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The Costs Of Smoking Essay

1740 words - 7 pages

The Costs of Smoking

Humans are the only animals to inhale smoke intentionally. Humans have
found many ways to inhale smoke, but there are no known benefits.
Cigarettes, the most popular method of inhalation, appear deceptively
basic, just a paper cylinder containing processed tobacco. In fact,
they are highly designed to deliver a steady dose of nicotine, from
the three main types of tobacco, virginia, burley and oriental, which
each contain varying levels of nicotine. Cigarettes also contain
thousands of other chemicals, though these include some which may seem
harmless, such as sugar, chocolate and vanilla, which are added to
make smoke appear milder and easier to inhale. However, even these
harmless substances, may become toxic when combined with other
substances. There have been many studies by medical professionals to
investigate the effects of the inhalation of smoke, nicotine and the
cocktail of chemicals, on our bodies. The physiological cost of
smoking is sustained by the highly addictive nature of nicotine, which
makes it difficult for the smoker to give up. This will be examined
later in the essay along with the reversal of damaging effects if the
smoker quits. The many damaging physiological effects on the human
body have been proven consistently over the past few decades,
including diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems, various
cancers and premature ageing, which will now be discussed.

There are various diseases of the circulatory system, which may be
smoking related, the greatest 'killer' being coronary heart disease.
As soon as you inhale the smoke from a cigarette, it affects your
heart. In less than 60 seconds, the heart beat speeds up, and blood
pressure rises, causing extra work for the heart as the blood vessels
contract. On top of this, carbon monoxide released from the cigarette
decreases the blood's capacity for carrying oxygen. Considering the
average smoker's heart is under these extra stresses every day, it is
not difficult to see why smoking increases the chance of coronary
heart disease. Smoking also tends to increase blood cholesterol
levels. Furthermore, smokers have higher levels of low-density
lipoprotein, ('bad' cholesterol) and lower levels of high-density
lipoprotein, ('good' cholesterol). Cigarette smokers also have a
higher level of fibrinogen, which causes blood to clot quickly, and
makes blood stickier. All of these factors increase the chance of
arterial disease.

Respiratory disorders include chronic obstructive lung disease, which
narrows the airways and destroys alveoli, (the air sacs in which gas
diffusion takes place). Smoking suppresses the effectiveness of the
cilia causing the bronchioles to become blocked, and secrete excess
mucus. Pneumonia is not only more common amongst smokers, but also
increases the...

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