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The Costs of Smoking.

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The Costs of Smoking Humans are the only animals to inhale smoke intentionally. Humans have found many ways to inhale smoke, but there are no known benefits. Cigarettes, the most popular method of inhalation, appear deceptively basic, just a paper cylinder containing processed tobacco. In fact, they are highly designed to deliver a steady dose of nicotine, from the three main types of tobacco, virginia, burley and oriental, which each contain varying levels of nicotine. Cigarettes also contain thousands of other chemicals, though these include some which may seem harmless, such as sugar, chocolate and vanilla, which are added to make smoke appear milder and easier to inhale. However, even these harmless substances, may become toxic when combined with other substances. There have been many studies by medical professionals to investigate the effects of the inhalation of smoke, nicotine and the cocktail of chemicals, on our bodies. The physiological cost of smoking is sustained by the highly addictive nature of nicotine, which makes it difficult for the smoker to give up. This will be examined later in the essay along with the reversal of damaging effects if the smoker quits. The many damaging physiological effects on the human body have been proven consistently over the past few decades, including diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems, various cancers and premature ageing, which will now be discussed. ...read more.


Tobacco smoking is the principal preventable risk factor for bladder cancer, which is estimated to cause up to half the cases in men, and a third in women. Cancer of the pancreas is a rapidly fatal disease with a five-year survival rate of only 4%, and this has also been linked to smoking. It is ironic that young people often start smoking to impress their peers, believing they appear 'cooler', yet the physiological effects of smoking on the individual's appearance causes the opposite effect. The skin can be affected in at least two ways. Firstly, cigarette fumes released into the immediate environment have a drying effect on the skin's outer surface. Secondly, because smoking restricts blood vessels, it minimises the amount of blood flowing to the skin, thus decreasing the amount of oxygen and essential nutrients being delivered to the skin. Research suggests that smoking may reduce the body's store of vitamin A. Also, squinting and puckering when smoking increases wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Smokers in their 40's often have as many facial wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60's. Smoking appears to lower a person's normal weight, and they tend to be thinner than average. The affects of smoking on the endocrine system, (glands which secrete hormones), actually causes smokers to store fat differently. They are more likely to store fat around the waist and upper torso rather than around the hips. ...read more.


After 24 hours, carbon monoxide will no longer be present in the body, and lungs begin to clear of mucus and smoking debris. After 48 hours, there is no nicotine left in the body, and the ability to taste and smell is greatly improved. After 72 hours, breathing becomes easier, bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels start to increase. After 2-12 weeks, circulation improves and 3-9 months later breathing problems improve and lung function is improved by up to 10%. A year after giving up, the risk of heart attacks fall to half that of a smoker. The risk of lung cancer falls to less than half that of a smoker after 10 years, and after 15 years, the risk of a heart attack is back to that of a non-smoker. The costs of smoking are clearly huge and indisputable, though this essay has only dealt with the physiological affects. Smoking is also extremely expensive, not only regarding the cost of the actual cigarettes, but also the extra cost to health services having to treat patients with smoking-related diseases. It has become increasingly less socially acceptable to smoke in public, due to heightened awareness of the affects of passive smoking. Hopefully, the decreasing acceptance of smoking by the public will prevail until smoking is made illegal in public. However the addictive nature of nicotine cannot be under-estimated and even legal steps may have little effect on smokers as they have continued to smoke for decades, knowing the damaging costs. www.ash.org.uk Kent M. (2000) Advanced Biology. Oxford: University Press 1 1 Iain Smith ...read more.

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