I’ll admit-I used to smoke cigarettes like they were going out of style. And at one point, I was smoking almost 2 packs per day for quite some time. The unusual aspect of my unhealthy habit, was the fact that I was extremely active. I was a competetive volleyball player, and I played almost every weekend in volleyball tournaments, and in competitive leagues throughout the weekdays as well. I never thought that smoking would inhibit my ability to play at the level I was accustomed to, but eventually it did at a rate that was ever so gradual.
I believe that smoking ended my ambition to play volleyball at a professional level. It damaged my lungs, the joints in my knees, shoulders, wrists, and elbows, and much more. It was destroying my body slowly and quietly while I ignored the negative impacts it was playing on my health. Taking up smoking was one of the worst choices I have made for myself in my existance, but quitting the nasty habit was one of the best!
I took it upon myself to investigate just how bad cigarette smoking can be for you and your body. But, I also wanted to touch base on the negative effects it has on the people around you as well-and that person that may be growing inside of you.
First of all, here are some interesting-if not shocking-facts about cigarette smoking:
- Worldwide, it is estimated that 1 in 3 adults are active smokers.
- Most smokers take up the habit before the age of 25, with many starting in their early teens.
- In the US, it is estimated that there is just shy of 50 million active tobacco smokers. (Wow.)
- 1 out of every 5 deaths is a result of smoking in the US.
- approximately 400,000 people die as a result of smoking in the US each year-more than AIDS, murders, vehicle accidents, and drug use combined.
- In the US, about $100 billion is spent each year for health care costs related to cigarette smoking-that’s almost $400 per person. : /
- Tobacco companies invest over $4 billion in tobacco advertising each year.
Okay, these facts can be found just about anywhere on the internet. So I decided to dig a little deeper to find information on the negative effects it has on our bodies, the people around us, and the little one that may be growing inside of you.
The approximately 4000 toxins that are found in cigarettes can be the cause of more than just lung cancer. These toxins can also lead to cancer of the nose, mouth,voice box, lip, nasal sinus, tongue, esophagus, throat, pancreas, bone marrow, kidney, cervix, liver, stomach, and bladder. Here are some of the effects that smoking has on your body (more then what many think!)
- Heart and lung related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which include chronic bronchitis and emphysema is common as a result of cigarette smoking. Coronary artery disease, strokes, and heart attacks are also more common among smokers.
- The nicotine found in cigarettes causes the blood vessels in the body to shrink, which in turn results in high blood pressure. This raises the heart rate which causes more stress on the heart.
- The blood becomes thicker and stickier, causing even further stress on the heart.
- Lining of the blood vessels become damaged, which allow fat deposits to accumulate. This eventually leads to the hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). This also causes a decrease in circulation in the hands and feet, which can lead to eunropathy (very painful), and the inability to fight infections. This can lead to grangrene.
The smoke that is inhaled from cigarettes is extremely poisonous. Chemicals such as tar, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, free radicals, and heavy metals are toxic ingredients that can be found in cigarette smoke. Each of these toxins damages the body in its own way. Here are just a few examples:
- Cigarette smoke damages the mouth, teeth and gums, as well as creating ulcers in the digestive tract.
- Causes osteoporosis which is a leeching of calcium from the bones- usually smokers are more prone to fractures.
- Carbon monoxide, a major component of cigarette smoke, binds with higher affinity to hemoglobin and displaces oxygen carried by the blood. Because less oxygen is carried in each blood cell, the heart must pump more blood through the body to transfer the same amount of oxygen to the cells.
- Hydrogen cyanide in cigarette smoke prevents the lungs from cleaning themselves of foriegn chemicals. Cilia, the tiny hairs that help to clean the lungs, are damaged. Chemicals begin to collect in the lungs, preventing oxygenation of the blood.
- Cigarette smokers have higher rates of deadly pancreatic cancer then non smokers.
- Much of the carcinogens from cigarettes are excreted in the urine where their presence can cause bladder cancer, which is often fatal.
- High blood pressure from smoking can also damage the kidneys.
Aside from the above mentioned chemicals, other chemicals that are damaging to the lungs include hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides, organic acids, phenols and oxidizing agents. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that damage the heart muscles and blood vessels. When they react with cholesterol, plaque is created, which increases the risk of arterial damage, stroke, and heart disease. Lastly, tobacco smoke includes dangerous metals including arsenic, cadmium, and lead-these are known to cause cancer.
I would like to touch base on how cigarette smoking effects those around you, the reproductive system, and babies in their pre-natal form. I’ll be sure to discuss these important topics in the very near future.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment! : )