Physiological Effects of Cigarette Smoking

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Physiological Effects of Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Over 43 million adults in the United States were cigarette smokers in 2007. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States. There are many physiological effects from smoking.

  1. History

    • Cigarette smoking in the United States did not become popular until after the Civil War. The invention of matches made cigarette smoking a lot more convenient. Cigarette sales increased when the cigarette making machine was invented in the 1880s. In the 1950s, health officials started to voice concerns about negative health effects from smoking. In 1964, the Surgeon General published the first widely publicized American report that cigarette smoking could cause cancer and other health issues. Warning labels on cigarette packs soon followed. Today, many states have restrictions on where cigarette smoking can occur in public places.

    Function

    • Addiction to nicotine is the main reason that a majority of people smoke cigarettes. A small percentage of persons only smoke in social situations. Over 90 percent of adult smokers started smoking cigarettes before the age of 19, according to the American Cancer Society. Most started because of peer pressure or curiosity.

    Time Frame

    • Within seven seconds of smoking a cigarette, nicotine reaches your brain and increases dopamine levels, which makes you feel good. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, which can feel like a rush of energy. Carbon monoxide emitted from the cigarette causes deprivation of oxygen to tissues. Smoking cigarettes can also act as an appetite suppressant because nicotine suppresses insulin output. Some cigarette smokers are able to focus and concentrate better after smoking. The effect wanes after a couple of minutes, which causes the smoker to desire another cigarette.

    Identification

    • Cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves and also include other ingredients. More than 4,000 chemicals have been found in cigarettes and cigarette smoke. At least 60 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer. Common components found in cigarette smoke include tar, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Other components of cigarettes are not fully known, since manufacturers typically do not give out information about which additives are used. There are multiple brands of cigarettes made by a variety of tobacco companies, such as Phillip Morris, Inc. and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

    Effects

    • There are many diseases associated with cigarette smoking, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, heart disease and stroke. It is also connected to several forms of cancer, including lung, bladder, oral, esophageal and throat cancers. Cigarette smoking has been associated with complications during pregnancy. Withdrawal often occurs when people go a certain period of time without smoking. Withdrawal symptoms can include nervousness, irritability, headaches, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

    Considerations

    • If you are a cigarette smoker and desire to quit, there are resources available to help. Smoking cessation classes and support groups are presented in different local communities. Talk with your doctor if you desire to take medication to help you quit.

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  • Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkspleen/464013197/

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