Short-Term Effects of Smoking
We will first focus on the physical effects of smoking perspective. There are many short-term effects that have been proven as a result of smoking. Though short-term effects are not seen to be fatal compared to long-term risks of smoking, they still affect one’s health significantly. Smoking can cause addiction to nicotine, dental issues, increased risk of developing depression, nervousness, and behavior toward damaging one’s health. A very common dental issue seen is developing yellow teeth. There is also a decreased ability to be active seen in smokers, and more specifically: a rapid heartbeat, a decrease in blood circulation, as well as shortness of breath (Martin, 1). Collagen is a protein found in the body’s tissue that serves as the building block of one’s skin. It helps with elasticity, renewal of cells within the skin, and aids in holding joints together. There is a lack of collagen production in the body of smokers which can lead to a significantly slower healing process along with an increased risk of experiencing an injury.
Long-Term Effects of Smoking
We will next focus on the long-term effects of smoking. These include diseases such as heart and coronary artery disease, issues with respiration, an elevated risk of developing osteoporosis due to the lack of bone density that a smoker’s body has, lung, skin problems – more specifically – psoriasis, increased risk of having a stroke, emphysema, and cancers that range from but not limited to lung, throat, and stomach cancer. Smokers also tend to have a higher likelihood of developing infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and fertility issues found in both men and women. Smoking women on most types of birth control have even experienced significant detrimental health effects, for example, heart attacks. Exceeding breast cancer, the leading cause of avoidable deaths seen in women in the wh United States is now lung cancer (Rauner 2007).
Why Smokers are Smoking Poison
Smoking tobacco is essentially smoking poison due to thousands of chemicals found in cigarettes. We will next focus on the following chemicals present in each cigarette– acetone, acetic acid, ammonia, arsenic, benzene, butane, cadmium, carbon monoxide, lead, naphthalene, methanol, tar and toluene – and where/what these chemicals are commonly used for in order to support the perspective of how smoking can physically damage one’s body. Most smokers are not educated on many of the components found in the deadly product they come into contact with every day. Therefore, this is an important topic to discuss when considering the physical health effects of this product. Majority of the chemicals listed above fall under one of the four categories: carcinogens, toxic metals, radioactive metals, and poisons. As stated in a previous paragraph, carcinogens are defined as any ingredient that can result in developing cancer. Benzene is an example of a carcinogen. Toxic metals are defined as a compound that has the ability to affect one’s heath in a dangerous and harmful way. Some of these compounds include arsenic and cadmium. Radioactive toxic metals are metals that more significantly more toxic due to their radioactive characteristic. Lead-210 is an example of these specific types of metals. The final category, poisons, can be defined as any material that when brought into contact with a living creature, will cause significant suffering and can ultimately lead to death. Examples of poisons are ammonia and carbon monoxide.
Next, specific types of these chemicals will be discussed. Acetone is found in substances used to remove nail polish. Acetic acid is found in many hair dyes. Ammonia is a substance found in many products used for household cleaning. It is also found in fertilizers and pesticides. Arsenic is commonly found is rat poisons. Benzene is found at excessive levels in cigarettes and is a substance found in gasoline, rubber cement, and pesticides. Butane is a compound found in lighter fluid. Cadmium and lead are metals found in batteries. More importantly, cadmium, in this form, is active and highly toxic. Carbon monoxide is also present in cigarettes at higher levels than the other chemicals. This substance is found in car exhaust and is lethal at large enough quantities. Naphthalene is a constituent found in mothballs. Methanol is a major component in fuel used to power rockets. Tar is the chemical used to pave the roads we drive on.
It does not take a rocket scientist to explain why the majority of first-time smokers have a negative experience when smoking for the first time. A few of these negative experiences include severe coughing, nausea, and pain and/or burning sensations in the throat, oral and nasal cavities. These negative experiences are the body’s response to detecting poison inside. Because of the highly addictive nature of nicotine, a substance found in cigarettes responsible for the “feel good” feeling, the body learns to adapt in any way it can to the hazardous effects of these detrimental chemicals being inhaled. Nicotine addiction can be compared to the addiction of cocaine, or even that of nicotine (Martin, 1). Yet, the tobacco industry continually refuses to accept the fact that their products are in this way are physiologically addictive. This is supported by a quote from an ex tobacco industry scientist, Anthony Colucci. He stated, “I’m a scientist who says: “it’s about time they quit this charade. I’m sick and tired of the way they distort and ignore the science. It’s time they take responsibility early on to tell what their own researchers were finding out. Instead, they ignored it and made a mockery of it. I think it is time for the tobacco industry to say: This stuff kills people. We know that. Smoke at your own risk.” (Bates, 11)
Physical Long-Term Effects of Smoking
This essay briefly covered the physical and mental short- and long-term health effects of smoking. Most of society only sees the physical long-term effects of smoking because smoking is seen as a national, state, and local problem. However, what most of society does not see is how hard nicotine addiction and withdrawal are, and how hard it is to overcome. It is easier for someone who has never smoked in their life to condemn a smoker for not quitting. What they do not see or understand is that there are negative health effects that come along with not smoking. Whether smoking is better than bad for you or vice versa, is dependent on the person. The lifestyle and mindset of each individual person is the only thing that can determine what is best for someone.