A Closer Look at the Effects of Smoking

 Imagine this: you are taking a stroll at a park. There is a slight breeze and the sun is high up in the sky. Suddenly, you are overwhelmed by a foul smell. You look around to find the source of the smell and find a young man in his early twenties smoking a cigarette about 15 feet away from you. After approaching this man to ask him why he smokes, you learn that he began smoking at a young age and became addicted over time. You ask yourself, “What are the effects of smoking for any individual at any age?”

Smoking can affect this person’s life in many different ways, primarily their health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37.8 million or 15.5% of adults smoke cigarettes in the U.S. Of this percentage, 16 million suffer from smoking-related diseases. These diseases include heart disease, chronic bronchitis, stroke, and cancer just to name a few.  Although these diseases begin to develop after several cigarette uses, smoking can have immediate effects on your body the first time you begin smoking. Some immediate effects are: higher blood pressure, changed brain and muscle activity, and inflamed airways. Nicotine can change brain and muscle activity as it enters the brain and muscle tissue and can relax or make muscles tense. Nicotine can also increase blood pressure as it puts a strain on your heart. Smoking can cause your airways to become inflamed as they become narrow and reduce air flow into your lungs. Smoking is also the leading cause of preventable death. Although smoking can have a negative impact on your health, it can also become an addiction.

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A single cigarette contains about 600 ingredients and cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. Out of these ingredients, the main addictive substance and one of the harshest chemicals is nicotine. Out of all the people who have ever tried a cigarette, 80 percent became addicted. Due to the fact that cigarettes contain a highly addictive substance, it is very difficult to quit smoking and people can spend hundreds of dollars trying to quit. Some items used to quit smoking are nicotine nasal spray, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, and nicotine inhaler. Although there are many treatment options, only 55.4 percent of adult smokers attempted to quit. If an individual is addicted to smoking, not only is he greatly affected, but so are his family and friends. 

Smokers should keep in mind that if he or she smokes, they will not be the only ones affected. Their relationship with those around them will be affected greatly if he or she smokes. Not only is secondhand smoke bad for any children nearby, those living with a smoker between the ages of 3-11 have 54 percent nicotine levels in their bloodstream. Secondhand smoke is also responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma. Smoking is also dangerous if the smoker is a pregnant. Smoking while pregnant can cause miscarriages or disabilities. Twelve percent of babies born to smokers had a low birth weight compared to 7.5 percent of non-smokers. If an individual was to smoke around his or her children, their children are more likely to become smokers themselves. Due to these reasons, individuals should know the effects smoking has not only on themselves but those around them also.

To conclude, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking has three main negative effects on an individual. One of these effects is causing illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Another effect of smoking is leading a life of addiction if measures are not taken to quit smoking. The final effect of smoking listed above is negatively impacting an individual’s relationships with his or her friends and family.  These effects can impact any individual who smokes no matter how old they are.

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