Here is a report that my son wrote for his PE class about SMOKING:
Many people today struggle with a smoking addiction. This is one of the most common and dangerous bad habits that people in our society participate in and although it is very hazardous to one’s health, it is still somewhat socially acceptable. The best way to not be a smoker is to never start.
When cigarettes are made, they contain over 4,000 chemicals. They contain at least 43 carcinogenic compounds and lots of other toxins. Some of the most harmful ingredients in cigarettes include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT.
One ingredient in cigarettes is nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive. While smoking cigarettes, the nicotine is inhaled into the lungs and then goes into your brain in about six seconds. Nicotine isn’t as serious as other drugs such as heroin, but addiction to nicotine causes very serious health risks, and it is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Small doses of nicotine act as a stimulant to the brain, while large doses act as a depressant because it slows the flow of signals between nerve cells. Very large doses are considered lethal poisons because they affect the heart, hormones, and blood vessels. When nicotine is in the bloodstream it makes the smoker have a relaxed feeling, but it’s just causing horrible damages to your brain and nerve cells.
While smoking cigarettes, the smoker is inhaling tar into their lungs. The last puff of a cigarette has more than twice as much tar as the first puff. Tar is a mixture of different toxins and substances that form a black colored accumulation that sticks in the lungs. The more you inhale it, the more your craving for nicotine is taken care of, but it does greater damage to your lungs and health.
The number of smokers in the United States has decreased over the past several decades, but hasn’t dropped much recently. In 2005, around 20.9% of adults were cigarette smokers and in 2009 that statistic only went down to 20.6% (which is insignificant). The fact that about 1/5 of adults smoke would be very surprising to most people. More men choose to smoke than women. More multiracial adults smoke than the average (almost 30%). Many American Indians and Alaska Natives also choose to smoke. Another interesting statistic is that smoking is more common among the less educated people. About ¼ of adults who dropped out of high school smoke and almost ½ of adults who only have their GED smoke. Compare this to people who have a graduate degree, and the statistic drops to only 5.6% of them smoking. Another factor is your economic status. Almost 1/3 of poor people smoke which is interesting considering they are the ones who are short on money and maybe they don’t have good health insurance. The state with the lowest amount of smokers is Utah (9.8%) and the states with the highest smoking rates are Kentucky and West Virginia, both at 25.6%. More people smoke in the South and Midwest than in the Western states.
One in two lifetime smokers will die from it. About half of these deaths will occur in their middle age. Smoking cigarettes cause many diseases and problems. Tobacco smoke contributes to a number of cancers. The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which causes problems to your heart and blood vessels. This can cause heart attacks and stroke. It slows your blood flow, which cuts off oxygen to your feet and hands. Some smokers end up having their limbs amputated. Tar coats your lungs and causes cancer. A person that smokes 20 cigarettes a day breathes in up to a 210g of tar in a year. There are “low-tar” cigarettes to try and help smokers inhale less tar. These low-tar cigarettes do not help because smokers usually take deeper puffs and hold the smoke in for longer, which drags the tar deeper into their lungs. Carbon monoxide makes your muscles, brain and body tissues not have enough oxygen, making your whole body work harder. Smoking is a slow way to die. Smoking can cause years of physical suffering.
Another major risk from smoking is developing a disease called emphysema. Emphysema is an illness that slowly rots your lungs. People with emphysema will often have repeated bouts of bronchitis which can be very painful. They can also suffer lung and heart failure. Smokers can get lung cancer from the tar in cigarettes. People who smoke are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than people that don’t smoke. Heart disease and strokes are also more common among smokers than non-smokers. Smoking is the cause for one in five heart diseases. With younger people, three out of four deaths from heart disease are due to smoking.
Smoking doesn’t just affect the smoker, it also affects other people. When you are smoking, you’re letting out smoke into other people’s air. This is called secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers. It smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals; hundreds of them toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.
Secondhand smoke is very dangerous. It causes numerous health problems for children and babies; including asthma, respiratory infections, ear infections, and even sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Secondhand smoke for adults can cause lung cancer and heart disease. Millions of Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces. To reduce smoking acceptance and exposure to secondhand smoke, public health officials need to continue to encourage smoke-free homes and smoke-free policies. Smoke-free policies that prohibit smoking in indoor areas are the only effective way to ensure that secondhand smoke exposure does not occur in the workplace or other public places.
Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system and can cause heart disease among those that are exposed to it even though they are not smoking themselves. Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 premature deaths among nonsmokers from heart disease each year in the United States alone. People that don’t smoke but are exposed to secondhand smoke often have an increase in getting heart disease by 25-30%. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage blood vessels and cause your blood platelets to become stickier. These changes can cause a deadly heart attack.
People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk of suffering adverse effects from breathing secondhand smoke and should take special precautions to avoid any exposure. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults who themselves have never smoked, it’s estimated that about 3,400 lung cancer deaths are from inhaling secondhand smoke among U.S. nonsmokers each year.
Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same carcinogenic poisons as smokers. Secondhand smoke contains about 70 cancer-causing chemicals. The longer the duration and the higher the level of exposure to secondhand smoke, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer will be among the nonsmoking population. If the nonsmoker is a child, they may not have the choice to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
The addiction to nicotine is very strong, but there are ways to quit smoking. People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages. Smoking cessation has many health benefits and these benefits can be evident within a few days. The longer one abstains from smoking, the more chance they’ll have for improved health, including a lower risk for lung cancer and other types of cancer, a reduced risk for stroke, and a reduced risk to other respiratory diseases and symptoms.
Many people try to quit smoking, but it often takes many attempts and it often requires the smoker to try numerous methods in order to find what works best for them. Among current U.S. adult smokers, 70% report that they want to quit completely, and many of these have tried to quit. This equates to millions of Americans who have attempted to quit smoking.
There are many methods to quit smoking. A few methods are clinical interventions, counseling, and behavioral cessation therapies. There are also medical ways to help people quit smoking; such as patches, gum, and pills. All of these methods can be very successful to help a smoker quit, and as stated previously, it often takes multiple methods in order for the smoker to find success at quitting.
In conclusion, smoking is a very hazardous and deadly thing for everybody. Smoking is the number 1 cause of preventable death in America today with an estimated 438,000deaths annually which is 1 out of every 5 deaths that occur in the U.S. The most common cause for smoking death is lung cancer. It causes extreme addiction and is very harmful to the smoker’s body. Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals, over 40 of these cause cancer. One in two life time smokers die because of their bad habit, half of these deaths occur in their middle age. Smoking doesn’t only affect the smoker, but also the people around them. Secondhand smoke can be just as harmful as smoking. Many people who do smoke want to quit, but it is very hard. The best way to stop smoking is to never start.
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/mmwrs/byyear/2010/mm59e0907a1/highlights.htm http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm