Smoking and it’s effects

Smoking has been around for centuries, and this is one of the main reasons smoking is still so popular today. The first record of smoking is from 600AD where pictures of tobacco being smoked has been found on Guatemalan pottery. However historians believe that before that tobacco was first used by the native Americans, in which they used smoked tobacco for medicine and cerimonies. When Christopher Columbus went to America in 1492 he brought tobacco leaves and seeds with him back to Europe. However in the same year, the spanish explorers Jerez and Luis de Torres are credited with first observing smoking.

Jerez becomes a smoker and then takes the habit back to Spain, where, the popularity of Smoking grew. Then from 1492, people in Europe began to cultivate tobacco, firstly in Santo Domingo and later on in countries like Brazil. Even with all of this cultivation, most people didn’t get a taste of tobacco until the the mid 16th century. In 1560, a French ambassador called Jean Nicot de Villmain writes about the many medicinal uses of tobacco. This is the origin of why people thought smoking was good for them and this myth is the a part of the reason for smoking being so popular thorough out the ages.

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This is continued in 1577 when smoking tobacco was recommended for toothache, falling fingernails, worms, hailtosis, lockjaw and cancer. This is quite ironic as we now know that smoking is responsible for up to 90% of cancer patients. Phycians in the early 17th century are upset that tobacco is being used without a prescriptian. However King James I, said that the nearest resembling to smoking was “the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless. ” Shortly before that the Pope banned smoking in all holy places. In 1610 Sir Francis Bacon writes the tobacoo use is increasing and it is a hard custom to quit.

This view was not shared by everyone and the Royal College of Physicians dismissed these view on smoking. This view continues through the centuries as in the First World War cigarettes are included in Army rations to calm soldiers down. Just after the war, smoking was then targeted at women as before then, for a woman to smoke would be immoral saying “Has smoking any more to do with a woman’s morals than has the colour of her hair. ” Other such slogans were targeted at woman such as “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.

With women smoking as well as men, in the 1930s Britain had the highest lung cancer rate in the world. Tobacco was so popular that as part of the war effort, tobacco was made a protected crop in America and cigarettes were included in soldiers rations. Tobacco companies sent millions of free cigarettes to troops. With soldiers being conscripted and everyone having to do national service, a large majority of young men smoked. This meant that the soldiers influenced their children to smoke as children copied their parents to make themselves feel more valued againt the war heroes.

In the long run generations were influenced into smoking, this partially explains the abundance of smokers regardless of the now known medical effects. Why Is It Bad For You? Smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths in the United States and is responsible for about 90% of cancer in women and about 80% in men. Smoking also causes an array of other diseases some of which are of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx (voice box), larynx, esophagus, cervix, kidney, lung, pancreas, and stomach, and is also known to cause acute myeloid leukemia.

More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV which is one of the main probems todays society is faced with. So the main question is if people know how bad smoking is for them: why do they smoke? This is because smoking is highly addictive which is due to the deadly cocktail cigarettes are made of. Cigarettes contain tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide and many other drugs harmful to your health. Nicotine isn’t directly harmful to your system however it is highly addictive and fast acting and gets to the brain 15 seconds after it Is inhaled.

Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, colourless and odourless gas that, when inhaled, is very harmful to the human body. This is because Carbon Monoxide reduces the oxygen cayying capacity of the blood. Too much carbon monoxide inhalation can cause coma and death by asphyxiation (commonly known as suffocation) in its severe form. However a smoker will experience reduced energy due to the Carbon Monoxide so the body has to work harder than that of a non-smoker. Every time someone inhales smoke from a cigarette, some of the air sacs (alveoli) in their lungs die.

Alveoli are where oxygen you breathe in is transferred into your blood. When these are damaged they don’t heal or grow back so people who inhale the smoke have damaged lungs which hinders them doing activities where breathing is important like swimming, dancing or singing. Cilia are small hair like structures that move backward and forward to sweep small particles out of persons lungs. Smoking paralyzes the cilia that line a person’s lung so dust pollen and other things that are inhaled sits in the lungs and builds up. Also, there are a lot of particles in smoke that get into your lungs.

Since your cilia are paralyzed because of the smoke and can’t clean them out, the particles sit in your lungs and form tar. On a lesser noticable level, the smoker when they inhale also breathes the smoke into their sinuses (see above diagram). This damages the mucus membrane causing it to secrete more mucus at it tries to heal itself. This results in smokers producing a lot more phlegm in their nasal cavities. The same damage is done done in the bronchus. When this is coupled by the cillia being paralyzed by the smoke, the thick mucus can lodge in the lungs and cause chest infections.

The damage to the sinuses also reduces the smokers sense of smell and taste. As well as contributing to the ‘smokers cough’. The tar produces by smoking lodges in the aliovi, literallyblocking them. So that the capacity of the lungs is reduced. The chemicals released by the smoke, travel around in the bloodstream and therefore ends up affecting all major organs; mostly the liver and kidneys which are responsible for cleansing the body. Appatite is also surpressed, as acid production is reduced by smoking. Which is the reason for most smokers having a cigarette after a meal.

The brain is affected by the chemicals in the blood and also by a highly addictive compund called nicotine which reaches the brain within 15 seconds of having a cigarette. This makes the smoker want to smoke more, thereby harming his system further. Psycologycally the smoker accosiates smoking with relaxation as many smokers tend to smoke at teabreaks and when they are trying to relax. Smoking also increases with boredom as most smokers that were asked said that they tended to sit down and have a cigarette more when they were bored. Some smokers also report feeling ‘stressed’ when they are unable to have a cigarette.

This is due to nicotine withdrawal as their brains crave another fix of nicotine. Passive Smoking Passive Smoking, also known as secondhand smoking. Secondhand smoking is a mixture of gases and particles that includes smoke from the smoldering end of a cigarette (or cigar) and smoke breathed out by the smoker. 85% of the pollution comes from the cigarettes smouldering tip. The general public does not realise how much smoke their bodies are taking in. Recent studies have shown that exposure to tobacco smoke, causes death, disease and disability (as written in by the World Heath Organisation in Geneva Switzerland, source 2).

According to the surgeon generals report, there is ‘no risk free level to second hand smoke’ and studies show that most secondhand smoke is inhailed in the workplace, private vehicles or in the home. Even with a window open, the smoke pervades invisibly around the home, working place or car so the public are not aware of what they are inhailing. Immidiate effects of passive smoking include: eye irritation, sore throats and coughing. Headaches occur as oxygen levels drop and also dizzyness. Nausea can occur as acid levels in the stomach drop.

Also, people who are prone to asthma may have an attack. This is why passive smoking is so dangerous. Passive smoking does not discriminate against age and any child raised in the household of a smoker will suffer from the effects of passive smoking. During pregnancy nicotine and other harmful chemicals cross over the placenta in the maternal bloodstream, and may cause problems in the developing foetus leading to possible birth deformaties and low birth weight along with weakened lungs, due to lack of development. The smoker is also more likely to have a miscarridge or have a stillborn birth.

The newborn baby is also more likely to be addicted to nicotine and can be more restless after birth as they go through nicotine withdrawal and is more likely to have colic. If the mother breastfeeds the baby, she will also be passing nicotine in her breastmilk to the baby. Young children raised in a smoking enviroment, are more likely to suffer to suffer from chest infections and bronchial disorders such as astma and each year in the United States, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for 150,000-300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia in children aged less than 18 months.

Babies are also likely to develop ear infections and skin disorders such as exhma. Also it is more likely to get eye irriations, runny noses and coughs and colds than from children in non-smoking households. According to the surgeon general, secondhand smoking is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is also known as ‘cot death’ which affects babies of seemingly good health up to the age of approximatly six months. However, second hand smoke can hurt older children and adults too.

Secondhand smoke can cause severve asthma attacks in children and 40% of pediactric emergency cases are exposed to secondhand smoke (Source 5). Adults that breathe the smoke are much more likely to die of a heart disease or lung cancer. Also, if an adult breathes in 4 hours of secondhand smoke a day they also have a higher cholesterol, which clogs arteries making the chance of heart disease more likely. There are three main reasons why people are for smoking in public places, they either smoke, they own a pub or buisness or they are afraid they will loose some kind of freedom if smoking is banned in public places.

The most common argument for smoking in public places is that banning smoking hurts individual rights of the people who wish to smoke as it is a personal lifestyle choice. (wikipedia) Smokers believe that they have the right to smoke and harm themselves and they are free to harm themselves, and that anyone that does not wish to breathe the smoke should stay away. (Source 16 and 18 see bibliography) 64% of people thought that smoking should be a personal matter (Source 21) and that restrictions should be put in place, not a complete ban.

However the most substantial argument for not banning smoking is the damage it will do to many buisnises and their economic loss. This is because banning smoking in pubs is ‘culturally unaware’ (source 18) as a lot of smokers go to the pub to socialise and have a drink as, like source 19 states, most smokers also drink. Not being able to smoke and socialise in a pub or bar means that smokers will take their custom else where, buying alchol and staying at home, most likely with friends. Without this big market coming to their buisness, lots of small buisnesses are likely to close down.

The biggest impact would be on private clubs as, being private usually get to decide on their own rules. If private members are not allowed to smoke they would not go. Costing the private club sector thousands of pounds. However, non smokers have one main argument, that it is not fair that they are subjected to breathing in other peoples’ smoke and it is not fair that they cannot go into places that they want to go to and breathe it there. Souce 20 asks ‘Why should they (non smokers) not go to the pub because they don’t smoke? ‘

The first argument for smoking is fair enough, however it works both ways. Non-smokers have the right not to breathe in smoke, just as smokers have the right to smoke themselves. Source 21 states that ‘70% of the population are currently denied the freedom to go about their lives in a smoke-free environment. ‘ They believe this is wrong and the rights of the non smoker should be kept, as should the rights of the smoker. However, the if a person wished to smoke they can argument is flawed because they are not only harming themselves they are harming others around them.

Ady Miles a resident of Wolverhampton believes that issuing a ban would ‘Will save tens of thousands of lives and save/extend hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise experience unnecessary suffering from associated illnesses and diseases’ (Source 21). This is completely true as Second-hand smoking in the workplace causes about 700 deaths each year, according to research from Imperial College. I believe that smoking should not totally be banned in public places. However I do believe that restrictions should be issued in public, but not in private buisnisses.

I believe that private buisnesses should state whether it is a ‘smoking’ buisness or not and then let people decide for themselves. I believe that ‘non-smoking’ buisnesses should be rewarded more, because they are more healthy but not have sanctions in place for ‘smoking’ places. This then keeps the smokers, and the non smokers happy as special establishments have been allocated for both so if a non smoker wishes to so into a smoking establishment they should do so at their own risk.

I believe that passive smoking is very dangerous as it is a known human carcenogen (source 4) and can cause cancer, and other respitory related diseases. However people should be given the choice whether to smoke or not, as it is their choice because it’s their own body and their own life. No-one should have the right to say what people are allowed and not allowed to do, within reason. But should put restristictions in place to keep everyone happy and also healthy. Because some people should not be put in danger because of other peoples’ actions.

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