Research says, there are over 4,000 chemicals in a single cigarette, some of which are highly poisonous like:
* Naphthalene - which is used in moth repellent.
* Acetone - the main component of nail polish remover.
* Butane - a constituent of lighter fluid.
* Formaldehyde - used in embalming.
Cigarettes also contain nicotine, a highly addictive stimulant that causes physical and psychological dependency.
The two most serious health effects of smoking are cancer and Emphysema. Smoking has been linked to 11 forms of cancer, including cancer of the esophagus, mouth, pancreas, bladder, and kidney. According to recent studies, smokers are 26 times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers. Emphysema is a chronic disease that destroys parts of the lungs and results in shortness of breath, hyperventilation, and asthma-like attacks.
Another common health effect of smoking is coronary artery disease. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart, increases blood clotting and blood pressure, and decreases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol. Women taking oral contraceptives should not smoke, as the risk for stroke increases almost four times.
Other possible side effects of smoking include cataracts, reduced fertility, a higher risk of stroke, peptic ulcers, and back pain. Pregnant women who smoke are at risk for miscarriages, premature labor, and ectopic pregnancy. Babies born to mothers who smoke have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and behavioral problems later in life.
Smoking has some unpleasant cosmetic effects too. Smokers often suffer from bad breath, yellowing teeth and nails, and early wrinkles around the mouth. Smoking causes changes in the coloring and texture of the skin, often resulting in an ashy complexion. A smoker is also three times more likely to lose teeth than a non-smoker.
Why is cigarette smoking bad for us?
Everyone knows that smoking can cause cancer when you get older, but did you know that it also has bad effects on your body right now? A cigarette contains about 4000 chemicals, many of which are poisonous. Some of the worst ones are:
* Nicotine - a deadly poison
* Formaldehyde - used to preserve body tissue
* Methane - a component of rocket fuel
* Cadmium - used in batteries
* Carbon Monoxide - part of car exhaust
* Ammonia - found in floor cleaner
* Arsenic - used in rat poison
* Hydrogen Cyanide - the poison used in gas chambers
* Butane - lighter fluid
Every time you inhale smoke from a cigarette, small amounts of these chemicals get into your blood through your lungs. They travel to all the parts of your body and cause harm.
Effect of these chemicals to my body?
As you might imagine, even small amounts of the poisonous chemicals in cigarettes can do bad things to your body. Here are some facts about what smoking cigarettes does to you:
* Smoking makes you smell bad, gives you wrinkles, stains your teeth, and gives you bad breath.
* Smokers get 3 times more cavities than non-smokers.
* Smoking lowers your hormone levels.
* When smokers catch a cold, they are more likely than non-smokers to have a cough that lasts a long time. They are also more likely than non-smokers to get bronchitis and pneumonia.
* Teen smokers have smaller lungs and a weaker heart than teen non-smokers. They also get sick more often than teens who don't smoke.
What happens to my lungs when I smoke?
Every time you inhale smoke from a cigarette, you kill some of the air sacks in your lungs, called alveoli. These air sacks are where the oxygen that you breathe in is transferred into your blood. Alveoli don't grow back, so when you destroy them, you have permanently destroyed part of your lungs. This means that you won't do as well in activities where breathing is important, like sports, dancing, or singing.
Smoking paralyzes the cilia that line your lungs. Cilia are little hairlike structures that move back and forth to sweep particles out of your lungs. When you smoke, the cilia can't move and can't do their job. So dust, pollen, and other things that you inhale sit in your lungs and build up. Also, there are a lot of particles in smoke that get into your lungs. Since your cilia are paralyzed because of the smoke and can't clean them out, the particles sit in your lungs and form tar.
But, I like to Smoke!
Many teens like the feeling that smoking gives them. This good feeling is from the nicotine in the cigarettes. Some teens think smoking will help them lose weight or stay thin. Many teens also feel like smoking gives them a sense of freedom and independence, and some smoke to feel more comfortable in social situations. If this sounds like you, you should stop and think about whether the things you like about smoking are really worth the risks.
* Nicotine can make you feel good, but is feeling good (a feeling you can also get from healthy activities like playing sports) really worth all the bad things cigarettes do to you? If you smoke, you'll get sick more often. You also have the chance of getting lung cancer or emphysema, which will make you really sick for a long time before you die. If you are very sick, that good feeling from nicotine won't seem so important anymore.
* Smoking doesn't really help people lose weight. If that were true, every smoker would be thin.
* Smoking lowers your hormone levels.
Many people are afraid to quit smoking because they think they will gain weight. In reality, many do gain a little but not enough to change how they look. People don't gain weight because they stop smoking. They gain weight because they start eating more. Often, people confuse the feeling of craving nicotine with hunger and eat to try to make this uncomfortable feeling go away. Smokers are also used to having something in their hands and in their mouth, so they may pick up food to replace holding a cigarette. To keep from gaining weight, try these things:
* Eat carrot or celery sticks or other healthy, low calorie foods.
* Drink sips of water instead of eating when you feel uncomfortable.
* Exercise daily. This will also help take your mind off smoking and make you healthier.
* Keep busy schedule.
Why should I stop smoking ?
Many people don't realize they are addicted to smoking. They think they can easily quit any time they want. But when they try, they forget it is extremely difficult. Unfortunately, it is very easy to get addicted. Cigarettes are just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Even if you only smoke one or two cigarettes a day and even if you've never bought a pack of cigarettes yourself, you are at risk. Stressful situations or hanging out with friends who smoke might cause you to smoke more and become addicted. Try going a whole week without smoking at all. If you find this difficult, you are probably addicted to cigarettes.
Wanna Quit Smoking ?
The good news for people who don't smoke or who want to quit is that studies show that the number of teens who smoke has dropped dramatically. Today, about 23% of high school students smoke.
If you do smoke and want to quit, you have lots of information and support available. Different approaches to quitting work for different people. For some, quitting cold turkey is best. Others find that a slower approach is the way to go. Some people find that it helps to go to a support group especially for teens. These are sometimes sponsored by local hospitals or organizations like the American Cancer Society. The Internet offers a number of good resources to help people quit smoking.
When quitting, it can be helpful to realize that the first few days are the hardest. So don’t give up. Some people find they have a few relapses before they manage to quit for good.
Staying smoke free will give you a whole lot more of everything — more energy, better performance, better looks, more money in your pocket, and, in the long run, more life to live!