21% of American adults are current cigarette smokers, making the tobacco industry one of the largest industries in our country. With around 400,000 smoking related deaths per year in the United States, it’s also incredibly deadly. Smoking can affect you negatively in many ways, both quickly and slowly.
Causes of Smoking
One of the biggest reasons people start smoking cigarettes is most likely peer pressure. Smokers typically start smoking around ages 15-18, so they try cigarettes in order to “fit in” with their friends. Many smokers claim that cigarettes significantly reduce stress, which could also be a reason to start smoking. Some even do it just to try it, but since nicotine is highly addictive, they never stop. Others may enjoy the social aspect of smoking. Many people also start smoking to mirror others’ behavior, because if someone is smoking around you, you may feel inclined to do the same.
Effects of Smoking On Self
After decades of research by thousands of scientists, one thing is clear – smoking is REALLY bad for you. Some of the short term effects of smoking are shortness of breath, less oxygen to the brain, high blood pressure and heart rate, reduction in senses of taste and smell, persistent cough, asthma attacks, bronchitis, difficulty exercising, and poor dental health (just to name a few). Smoking while pregnant is even worse, as it can cause things like birth defects and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Some long term effects of smoking are heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, throat cancer, circulatory problems, premature aging, various infections, stomach ulcers, and stomach cancer. Like I said, these things are NOT good for you.
Effects of Smoking On Others
Smoking doesn’t just have negative effects on the smoker – it also affects those nearby through secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke casues many of the same ailments as smoking does, such as coughing, bronchitis, and asthma attacks. Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. Every year in the U.S., secondhand smoke causes about 34,000 deaths from heart disease and 7,300 deaths from lung cancer, the CDC says. Smoke makes your blood stickier, raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol, and damages the lining of your blood vessels.
Eventually, these changes can make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Even if you don’t smoke, cigarettes can seriously affect your health in a negative way. Overall, smoking is a serious problem in our country, not only to those who smoke, but to others as well. Whether you just started smoking or you’ve been smoking for decades, cigarettes can and will affect your health in a very negative. Hopefully the number of smokers and smoking deaths in America will continue to decrease so that Americans can live longer, healthier lives.