Around 1.2 billion people in the world are smokers out of which 90% are aware of the harmful effects of smoking. Still, most of the smokers think that, they won't be the one to be victimized and they have got enough time to lose the habit. The only thing smokers get from smoking tobacco is the temporary good feeling and stress release. Anyone in the right mind would know that it is better not to free your stress by smoking because it is going to cost a lot, one's health, money, time and happiness.
The number of smokers in the world is increasing day by day; every now and then someone is picking up this habit. Smoking statistics shows that, tobacco related disease kill one in ten people worldwide and in America it is one in five. One third of the male population and one fifth of the teen population are smokers.
The health effect of smoking are not same in everyone, some who have smoked for ages may lead a normal life with minimal health risk, whereas others who picked up the habit in a few years are found to have severe smoking related diseases. This is due to the fact that different people have different genetic makeup. A person with cancer susceptible gene has an elevated chance of getting the disease, when in contact with environmental factors, in this case- tobacco smoke.
Tobacco smoke is found to contain 4000 different chemicals and over 45 carcinogens, of which 11 are most potent, Type 1 carcinogen. Each of the chemical affects the health in different ways and each and every part of the body can be damaged by this carcinogen-toxin mix.
Smoking has both short term and long term health effect. Very short exposure to tobacco smoke can cause many health problems usually respiratory illness like cough, bronchitis, cold and pneumonia. Increased heart beat, high blood pressure dizziness, irritation of eye and throat, low appetite and reduced blood flow to extremity are also associated with short term tobacco use. The short term effects are seen in people who are occasional smokers or recent smokers. Occasional smokers have 2.4 times more risk of cancer than non smokers.
On the long run, smoking causes many more diseases and disorders. The list of diseases caused by long term smoking is a bit scary. Continuing smoking habit can make us like dead meat, finding it difficult even to breathe in air. The long term users are trading his health and life for every bit of poison, tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogen that he takes in, finally loosing around 14 years from his precious life – 'a very high price to pay for the poison mix'.
Prolonged use of cigarette causes cardiovascular disease due to narrowing the arteries. Over 30% of coronary thrombosis is caused by smoking, kidney failure and cerebral thrombosis etc are other heart related problems caused by smoking. In smokers, coronary thrombosis is found to occur at least 10 years prior to that in non smokers. A large majority of lung cancer (90%) and throat cancer patients are smokers. The frequency and period of smoking increases the risk of diseases as it is dose related, the more you smoke, the more risk you are at.
Oral cancer, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer and esophageal cancer risk is increased by smoking. 80% of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which are group of breathing problem caused by blockage of air flow, is also tobacco related. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are included in COPD. Emphysema is the condition where the patient finds it very difficult to breath as most of the alveoli or air sac of the lungs is damaged. 94% of smokers who use 20 cigarettes a day are found to have some degree of emphysema.
Other risk caused by long term smoking includes heart attack, stroke, muscular degeneration, cataract, loss of eyesight and ulcers. Smoking reduces the antioxidants and immunocompetant cell in the body, making the smoker less immune to diseases. Smoking is also related to impotency in men and low fertility in women. Smoking in expecting mothers increases the risk of abortion and complicates delivery. It is also associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Smoking increases the blood sugar by inhibiting insulin production, it also accounts for increased levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.
Passive smoking poses as a risk to innocent non smokers who accidently inhale the second hand smoke. The risk factor for cancer in passive smokers is high when compared to a person who hasn't come in contact with second hand smoke in any stage of life. Children whose parents smoke are at a higher risk of asthma and bronchitis. In infants second hand smoke causes severe respiratory infections. Second hand smoke also increases the chance of lung, bladder and cervical cancer.
Tobacco, alcohol and drugs are addictives that affects the general health and emotional well being of a person. It is indeed difficult to quit these habits, but quitting has a lot health and emotional benefits. On the negative side, the 'ex smokers' starts to show withdrawal symptoms like dryness of mouth, irritability, temper etc on quitting tobacco. They have an uncontrollable urge to smoke, and they become edgy and demanding during this phase. These withdrawal symptoms can be overcome with the help of counseling, using quitting aid and by joining a quitter support group. The love and care provided by the family members help the smoker to overcome this stage.
On quitting cigarette, the general health of the person starts to improve and the risk of various diseases subsides. The blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and cholesterol start to come under control within weeks of quitting. 15 years after your very last cigarette, you become nearly as healthy as a non smoker. Quitting will improve your emotional wellbeing and happiness of your family. Quitting also improves the financial status as thousands of dollars spent on cigarette and treatment of smoking related disease is saved. It is never too late, try your hardest and you can. Shed of all the risk and evolve into a healthy human.