Cigarette smoke is highly dangerous to both the smoker and anyone around to inhale the secondhand smoke. Smoking is considered to be one of the most detrimental things one can do to their health, and it is the number one cause of preventable death in most industrialized nations. In fact, smoking causes more deaths per year than illegal drugs, homicide, AIDS, and car accidents put together.
There are various ways cigarette smoke can damage health. The first is tar, which accumulates in the lungs and slowly smothers the healthy tubes, bronchi, and receptors. This can lead to breathing difficulties, cancer, and other health problems. The lack of oxygen in the body can also eventually lead to heart problems.
Cigarette smoke is also dangerous to anyone around a smoker because the tar, carbon monoxide and other substances which are present in the cigarettes enter his or her lungs in concentrated amounts. This can lead to many of the same health problems smokers deal with if exposure is frequent and long-lasting. Smokers are urged to take their habit outdoors, and those who do not smoke are advised to stay away from smoky areas like bars or the smoking section of restaurants.
Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke hinders the lungs' ability to do their job because it is absorbed in the blood in the place of oxygen. Over time, this can put a major strain on the heart and lungs because they both must work harder to get the necessary oxygen pumped throughout the body. Disease is often the result.
Common illnesses associated with cigarette smoke include heart disease, emphysema, and lung cancers. All of these are potentially fatal and can make life much more difficult in sufferers even if death does not occur. Those who are diagnosed with a smoking-related illness are often urged to stop smoking. This is not always possible, due to cigarettes’ addictive nature.
Cigarette smoke is even more dangerous when the effects of nicotine, a substance found in tobacco, is taken into account. Nicotine causes addiction to cigarettes, leading to continued smoking in most people. Some research suggests that cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin and other illegal drugs. Not only is it addictive, but nicotine also raises blood pressure and increases heart rate, putting further stress on the body.
Patches, gum, lozenges, and electronic cigarettes are all available to help smokers quit. They all work by replacing the nicotine in cigarettes with a lesser form which can slowly be decreased even further. Those who quit smoking have a good chance of living a full life, as it is possible for the body to heal itself from past damage due to smoking.