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Cause and Effects of Smoking Cigarettes, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 913

Essay

Smoking cigarettes has historically been a leisurely and highly popular social activity that a litany of people turn to as a way to assuage daily stress, lose weight, and feel socially accepted in a constantly evolving social world. Tobacco, the main ingredient in cigarettes, has high levels of nicotine, which is a highly addictive ingredient that makes it hard for people to quit smoking if nicotine is ingested on a quotidian basis (Woolbright, 1994, p. 337). According to the CDC (2014), cigarette smoking causes over 480,000 deaths annually in the United States alone, which translates into one out of every five people extirpating due to the ingestion of tobacco. A preventable cause of death, cigarette smoking kills more persons than accidents caused due motor vehicle accidents, alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, deaths involving firearms, and the HIV/AIDS virus altogether (Center For Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Women who smoke tobacco disproportionately suffer from even more health problems as it directly harms not only their reproductive health but also their mortality and morbidity rates of their progeny or future children (American Lung Association, n.d.). People should not smoke because it not only spawns negative health effects but also because it is not economically useful. If people stopped smoking, many lives would be both indirectly and directly saved from premature and preventative deaths as a result.

Doctors and other medical experts pinpoint the various health hazards caused by smoking, especially to the statistics pertaining to the nexus between smoking cigarettes and premature death, in order to convince people to quit smoking. In the past five decades, the risk of premature death in both female and male smokers has profoundly increased (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). According to the CDC (2014), smoking cigarettes causes a handful of diseases because it adversely impacts almost all bodily organs and detracts from the general health of enthusiastic smokers. The risk of developing coronary heart disease (COPD), various cardiovascular maladies, and stroke–the leading cause of death in the United States alone–increases two to four times as much due to the damage it spawns to blood vessels because tobacco narrows and thickens them. These ramifications cause rapid heartbeat, which results in higher blood pressure levels which renders smokers vulnerable to blood clots. If blood clots prevent blood from reaching the heart, people put themselves  at risk for heart attack due to the fact that the heart does not get enough oxygen and thus kills the heart muscle. In addition, blood clots can also cause a stroke because they can hinder blood flow to the brain. Shockingly, quitting smoking even after just one year drastically enhances an individual’s risk of incurring poor cardiovascular health. Moreover, smoking is directly connected to various respiratory diseases due to the fact that it harms both airways and alveoli, or the minute air vacs, that are in the lungs. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, and bronchitis are common forms of lung disease that chronic smokers often develop. In addition, medical experts correlate cigarette smoking with a litany of cancers, which have been pinpointed as the primary cause of lung cancer in individuals who smoke for a protracted period of time. Smoking cigarettes can also spawn various other types of cancer, including cancer in the stomach, liver, kidneys, bladders, pancreas, and oropharynx. Smoking not only puts smokers at risk for these often fatal types of cancer but also to those around smokes as a result of second-hand smoking. Second-hand smoke, according to the CDC (2014), causes an estimated 34,000 deaths per year in non-smokers because they too develop various cardiovascular diseases while an estimated 8,000 persons prematurely dying as a result of stroke (CDC, 2014). They also are put at risk for developing lung cancer by approximately thirty percent, and their risk for heart attack is also amplified. Physicians estimate that if nobody smoked cigarettes around the world, an estimated one out of every three deaths caused by cancer would not manifest (1).

More poignantly, smoking cigarettes negatively impacts women’s reproductive health, and children who are exposed to cigarette smoke suffer from often fatal effects. Many studies have analyzed and outlined the negative ramifications of maternal smoking on both the mother and the baby and/or infant ( Hofhuis, de Jongste, & Merkus, 2003 & Woolbright, 1994). Many states require documentation on birth certificates of maternal tobacco consumption (Woolbright, 1994). Despite the Surgeon General’s stern warning that maternal smoking has been linked to fetal injury, premature birth, and/or low birth rate, 15-37% of pregnant women still smoke cigarettes while pregnant (Hofhuis, de Jongste, & Merkus, 2003). Mothers who smoke also frequently participate in other high-risk behaviors that also negatively impacts the health of their progeny. Additionally, factors including marital and socio-economic status in addition education level affect the outcome of pregnancies due to increased vulnerability to cigarette smoking (Woolbright, 1994, p. 330). Low birth weight is the main impact of maternal smoking, although the existing literature pinpoints infant death and premature birth as major ramifications of it as well. Infant exposure to tobacco after they are born puts him or her at risk of premature death if they develop respiratory diseases in addition to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Woolbright, 1994). Hofhuis, de Jongste, and Merkus (2003) assessed how smoking cigarettes during pregnancy in addition to passive smoking thereafter affects both the mortality and morbidity rates in children. Statistics show that other obstetric complications directly linked to smoking, including spontaneous abortions, premature rupture of membranes, ectopic pregnancies, and complications related to the placenta. Smoking also stunts the lung growth that fetuses need in utero, which results in the child suffering from weakened lungs after birth while also exponentially increases the child’s chance of suffering from asthma and a vast array of other crippling  respiratory diseases. In addition, it stunts brain development and detracts from the child’s mental acuity.

References

Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. (2014, February 6). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 21,             2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_ cig_smoking/

American Lung Association. (n.d.). Women and tobacco use. American Lung Association. Retrieved November 21, 2015 from http://www.lung.org/stop- smoking/about-smoking/facts- figures/women-and-tobacco-use.html

Ault, R. W., Jr., R. E., Jackson, J. D., Saba, R. S., & Saurman, D. S. (1991). Smoking  and Absenteeism. Applied Economics23, 743-754.

Hodgson TA. Cigarette Smoking and Lifetime Medical Expenditures. Millbank Q 1992, 70, 81-125.

Hofhuis, W., de Jongste, J. C., & Merkus, P. J. (2003). Adverse Health Effects of Prenatal and Postnatal Tobacco Smoke Exposure on Children. Arch Dis Child88, 1086-1090.

Woolbright, L. A. (1994). The effects of maternal smoking on infant health. Population Research and Policy Review13(3), 327-339.

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