Why smoking is harmful?


The word tobacco is thought to derive from the Native American word tabago, for a Y-shaped pipe used in sniffing tobacco powder. Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco consist of dried tobacco leaves, and other ingredients added for flavor and other properties.


Some facts related with smoking:
- Smoking is the second major cause of death in the world. It's responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide.
- Smoking accounts for about 80-90% of all chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Smoking is involved in 85% of all lung cancer deaths.
- Smoking is the major cause of cancer of the lips, tongue, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus.
- Smoking has many other harmful effects in the body, a too long list to include it here.

Why smoking causes cancer? It's because tobacco and tobacco smoke contain more than 60 carcinogenic compounds. In general, more than 4,000 individual substances have been identified in tobacco smoke, including carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and other highly toxic irritants. Yes, it's not a mistake, ¡more than 4,000 toxic substances that can go inside your body when you smoke!

Besides all the harmful effects of tobacco, it is addictive, and this explains why although 70% of smokers want to quit and 35% attempt to quit each year, fewer than 7% succeed. And the main reason why tobacco becomes addictive is due to its content of nicotine, which alters brain functioning.

Nicotine is a naturally occurring liquid alkaloid. An alkaloid is an organic compound made out of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sometimes oxygen. These chemicals have potent effects on the human body. For example, many people enjoy the stimulating effects of another alkaloid, caffeine.



When you smoke, nicotine is absorbed through the skin and mucosal lining of the mouth and nose or by inhalation in the lungs. Once in the body, it activates the same reward system as do other drugs such as cocaine or amphetamine, although to a lesser degree. In the brain, nicotine increases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is a chemical in the brain responsible for feelings of pleasure. The acute effects of nicotine subside within minutes, so people continue dosing themselves frequently throughout the day to maintain the pleasurable effects of nicotine and to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Some info about how to quit smoking: link

If you smoke, please do a favour to yourself: Stop smoking. I would like to have some magic words to persuade you, but I don't have any. Just have facts, as you can read above. Think about it, everytime you smoke you harm your body. Do you really want to continue harming yourself? Love yourself instead, give a present to yourself instead: stop smoking and life will be much better for you and for those around you. It's difficult to stop doing it, but it can be done. You just need to convince yourself to do it, find the reasons and you will have half of the way already walked.

And if you don't smoke, congratulations!

Silvia Martínez