking and overpower their physical dependence on nicotine. One of the other treatment method includes the use of anti-depressants, counseling, and nicotine replace. Quitting smoking reduces health risks which result from smoking and increases an individual’s lifespan.
In conclusion, smoking has negative health effects on both smokers and secondhand smokers. It results into various diseases which include coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases among others. Also, it has effects on the sexual and reproductive systems of both male and females. Though quitting might be hard, and it can take longer before a person completely quit smoking, addicts should be encouraged to quit smoking through various treatments and support to reduce the risks of severe health effects. The government should also take an initiative to reduce the rate of smoking in the nation through creating certain policies and strategies. For instance, levying taxes on tobacco, restricting the smoking age (only those above 21 years old to be allowed to smoke).
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017. American Cancer Society, 2017.
Carter, Brian D., et al. “Smoking and Mortality—Beyond Established Causes.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 372, no. 7, 2015, pp. 631-640.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US), Office on Smoking and Health. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US), 2014.
US Department of Health and Human Services. A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010.