Hello again everyone. I wish you all long life and prosperity, just like the Captain Spock does in all movies of Star Strek. Speaking of long life, one of the things which may come up into our minds is our health. Healthy living is surely believed by many to be one of the most important life choices to be maintained. Keep being fit is not just the matter of eating habits and exercises we do all the time, but also the other activities we are enjoying consciously or not. One of those activities which affect the health level around the world is smoking. Yup, you read it correctly, smoking. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), currently there are more than 1 billion smokers all over this planet. To be easier, you could say there is one active smoker among 7 people.
Smoking causes many diseases, as it is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of deaths in the world. Tobacco use kills up to half of all users. In addition, it also kills 5.4 million people a year – an average of one person every six seconds – and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths worldwide. Almost half of the world’s children also breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke (WHO, 2015).
According to National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom (UK), smoking causes a lot of health problems, such as:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
- Peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)
- Cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries which supply your brain)
- Chronic bronchitis (infection of the main airways in the lungs)
- Emphysema (damage to the small airways in the lungs)
- Pneumonia (inflammation in the lungs)
Smoking can also worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, or respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. In men, smoking can cause impotence because it limits the blood supply to the penis. It can also affect the fertility of both men and women, making it difficult for you to have children. Furthermore, it could affect some men psychologically since impotence is one of the worst nightmares a man could ever have.
Secondhand smoke comes from the tip of a lit cigarette and the smoke that the smoker breathes out. People who breathe in secondhand smoke are at risk of getting the same health conditions as smokers, particularly lung cancer and heart disease. For example, breathing in secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer or heart disease by about 25%. In addition, babies and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. A child who is exposed to smoke is at increased risk of developing respiratory infections, a chronic cough and, if they have asthma, their symptoms will get worse. They’re also at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and glue ear.
Smoking is so addictive that we have to stop this unhealthy habit from harming those we love. Some people keep saying that being secondhand smokers are at risk equal to active ones, and they prefer to be the active ones to enjoy the psychological effects of it, such as doping. Let me elaborate how it works.
Chemicals in your brain
Nicotine alters the balance of chemicals in your brain. It mainly affects chemicals called dopamine and noradrenaline. When nicotine changes the levels of these chemicals, your mood and concentration levels change. Many smokers find this enjoyable. The changes happen very quickly. When you inhale the nicotine, it immediately rushes to your brain where it takes effect to produce feeling of pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. This is why many smokers enjoy the nicotine rush and become dependent on it. The more you smoke, the more your brain becomes used to the nicotine. This means that you have to smoke more to get the same effect.
Effects of quitting smoking
When you stop smoking, the loss of nicotine changes the levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. This can make you feel anxious, depressed and irritable. It is normal to crave nicotine when you quit, as smoking provides an immediate fix to these problems.
So, what are you waiting for? Do you still want to keep smoking despite knowing the negative effects of it? Think about the ones you love, the future generations, the environment, and the most – yourself. Understand the changes you could possibly bring toward the communities. May you live long and prosper.
WHO. (2015) Tobacco Facts. [online] http://www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/tobacco_facts/en/ Accessed on 3 March 2015.
NHS. (2015) What are the health risks of smoking? [online] http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2344.aspx?CategoryID=53 Accessed on 3 March 2015.
NHS. (2015) Why is smoking addictive? [online] http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2278.aspx Accessed on 4 March 2015.