Cigarettes... An invitation to Death!


Cigarette Smoking is injurious to health… a statutory warning that appears on every packet of the death – stick… Death Stick? {http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=death%20stick} Well all of you agree that I am right, that I am sure of. But exactly how? And what are the effects? These nuggets of information are always couched in friendly terms – something that I do not agree to. So, my contribution is given below, a no-holds-barred brutal statement of bare facts.
  
  
THE PROCESS OF ADDICTION 
Smoke is inhaled through the mouth, and goes into the lungs, where nicotine is absorbed by the blood and reaches the brain in 7 seconds approx! Yes, just 7 seconds. And no, nicotine is not the only evil involved as you shall note below. {This is for advocates of low-nicotine cigarettes}. And a further no: cigarettes are not the only source of nicotine, there are other household sources - they are only the most potent sources; the other sources are not harmful. And an even further no, I shall not delve more into the other sources as they are a subject unto themselves! The difference is in the method of intake: the cigarette sources bypass all functions and directly reach the bloodstream.
  
In the brain, nicotine increases the levels of Dopamine, a chemical that attaches to receptors on neurons in the brain when they “fire” {medicos to ignore this gross simplification}: just like cocaine. Yes, cocaine. The only difference is that cocaine replaces the dopamine in the brain – which nicotine does not do. And THAT is the reason why smoking causes better concentration, a feeling of pleasure and contentment. {In cocaine addiction, this is at a higher level, a stage akin to euphoria}. The similarity of the impact of nicotine and cocaine is a subject of research, and there exists a good deal of information in relation to this. 



  
In due course, the brain adapts to higher concentrations of Dopamine and probably leads to an increased number of receptors. That is why the craving for a smoke happens: the levels of Dopamine can only by supplied by a shot of nicotine! 
  
  
  
THE COMPONENTS OF CIGARETTE SMOKE 
Nicotine 
Tars 
Ammonia 
Formaldehyde 
Acetone 
Methanol 
Hydrogen Cyanide 
Carbon Monoxide {The leading cause of death by asphyixiation} 
Benzene 
Isopropene 
Toluene 
Hydrogen Sulfide 
Polonium 
Glycol 
Plutonium 
Nickel 
Acetaldehyde 
Phenols 
etc 
etc 
  
The complete list will include more than 4000 chemicals! While some of these chemicals are very “esoteric” and complex, all of us have seen a few in our daily lives: Tar is found on road surfaces and Carbon Monoxide is the leading cause of death {asphyxiation} in cases of fires. Ammonia, too should ring a bell: remember the foul-smelling substance in our science labs? Formaldehyde: well, recall science labs again for specimen samples… need I say more? 
  
  
THE IMPACT 
There is not a single part of the body that goes scot – free from the effects of cigarette smoke. The list will include:  
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Heart Disease 
  • Pulmonary Disease 
  • Vascular Diseases 
  • Stroke 
  • Impotence 
  • Respiratory Infections 
  • Ulcers 
  • Cancer 
  • Skin wrinkling 

  
There are other impacts… but this is not a medical lesson, just an attempt to contribute to the anti-smoking campaign. If I can influence even ONE person to stay away, I will have succeeded in my endeavour! 
  
I could, for instance point out that cigarette smoke contains 60 known carcinogens, or that it obstructs the cilia in the alveoli in the lungs. Or, take the fact that nicotine is a known insecticide, and is known to cause constriction of arteries as well as increase the heart rate. Or that CO {Carbon Monoxide} attaches to Heamoglobin more than 200 times faster than Oxygen, and causes narrowing of arteries, Blood clots, Loss of reflexes etc. Or that the concentration of CO in smoke is twice that in car exhausts. Or that it takes upto 24 hours for the CO to leave the system. Or that one packet of cigarettes in equal to more than 200 mgms of tars! Or that Smoking even interferes with the action of certain medications! Or that…. 
  
The list is long, very long. Too long for this forum. But why am I saying this? Because of you? Why should I care? I don’t even know you! But YOU should – for your own sake, as well as for the sake of those around you. I do not know you, who you are, who is your family… but YOU care. You care about yourself, your family and friends do. Quit for their sake… 
  
AND, if you don’t, then kindly don’t smoke near non-smokers: as I haven’t even begun the lecture on second – hand smoke! You want to die – go ahead and die. 

(This was first posted on Mouthshut.com, my earlier blog effort @http://www.mouthshut.com/review/General-Advice-on-Smoking-review-qsrootrtom)

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