Impact of Smoking on my Life

Smoking Kills

        Smoking has a big impact on my life. Not because I smoke, but because everyone else in my family smokes “ literally everyone. I’ve always hated smoking for that reason, and I hated it even more when I lost my grandpa in 2014. He was a huge smoker and always bought two packs of cigarettes that he would finish in less than a week. He went to Iraq early that year and planned on staying for a while. A couple months in we received news that he was very sick and had to come back to the US. The rest of his time here was spent in the hospital because he was diagnosed with lung cancer. His body was too weak for chemotherapy and there was nothing else to do because the cancer was growing fast and spreading throughout his whole body. A couple years later his brother died of lung cancer also because of smoking. My only fear is that smoking might kill my whole family. 

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        There is a lot my family members and people in general don’t understand about cigarettes. Cigarettes contain about 4,000 to 7,000 chemicals, most of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Smoking causes short term affects like increased blood pressure and heart rate. Things that people will experience right after smoking is bad breath, bad taste in mouth, smelly hair and clothes. There would also be yellow stains on the person’s teeth (“Zone”). At the same time, it stains people’s hands and beards (if you’re a male). In my family, you can tell someone smokes just by those things. You walk passed them and they smell like cigarettes mixed with cologne or perfume (to cover the stench). A lot of my older family members have gray facial hair and you can see the yellow stains due to smoking, it doesn’t look pleasant.  Later smoking causes long term affects such as cancer and deadly diseases. If a person continues to smoke, they will end up having chronic lung disease and stroke. Also, the risk of getting cancer in the lungs, larynx, esophagus, mouth, bladder, lung, mouth, throat, stomach, and kidney will get higher if smokers continue. If women smoke while pregnant adverse birth outcomes are likely to happen (Alter). If a person continues to smoke the small airways lose elasticity and the ability to exhale will be more difficult (“Zone”). 

Another thing that they don’t understand is that the people around them get affected too. The same smoke they inhale is the same smoke that comes out. In a recent article I read written by a smoking support group titled “Have You Ever Wondered What’s In a Cigarette?” mentioned that “Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins.” Those same chemicals and toxins are put out for the people around them (Have). They also don’t know about nicotine, a highly addictive drug that’s in cigarettes. When nicotine is inhaled it reaches the brain in six seconds, nicotine acts like a stimulant for the brain. In a recent article that was written by Sandra Alters titled “Tobacco” she mentions that, “When a person smokes a cigarette, the body responds immediately to the chemical nicotine in the smoke. Nicotine causes a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and the flow of blood from the heart.”  Another thing is that the chemical nicotine will cause the arteries to narrow (Alter)

            There are many reasons why people begin to smoke. In an article titled From the First to the Last Ash: The History, Economics & Hazards of Tobacco.” written by the Health Literacy website authors mention that, “most people start smoking when they are In their teens and are addicted by the time they reach childhood” (From). It al starts with uneducated youth thinking that smoking has no affect on them and they think its “cool.” But little do they know that it doesn’t take long before your addicted to it. Other reasons could because of peer pressure or because they want to gain popularity. By the time you get addicted they find it harder to stop, and the older they get the more they smoke. I feel like those who start young tend to pass it one to the younger generation without actually realizing, it almost becomes hereditary. Another reason why people begin to smoke is when people begin to smoke due to negative life experiences.

        That was the case for my family members due to the harsh times they went through doing Sadam Hussien’s time in office in Iraq. It all started with my great grand parents from my mom side of the family, then it was slowly passed on from one person to another. Soon enough my grandparents started smoking around the time they left Iraq as refugees. During that time, they had 7 kids between the ages of 3-17 one of them being my mom. A lot of them remember all the pain and suffering they went through and they use that as an excuse to why they all started smoking. When they made it to the US, they had 3 more kids, who are also smokers now. They didn’t go through all the pain and suffering, but I feel like they started doing it because everyone else was. Then most of them grew up and started a family and have kids that are my age and also smoke, one of them being my brother. I always comeback and think that smoking is hereditary. It stared with my great grandparents that smoked, then had my grandpa and his siblings that all smoked, then my grandpa and his siblings grew and started families and have kids that smoke, then all my aunts and uncles smoking along with their cousins and kids. In a recent article written by Allie Bidwell she mentions that, “The longer children are exposed to the behavior of a parent addicted to smoking, the more likely they are to start the habit themselves and become a heavy smoker in the future…” if the parents end up quitting early the children won’t catch up on to it. Based on this you can see how its like a chain reaction going from one person to another.

        Another thing people don’t understand is the number of deaths smoking causes. In an article written by the CDC, the author mentions that, “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke” (CDC). Even when my family experienced this with my grandpa, they wont even attempted to stop smoking, they began smoking even more. I also don’t want them to stop when its too late. I don’t want them to stop when they find out they have a certain cancer or disease that forces them have a hole in their throat. In the same article the author also mentions that, “More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness” (CDC). I just wish my family were able read and understand these things and what such harm smoking causes. In a Ted Talk presentation by Johnathon Ross, he talks a lot about the dangers of smoking and he says that, “480,000 Americans die a year, that’s more deaths than all the soldiers who died in all the wars from WWII to present…year after year, its worse than war.” From this you can see how something as preventable as smoking causes more deaths than wars.

        It’s never too late to quit smoking, right after you decide to smoke the last cigarette the body begins to heal and the risk of getting cancer and diseases reduce. In an article written by the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the author mentions that, “The sooner smokers quit, the more they can reduce their chances of getting cancer and other diseases.” A lot happens from the first 20 minutes after you quit to 12 hours after you quit. But,

“2 weeks 3 months after quitting circulation improves and lung functions increase. 1-9 months after coughing and shortness of breath decrease. 1 year after smoking the extra risk of heart disease is half of the people who still smoke. 5 years after smoking the risk of stroke reduces to that of nonsmokers. 10 years after, the lung cancer death rate is about half of people who still smoke. 15 years after heart disease risk is same as nonsmokers” (can).

Soon after that you begin to smell better, your clothes, breath and your hands wont smell like cigarettes and people won’t try to avoid you because you smell so bad. Your nails, teeth and beard wont stain because of smoking and you’ll feel a lot better.  

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