Tocacco And Its Effects Essay

1425 words - 6 pages

Introduction Once considered a glamorous and sophisticated habit, smoking is now viewed with increasing disapproval. The recognition of the health risks of smoking is a primary cause of this change in public opinion, and it has led to significant changes in the behavior of many Americans. Over the past four decades, the proportion of cigarette smoking among adults in the United States has dropped 30%. Private businesses and all levels of government have jumped on the nonsmoking bandwagon. Almost every state now restricts smoking bands for indoor workplaces. The U.S. Surgeon General has proposed that America become a completely smoke-free society.Despite such progress, tobacco use remains widespread. About one in four American adults mokes, and each more than 400,000 Americans die from effects of cigarette smoking. Nonsmokers subjected to the smoke of others also suffer: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke causes more than 50,000 annual deaths among nonsmokers. Smoking by pregnant women is responsible for about 10% of all infant deaths in this country. Smokeless tobacco and cigars are regaining popularity. The use of smokeless tobacco tripled since 1972; cigar smoking has increased 66% in the last 5 years.Given the overwhelming evidence against tobacco, why would anyone today begin using it? How does it exercise its hold over users? What can smokers and nonsmokers do to help achieve a tobacco-free society? In this report, we explore answers to these and other questions.WHY PEOPLE USE TOBACCO If the United States is to become a tobacco-free society, tobacco use must be prevented. This subsection examines the personal and societal forces that induce people to start smoking, as well as the force that encourage them to continue.Nicotine Addiction The primary reason people continue to use tobacco despite the health risks is that they have become addicted to a powerful psychoactive drug: nicotine. Although the tobacco industry long maintained that there was insufficient evidence about the addictiveness of nicotine, scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that nicotine is highly addictive. In fact, many researchers consider nicotine to be the most physically addictive of all the psychoactive drugs. Recent neurological studies indicate that nicotine acts on the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. Nicotine reaches the brain via the bloodstream seconds after it is inhaled or, in the case of smokeless tobacco, absorbed through the membranes of the mouth and nose. It triggers the release of powerful chemical messengers in the brain, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. But unlike street drugs, most of which are used to achieve a high, nicotine's primary attraction seems to be the ability to modulate everyday emotions.At low doses, nicotine acts as a stimulant: it increases heart rate and blood pressure and can enhance alertness, concentration, rapid information processing, memory, and learning. People type...

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