Smoking is inhaling smoke and aerosol from a burned substance into the lungs. Inhalation of smoke allows the activated aerosol substances to enter the bloodstream easily through the lungs. Traditionally tobacco is the most used substance for smoking. The leaves are dried and rolled into a paper, burned on one end, and smoked. Apart from tobacco, smoking marijuana and cocaine is also prevalent.
Smoking is addictive due to the active substances in the smoke and its perceived high and other psychological effects. Some also claim a trance-like state of mind due to certain smoking substances.
The immediate effects of smoking on the body have led to addiction and dependence on the substance. This number has been increasing over time, and with the growing adult population, the smoking burden and the diseases due to it are increasing manifolds.
What are the effects of smoking on the body?
The smoke, the burnt substance from the tobacco, and the active substances can cause widespread effects on the body.
- Oral hygiene is affected as the teeth, over time, become nicotine stained. There is constant inflammation in the mouth which can lead to dental caries as well as tooth loss.
- Increased risk of cancer in all parts of the body, including blood, lungs, stomach, gastric cancer, etc.
- Infertility in both men and women who smoke can be seen.
- Erectile dysfunction in men can constrict the blood vessels in the body.
- High cholesterol can happen due to an increase in the bad cholesterol called LDL and lowered levels of good cholesterol called HDL
- Increased risk of heart disease.Due to constriction of heart vessels and deposition of plaque.
- A persistent cough in regular smokers due to persistent irritation of airways.
- Smoking can cause damage to the eyes because of free radical damage, glaucoma, and cataracts.
These are only some of the many ill effects of smoking on the body. Smoking can also prevent some autoimmune diseases, aggravate diabetes, and cause early menopause.
Some cultures also have reverse smoking, where the burning end of the cigarette is placed in the mouth, and the smoke is inhaled. It is associated with an increased risk of mouth ulcers and even palate cancer, which strongly correlates with this type of smoking.
What is passive smoking?
Passive smoking, also known as secondhand smoke, is inhaled by nonsmokers who live with people who smoke.
Secondhand smoke includes the smoke exhaled by the smoker and the smoke from the burning end of the cigarette.
Passive smoking can cause the same disease in nonsmokers who inhale the smoke as smokers. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and children.
In pregnant women, both the mother and the unborn child are affected. In the unborn child, it could cause a growth restriction and cot death.
In children, it can have more serious effects as they are in the prime of their growing stage. It can cause the following conditions in children:
- Respiratory infection
- Middle ear infection
- Cot death
How do you protect yourself and your loved ones from the ill effects of smoking?
One can take the following steps can do the following to protect you and your family from smoking:
- Smoke in open areas. Homes with open windows can also not eliminate the smoke that accumulates in the home and on clothing.
- Never smoke in cars as it is a very small and enclosed place and causes serious discomfort for the surrounding people.
- Quitting smoking is the best solution and the most effective one. Supplementary therapy can be alongside professional counseling and the use of nicotine gums etc.