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What Smoking Can Do For You

What Smoking Can Do For You

By Dr. Ade Oderinde

                                          What it is
According to Wikipedia, smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly the substance is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant which have been rolled into a small square of rice paper to create a small, round cylinder called a “cigarette”. Smoking is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drug use because the combustion (burning) of the dried plant leaves vaporizes and delivers active substances into the lungs where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach bodily tissue. Cigarette smoking is the most common method of tobacco use (>90%), although other forms, including pipe tobacco, cigars, and smokeless tobacco, are common as well.

                           Historical perspective
Smoking’s history dates back to as early as 5000–3000 BC, when the agricultural product began to be cultivated in Mesoamerica and South America; consumption later evolved into burning the plant substance either by accident or with intent of exploring other means of consumption. A Frenchman named Jean Nicot (from whose name the word nicotine was derived) introduced tobacco to France in 1560. From France tobacco spread to England. The first report documents an English sailor in Bristol in 1556, seen “emitting smoke from his nostrils”. Like tea, coffee and opium, tobacco was just one of many intoxicants that was originally used as a form of medicine.

                          The gloomy outlook (Brain)
Nicotine from cigarettes is as addictive as heroin. Nicotine addiction is hard to beat because it changes the brain. The brain develops extra nicotine receptors to accommodate the large doses of nicotine from tobacco. When the brain stops getting the nicotine it’s used to, the result is nicotine withdrawal. One may feel anxious, irritable, and have strong cravings for nicotine.

                                   Head and Face (Ears)
One effect of smoking is reduced oxygen supply to the cochlea, a snail-shaped organ in the inner ear. This may result in permanent damage to the cochlea and mild to moderate hearing loss.
Eyes: Smoking causes physical changes in the eyes that can threaten thr eyesight. One of the effects of nicotine from cigarettes restricts the production of a chemical necessary for one to be able to see at night. Also, smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts which can lead to blindness.
Mouth: Smoking also takes a toll on the mouth. Smokers have more oral health problems than non-smokers, like mouth sores, ulcers and gum disease. You are more likely to have cavities and lose your teeth at a younger age. You are also more likely to get cancers of the mouth and throat.
Face: Smoking can cause the skin to be dry and lose elasticity, leading to wrinkles and stretch marks. The skin tone may become dull and grayish. By your early 30s, wrinkles can begin to appear around your mouth and eyes, adding years to the face.

                                    Heart (Stressed Heart)
Smoking raises the blood pressure and puts stress on the heart. Over time, stress on the heart can weaken it, making it less able to pump blood to other parts of your body. Carbon monoxide from inhaled cigarette smoke also contributes to a lack of oxygen, making the heart work even harder. This increases the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks.

                                       Sticky Blood
Smoking makes the blood thick and sticky. The stickier the blood, the harder the heart must work to move it around your body. Sticky blood is also more likely to form blood clots that block blood flow to the heart, brain, and legs. Over time, thick, sticky blood damages the delicate lining of the blood vessels. This damage can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

                                     Fatty Deposits
Smoking increases the cholesterol and unhealthy fats circulating in the blood, leading to unhealthy fatty deposits. Over time, cholesterol, fats, and other debris build up on the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries and blocks normal blood flow to the heart, brain, and legs. Blocked blood flow to the heart or brain can cause a heart attack or stroke. Blockage in the blood vessels of the legs could result in the amputation of the toes or feet.

                                     Lungs (Scarred Lungs)
Smokers’ lungs experience inflammation in the small airways and tissues of the lungs. This can make the chest feel tight or cause one to wheeze or feel short of breath. Continued inflammation builds up scar tissue, which leads to physical changes to the lungs and airways that can make breathing hard.
Destruction of air sacs (Emphysema)
Smoking destroys the tiny air sacs, or alveoli, in the lungs that allow oxygen exchange. When you smoke, you are damaging some of those air sacs. Alveoli don’t grow back, so when you destroy them, you have permanently destroyed part of your lungs. When enough alveoli are destroyed, the disease emphysema develops. Emphysema causes severe shortness of breath and can lead to death.



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