The costs of smoking

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Jasmin K.                

The costs of smoking! 

It has now been more than 50 years since Richard Doll and Bradford Hills discovery linking tobacco smoking with lung cancer has been published. Their conclusion that “smoking is a factor “ (1), that causes the production of carcinoma of the lung has been confirmed by many further studies done by different scientists throughout the world. These studies have also ascertained connection between smoking and heart dieases, cancer (especially lung cancer), bronchitis, organ failure, indigestion.

In my essay I will discuss the costs of smoking in terms of health care associated with tobacco-related illness and the fact that a smoker’s quality of life is reduced and life span shortened by smoking.

Chemicals found in cigarettes:

Analysis proof that cigarettes contain up to 4000 different chemicals, such as tobacco and many other toxic ingredients. Cigarette smoke contains three main ingredients. These are nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Each of these has its own effects on the body.

  1. Nicotine is addictive:
  • Nicotine is a stimulant and therefore makes you feel more alert and active.
  • Nicotine affects the brain.
  • It is addictive and therefore if your body gets used to it, it is very difficult to do without it and that’s why some smokers find it so hard to give up smoking.
  • Nicotine is very poisonous and is used in some insecticides. Each cigarette contains about 2 mg of nicotine. After smoking 1 cigarette, the nicotine which is absorbed goes into the blood. But 15 minutes after smoking the cigarette, half of this nicotine has been broken down, so basically 1 mg remains in the blood.
  • As mentioned above, nicotine is absorbed readily into the blood and stimulates the nervous system to reduce the diameter of arterioles and the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. “This increases heart rate and blood pressure and decreases the blood supply to the extremities - for example, the hands and feet.”(2). Therefore smoker are more likely to suffer from heart disease than people who do not smoke.
  • Nicotine also affects the platelets by making them stickier which, “can lead to an increased risk of blood clots forming.”(3).
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  1. Carbon monoxide:
  • Carbon monoxide is a gas that diffuses across the alveoli and is absorbed into blood.
  • In the blood it combines directly with haemoglobin inside the red blood cells and so forms carboxyhaemoglobin.
  •  This means that the hemoglobin is stopped from becoming fully saturated and therefore there is less hemoglobin available to carry oxygen (“it carries 5-10% less oxygen” (4)).
  • So basically someone who smokes heavily and inhales up to 1/5 of his hemoglobin is combined with carbon monoxide instead of oxygen!
  • It also damages the heart because it supplies ...

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