The addictive properties of cigarette smoking

By Derek Lane,2014-05-28 22:10
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The addictive properties of cigarette smoking

    Everyone knows that smoking is harmful and brings a detrimental effect to our health. Besides this the rate of smokers grows everyday. For some people it is the way get rid of depressive thoughts and to relax. For the other it is an inseparable part of their life style. Lighting up a new cigarette do people know the consequences it may lead to?

    Smoking is addictive. To prove it let’s address to the definition of addiction.

    According to Wikipedia the term "addiction" is used to describe an obsession, constraint, or excessive psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction, alcoholism, nicotine addiction. Wikipedia also gives a medical terminology of an addiction according to which it is a chronic neurobiologic disorder that has

    genetic, psychosocial, and environmental dimensions and is characterized by the continued use of a substance despite its detrimental effects.” (“Addiction” n. d.)

    Peolpe know that smoking is harmful and risky, but because of addictiveness we go on smoking. There is a fact given by statistics that again proves the addictiveness of smoking: only one in three smokers succeeds in stopping before

    age 60. The dependence on cigarettes prevent an addict from stopping smoking as it may cause severe emotional, mental, or physical reactions.

    So why is smoking addictive? The answer on this question is found in nicotine one of tobacco components that causes addiction. Nicotine is a psychoactive drug that produce stimulant effects on the brain activity. It also has calming effects on smoker, especially in stress, and it effects on hormonal and other systems of the body what helps to develop both psychological and physical addictiveness. Nicotine causes activation of "pleasure centers" in the brain what explains the pleasure, and addictiveness of smoking. Smokers develop tolerance to nicotine what makes them smoke more and more without feeling sick. There are the studies showing that those who began to smoke in early adolescence or at an early age are more likely to develop severe nicotine addiction than those who start later.(Slowik, 2009) The explanation of this statement is that youngsters have less stable nervous system than adults do.

    The physical addiction to smoking is developing due to the fact that the molecule of nicotine to some extent reminds the brain mediator acetylcholine. Nicotine affects on the specific parts of brain sensitive to acetylcholine. These parts of brain are in charge of the mood, intellectual and sexual activities, muscle tone and the activity of cardiovascular system. All these organs and their functions are usually affected with smokers. Все эти органы и их функции страдают у

    курильщиков. What is more some of these functions can not be restored even though a person quites smoking. At the same time when nicotine is suddenly withdrawn, again physiological functions in the brain and other parts of the body are disturbed and it takes a long time for the body to readjust to functioning normally without nicotine.(“Psychological addictiveness”, n.d.) Because of the

    addictiveness the body suffers both with nicotine or without it. It is a vicious circle. As it was mentioned above nicotine affects cardiovascular system of a smoker what all in all ends in heart disease. It is nicotine that causes heart disease by: decreasing oxygen to the heart, increasing blood pressure and heart rate, increasing blood clotting, damaging to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels. According to the research made in U. S. 20% of all deaths from heart disease are related to cigarette smoking as nicotine causes coronary artery disease.(“Smoking

    and Heart Disease”, n.d.)The more cigarettes person smokes a day the more the

    risk of heart attack increases. The risk continue to grow the longer one smokes. The chain smokers or the women who smoke and take birth control pills at the same time increase their risk of heart attack or stroke more than twice. Another and not less serious disease caused by smoking is cancer. Usually people associate smoking with the lung cancer, and it is quite fair as “Most cases of lung

    cancer death, close to 90% in men, and 80% in women are caused by cigarette smoking.”(“Cancer Statistics” n.d.) Unfortunately apart from lung cancer there are

    several other forms of cancer attributed to smoking as well, such as cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, bladder, stomach, cervix, kidney and pancreas, and acute myeloid leukemia. (“Surgeon General's report”, 2004) The

    reason is cancer-causing agents is that tobacco smoke contains. These agents damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce rapidly.

    The report made in the U.S. shows that cigarette smoking is a major cause of esophageal cancer in the United States. Experts claim that reductions in smoking could prevent many of the approximately 12,300 new cases and 12,100 deaths from esophageal cancer every year. According to the data made by cancer statistics most laryngeal cancer cases are caused by the combination of smoking and alcohol consumption. In 2003, an estimated 3800 deaths occurred from laryngeal cancer. The same data shows the following: in 2003, there were 57,400 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed. Around 12,500 of the diagnosed people died from the disease. (“Cancer Statistics” n.d.)

    Cigarette, pipes and cigars smoking increases the risk of developing mouth cancers. The reduction in the number of people who smoke cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other tobacco products could decrease most of the estimated 30,200 new cases and 7,800 deaths from oral cavity and pharynx cancers annually in the United States. The same goes for all the other types of cancer caused by smoking: the risk generally increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years of smoking, and generally decreases after quitting completely. Though it should be noted that even after one stops smoking he or she still have possibility to fall ill until the organism recover completely from the harm brought by nicotine. So it takes time not only to quit smoking but also for organism to recover from the contamination of nicotine. Smoking cigarettes that have a lower yield of tar does not substantially reduce the risk for lung or any other type cancer and affects body as well as smoking an average cigarette.(“Tobacco facts”, n.d.) So to preserve your

    health there’s only the one way not to smoke at all.

    One more and not less important fact about smoking that should be highlighted concerning women. As it is known smoking affects women’s fertility. But what

    may be more detrimental and harmful is when a woman continues to smoke

    throughout her pregnancy, what affects not only a woman but her unborn baby also. On smoking several things happen. Firstly, when an expecting mother inhales tobacco smoke from a cigarette, some of the inhaled chemicals stay in the body and make their way into the placenta. The unborn child is inhaling the mainstream smoke together with mother from the cigarette what reduces supply of oxygen. So the unborn baby suffers from lack of oxygen, as the harmful substances, such as nicotine, replace it. The baby will begin to move slower after the mother has smoked a cigarette and the baby's heart will have to work faster, as it tries to breathe in more oxygen. Under these conditions the child will suffer unnecessary stress. As a result the unborn baby will not develop or grow as well as it should and this can lead to the birth of a low-weight baby who is more likely to be placed in intensive care once it has been born. To this point doctors say that even if a woman quits smoking within the first 3 months of being pregnant, she may greatly increase the probability of giving birth to a normal and healthy baby. (“The effects of smoking on the unborn child”, n.d.)

    From the other side smoking strongly affects a pregnant woman causing the pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancy that will never result in the live birth of a child and can be life-threatening for the mother leading her to difficulties to have a child in the future. Foetal death is also one of complications. This is when the baby is still a foetus (less than 3 month) and dies inside a mother. The risk of stillbirth and death of the baby in the first week increases by a third if the mother smokes. The miscarriage is increased by 25% for a smoker. One more result of smoking is a difficult delivery accompanied by heavy bleeding that puts the mother's and baby's life at risk. Mother may suffer increase of heart rate and blood pressure in the mother due to the effects of the nicotine. The lungs of the unborn child may be poorly developed because of smoking. Woman may give a birth to a child before the termination of the pregnancy, premature birth, which could result in a low-weight baby. (“Effects on the mother and the pregnancy”, n.d.)

    Now the facts sound more than persuasive as it seen the harm for the woman who smoke doubles as soon as a woman gets pregnant. The more cigarettes a woman smoke throughout her pregnancy, the greater the risks of harm to the foetus, complications with the pregnancy and harm to her health.

    Smoking is not just a bad habit, it is a harmful addiction that may lead to the disastrous consequences such as death in the result of excruciating disease. People tend to think that they are immortal and nothing can happen if they smoke a cigarette just to calm down or to get a little “pleasure” out of cigarette while having a cup coffee and communicating with friends. What is forgotten that is life is shot and we cut it down wasting our time and health on harmful pleasure. May be we must just look around to understand that world is fine enough for us to go without smoking.

    Reference list

    “Addiction” /From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.) Retrieved November, 28, 2009, from

    Cancer Statistics. Smoking and Cancer - Statistics for the U.S. By Terry Martin, Guide (n.d.) Retrieved November, 28, 2009, from

    Effects on the mother and the pregnancy (n.d.) Retrieved December, 5, 2009, from


    How Smoking Affects Your Health (n.d.) Retrieved November, 29, 2009, from

    Smoking and cancer(n.d.) Retrieved November, 29, 2009, from

“Smoking and Heart Disease” (n.d.) Retrieved November, 29, 2009, from

Smoking: How To Stop Last updated October 2009

    Edited by: Guy Slowik, FRCS Retrieved November, 28, 2009, from

The effects of smoking on the unborn child and complications of pregnancy and

    birth. (n.d.) Retrieved December, 5, 2009, from


    Tobacco Facts (n.d.) Retrieved November, 28, 2009, from

“Tobacco. Physical addictiveness”(n.d.) Retrieved November, 28, 2009, from

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