What is Smoking?

Smoking refers to the inhalation and exhalation of fumes from burning tobacco in cigars, cigarettes and pipes. Historically, smoking as a practice, was followed by natives of the Western Hemisphere, in religious rituals and for medicinal purposes. It has a history starting from the late 1500s. We would try to answer the question as to what is smoking later in the article.

Explorers of the New World saw it fit to introduce tobacco into Europe, in-spite of the opposition from the then rulers. But the novelty and thrill factor won over many a new user. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, cigarettes were higher in demand than the cigars and pipes, which had been popular amongst smokers until then.

Health Effects of Smoking:

Tobacco smoke contains nicotine – a poisonous alkaloid – and other harmful substances like carbon monoxide, acrolein, ammonia, prussic acid and a number of aldehydes and tars. Health reports giving definitive proof that cigarette smoking is a serious health hazard have been submitted from time to time by the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Health, appointed
What is Smokingby the U.S. Public Health Service. Findings include that a smoker has a significantly greater chance of contracting lung cancer than a nonsmoker, depending on factors such as number of cigarettes smoked daily, number of years the subject smoked and the time in the person’s life when he or she began smoking.

Additionally, the report also gave proof of smoking being a primary cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Smoking has proved to pose a threat to male potency. Pipe and cigar smokers are a comparatively fortunate lot as compared to cigarette smokers, if they do not inhale. They are not as prone to lung cancer as cigarette smokers. On the downside, the former set is just as likely to develop cancers of the mouth, larynx and esophagus. Groups of people indulging in snuff or chewing tobacco-a.k.a smokeless tobacco – also run a greater risk of developing cancer of the mouth.

Smoking Affects those Associated with Smokers too

Health groups are increasingly targeting smokers who inhale tobacco smoke for increasing the risk of heart disease and respiratory problems for them. These have resulted in dedicated movements for smokeless environments in public spaces such as government buildings, office buildings and restaurants.

Regulation of Smoking:

Due to mounting facts of health risks, television advertisements for cigarettes are increasingly being banned and governments world over are advising for stronger warning labels on all print advertising. It is now the responsibility of The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a treaty adopted by World Health Organization members in 2003, to establish international standards for anti smoking measures once it is ratified. This convention creates precincts on the marketing/sales of tobacco products.

What happens when you quit smoking? What to expect when i stop smoking?

Short term effects when you quit smoking are:

  • Your blood pressure will become normal within only 20 minutes if you quit smoking right now.
  • The oxygen levels of your blood will return to normal within 8 hours.
  • Your sense of smell will return to normal within 2 days.
  • Your chances of having heart attack will also reduce in the same amount of time.
  • Nicotine level from blood will decrease remarkably in the same period.
  • Within 2 to 8 weeks circulation in the body will increase.

Long term effects when you quit smoking:

  • Within 9 months your lung capacity will improve by 10% due to which breathing related problems will dissipate.
  • The risk of heart attack due to smoking will reduce to half within 1 year.
  • The risk of heart stroke which might have been caused due to your smoking habit will reduce to none within 5 years.
  • The risk of lung cancer will become like a person who has never smoked within 10 years.
  • The risk of heart attack which might have been induced by your smoking habit will become nil within 15 years.

Above all quitting smoking will give a big boost to your morale and feeling of achievement. YES, I thought, I tried and I achieved what millions have tried and failed.

What are the side effects when you quit smoking?

Once you decide and suddenly quit smoking, the body is in kind of a state of loss. Your body is confused and doesn’t know how to work normally as it was unable to work normally since long. The common side effects when you quit smoking are:

  • Blood sugar might go down
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • irritation
  • drowsiness
  • cough
  • weight gain
  • ubiquitous sweet tooth

There is no need to worry about the above problems since they are temporary and should vanish within 3-5 days.

How Smoking Affects Health

As mentioned above, smoking affects health in many ways. Smokers develop yellow teeth and wrinkles. They also suffer loss of bone density, making them prone to osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fractures. Smokers’ athletic performance is also affected as their lung capacity is diminished.

Smoking Affects Fertility

Smoking affects the sexual performance of men and women, and causes fertility problems. Women smokers who use hormone-based birth control methods such as ring, patch or pills, face increased risk of suffering health issues like heart attack.

Bad Skin

Smoking narrows blood vessels, which prevents adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen to the skin. This is the reason why chain smokers look unhealthy and pale. Smoking also increases the risk of getting psoriasis, which is a skin rash.

Bad Breath

Regular smokers cannot avoid halitosis or chronic bad breath.

Evil-Smelling Hair and Clothes

Stale cigarette smoke lingers on furniture, hair, clothes and inside cars. As a result, smokers smell bad, which drastically reduces their attractiveness.

Smoking Affects Athletic Performance

Regular smokers become laggards at sports as smoking impacts their athletic performance. This is because smoking causes shortness of breath, decreased circulation and increased heartbeat. Smokers also face greater chances of injury due to brittle bones. Their ability to heal is also affected.

Less Immunity

Research reveals that smokers suffer more bouts of pneumonia, bronchitis, flu and colds. Certain conditions such as asthma become much worse with smoking. Smokers also tend to eat less, which means they do not get enough nutrients to maintain good health.

Hookahs and Electronic Cigarettes

There are rumors going around that hookahs and electronic cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. This is not true. Hookahs do not have filters. Hence they cannot filter out the harmful chemicals in tobacco. Besides, hookahs are commonly shared, which increases the risk of spreading germs among users. Electronic cigarettes contain toxins and carcinogens and do not have FDA approval. Basically, all nicotine products are harmful, so stay away from all of them.