The Health Consequences of Smoking

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Smoking is a commonly used recreational drug. Tobacco smoking is the most prevalent type of smoking, with more than one billion people around the world doing so. Tobacco smoke contains complex chemical mixtures. Nitrogen oxide gas, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, formaldehyde, phenol, and nicotine are among the many components of smoke. Because of this chemical complexity, cigarette smoke has a wide range of health effects on humans. Although many studies on health harms have focused on cigarette smoking, new research shows that other tobacco uses, such as pipe smoking and cigar smoking, pose serious health hazards to users. Many serious diseases are caused by smoking which affects smokers more than non-smokers. Thus, those who smoke have higher death rate than those who refrain from smoking. Smokers are attacked by various acute diseases which cause their death. These illnesses encompass stroke, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Smoking leads to reduced overall health, escalation in health care cost and utilization and increment in absenteeism from work. This paper will report on smoking and its health effects.

Smoking and Death

In the US, smoking results to over 480 000 deaths annually. This is approximately 1 out of every 5 deaths (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12). Smoking leads to more people dying each year than other causes of death such as motor vehicle accidents, alcohol use, illegal drug use and (HIV) human immunodeficiency virus. Smoking is a major cause of a cardiovascular disease that causes more deaths in the US. One out of three deaths are as a result of cardiovascular disease. Cigarette smoking has caused premature death of above 10 times of the several citizens of the United States than the deaths which have been as a result of the wars fought by the US in the course of his history. Smoking leads to 9 out of 10 deaths, which is 90% of deaths caused by lung cancer in females as well as men. Smoking raises the chances of death from each and every cause in women as well as men (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 48). Over the last 50 years, the risk of dying from smoking has significantly increased among the women as well as men in the US. Smoking remains a major preventable cause of disease as well as death in the United States.

Health Effects of Smoking

Smoking and cancer

Smoking causes cancers of the pancreas, oral cavity bladder, larynx, esophagus and lungs. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in the US with approximately 79% cases in women and 90% of men. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (23), above 155,000 women as well as men are expected to die as a result of lung cancer in 2017. Also, it has been reported that smoking increases the risks of cancers of the uterine cervix, penis, stomach, colon, liver, anus as well as kidney. Cigarette smoking leads to damage of DNA and causes mutations. The harmful and dangerous chemicals in the smokes are capable of causing or promoting the development of previously initiated cancer (Carter, 639).

Smoking and Respiratory Diseases

Beyond 110,000 smoking deaths annually include respiratory diseases. It is well known that smoking causes a condition referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that emphysema as well as comprises chronic bronchitis. Smoking is accountable for roughly 80% of the entire mortality caused by COPD. COPD is a disease that slowly progresses and develops following recurrent abuses to the lungs for several years. It is difficult to detect its symptoms in the early years of smoking, however, at this phase breathing tests may always identify abnormalities in the lung’s small terminal airways (Carter, 635). If a person smokes for two decades or beyond, a collection of chronic respiratory changes progresses. Some of these chronic lung injuries include emphysema, airway narrowing and thickening and mucus hypersecretion with a chronic cough. These transformations may lead to substantial disability, impairment as well as death. Individuals with clinically severe COLD normally possesses all the three though victims vary in relative corresponding to these changes.

Smoking and Human Reproduction

In the United States, over 1000 infant deaths are as a result of pregnant smoking mothers (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 46). Also, it was reported that the number of male smokers who are impotent is higher than male nonsmokers. Smoking has an extensive impact on women’s sexual and reproductive system in various ways. Smoking damages the fertility of women. Among are the alterations in immunity, interference with motility in the female reproductive tract and direct toxicity to eggs which exposes women smokers to infections which block the fallopian tubes. Also, smoking has severe contrary impacts on pregnancy. They involve infant deaths, lengthy premature rupture of membranes, bleeding during pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and retarded fetal growth (Carter, 640). Also, women who smoke always go into the stage of nonsurgical menopause approximately one to two years earlier than those who never smokes. Moreover, the male reproductive system is also affected by smoking; male smokers are likely to become impotent as a result of prolonged smoking.

Health Effects of Smoking on Secondhand smokers

There is never a safe degree of exposure to secondhand smokers. Also, minimal exposure to smoke may harm adults as well as children in several ways. It has been estimated that smokers rise the chances of nonsmokers to develop lung cancer by 20% to 30%. Individuals exposed to smoke are at a high chance of developing respiratory diseases, breathlessness, phlegm, slowed lung growth, asthma attacks, wheezing and coughing. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (34) states that in every year, over 400,000 deaths are caused by secondhand smoke. Infant death syndrome mostly attacks children who are exposed to secondhand smoke. In adults, exposure to secondhand smoke raises the risk of nasal and eye irritation, chronic and acute coronary heart disease morbidity, nasal sinus cancer, heart disease mortality and lung cancer (Carter, 632).

Quitting Smoking

It is usually almost impossible for smokers to quit smoking due to the addiction. However, almost above half of the Americans populace have stopped smoking, and currently, most of the smokers are willing to put an end to smoking (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 28). It is difficult to escape a developed addiction to nicotine, nevertheless, before one successfully quits, it may take several trials before quitting. In order to quit smoking, smokers have to do away with their strong social as well as psychological ties to smoking and overpower their physical dependence on nicotine. One of the other treatment method includes the use of anti-depressants, counseling, and nicotine replace. Quitting smoking reduces health risks which result from smoking and increases an individual’s lifespan.

In conclusion, smoking has negative health effects on both smokers and secondhand smokers. It results into various diseases which include coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases among others. Also, it has effects on the sexual and reproductive systems of both male and females. Though quitting might be hard, and it can take longer before a person completely quit smoking, addicts should be encouraged to quit smoking through various treatments and support to reduce the risks of severe health effects. The government should also take an initiative to reduce the rate of smoking in the nation through creating certain policies and strategies. For instance, levying taxes on tobacco, restricting the smoking age (only those above 21 years old to be allowed to smoke).

Works Cited

Carter, Brian D., et al. “Smoking and mortality—beyond established causes.” New England journal of medicine 372.7 (2015): 631-640.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010 [accessed 2015 Oct 5].

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.

US Department of Health and Human Services. “The health consequences of smoking—50 years of progress: a report of the Surgeon General.” Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health 17 (2014).

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