Smoking Essay, Research Paper
Thesis: Smoking causes a lot of diseases and requires special methods to stop its damages.
I- Types of smoking
II- Effects of smoking
A. Cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease
C. Complications in pregnancy
III- Cessation of smoking
A. Methods used
1. Get prepared mentally
2. Find temporary substitute habit
3. Avoid temptations
1. Health changes
2. Withdrawal symptoms
Throughout the history of mankind, the world witnessed many discoveries and progresses due to continuous researches and experiments in several fields such as medicine and physics. Theses persisting scientific studies led to the birth of modern technologies which helped in improving the civilization. In spite of all the progress and the new knowledge, human beings have prevailed in having a lot of bad habits. One of these lethal habits is smoking. Smoking is the act of inhaling the fumes from a burning substance usually tobacco (Marr p.5). It causes tremendous diseases but could be stopped according to certain methods.
Smoking is divided into two categories: active and passive. The first type is the act of smoking onself while the second one consists of inhaling smoke because of proximity to a smoker (Encarta). The non-smoker breathes “sidestream” smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette and “mainstream” smoke that has been inhaled and then exhaled by the smoker (ash.org.uk). Cigarette smoking is the prime but not the only one. Pipes, cigars as well as smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco, tobacco pouches, and snuff dipping) are all considered as a major cause of deadly diseases.
Wether a person smokes actively or involuntarily, he is exposed in both cases to the same risks. First of all, he might suffer from “cardiovascular disease” particularly myocardial infarction (heart attack). This is caused by “atherosclerosis which is characterized by the deposition of lipids, a type of fat, and fibrous tissue in the walls of arteries” (Swisher, p.25). According to the Action on Smoking and Health web site (ash.org.uk), in 1995 24 thousand people died from heart disease caused by smoking.
In addition, peripheral vascular disease may occur also due to the development of atherosclerosis in the blood vessels of a limb. The “gangrene “(death of tissues) may lead to “amputation of a foot or a digit” (Swisher, p.27).
Another fatal consequence is cancer: cancer of lungs, larynx, oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, and bladder. In fact, tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 43 of them are “carcinogenic”, cancer promoting. Statistics (Encarta) refer that lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer death worldwide basically due to smoking. Its symptoms include a persistent hacking cough, blood in the sputum, wheezy breathing, pain in the shoulder, chest, neck or facial swelling, and recurring pneumonia or bronchitis (Encarta).
Along with the heart and cancer diseases, tobacco presents crucial effects on pregnancy. It increases the incidence of prematurity and low birth weight, spontaneous abortions, and “sudden infant death syndrome, SIDS” (Marr p.33). The baby might die during or even after the birth. The English research team interviewed the parents of 195 babies who died of SIDS and compared them with other parents. Nearly two thirds of the mothers whose babies died smoked, while only a quarter of the control-group mothers did (ash.org.uk). However the possibility of acquiring these hazards is dose-related. It is tied to the numbers of packs smoked per day and the numbers of years of smoking and may decrease once the patient quits this harmful habit.
Several ways have been established to help cigarettes addicted to give up smoking. First of all, smokers should be prepared mentally. They must take into consideration that they are not alone in this problem. As an illustration, 70% of British smokers would like to quit and about three million try each year (Brigham, p.10). Although it is tough to break the hold of nicotine, a powerful and addictive drug, patients should have a strong will-power which enables them to seek professional help. Doctors, pharmacists, or trained counselors offer friendly and useful advice. Choosing a specific date like New Year’s day or birthday contibutes in the mental preparation. (Brigham,p11).
Another way to deal with nicotine withdrawal is by using nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, lozenges, inhalers and gums. According to Brigham, it is essential to reduce nicotine in the body gradually by using a low dose instead of cutting it down abruptly. Otherwise, one will feel the urge of taking cigarettes even more intensively.
Overcoming this difficulty means also avoiding all kinds of temptations. It is worth skipping parties in pubs where most of people attending them smoke (ash.org.uk). It would be inappropriate for the healing process. Furthermore, if one feels upset and is under pressure, it is really important not to relapse. Brigham says : “I’ll have just one, it can’t harm is the top of a long and slippery slope” (Brigham, p.20). Therefore, the support of family and friends is vital. Their overwhelming care and love would definitely enhance the will of continuing the challenge.
Succeeding these methods leads to both physical and mental changes. The human body begins repairing the damage done almost immediately, inferring a series of beneficial health changes. Nicotine becomes thoroughly eliminated from the organism and the oxygen level will return to normal (Marr, p.50). Moreover, the lungs start to clear out the smoking debris allowing a better respiration (Marr,p.55). Consequently, the risks of heart attacks and lung cancer decline to half that of a smoker.
Along with the healthy results, some withdrawal symptoms might occur. These symptoms are physical and mental temporary changes and are a product of the physical and psychological adaptation to long-term drug use (Marr, p.57). They are necessary for the readjustment body state. In the case of smoking, they include depression, restlessness and aggression. A person might even gain weight since nicotine alters the appetite and the body’s energy use, the metabolism (Marr, p58). The web site (ash.org.uk) statistics show that more than 80% of smokers will gain weight once they quit smoking, but the long-term weight gain is only 6-8lbs.
Men and women smoke for many different reasons careless about the dangerous effects on their health. They are abide by the pleasure they get from nicotine and they won’t be able to be free from it except by a strong determination. Unless more people get really aware of their smoking behavior the daily death toll will certainly prevail into the next century.
1. “Action on smoking and health”, www.ash.org.uk, Internet, April 1999
2. Brigham Janet, Dying to quit: why we smoke and how we stop. National academy press, 1998.
3. Marr John S. , A breath of air and a breath of smoke. M Evans & co, 1971.
4. “Smoking”, Encarta encyclopedia, 1999.
5. Swisher Karin L. , Smoking. Greehaven press, 1994.