Effects of Cigarette Smoking
Health Canada states that, “Smoking tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and has negative health impacts on people of all ages” (2010, October 19). For those who smoke over the course of a lifetime, approximately one half will eventually lose their lives to this habit, most frequently during their middle-age years. According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 443,000 deaths per year, or twenty percent of the overall annual death rate in the United States can be traced directly to cigarette smoking as the primary cause (2011). This exceeds the combined death rate from all other causes including substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents, and homicides. Smoking is responsible for approximately 90% of deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema). The chemical compounds in cigarette smoke like carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar are the cause of some harmful effects on our bodies.
Carbon Monoxide in the bloodstream reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches muscles and organs. This forces the lungs and heart to perform increased work to compensate for both the reduced air flow into the lungs due to the buildup of tar and the lowered available oxygen due to the presence of Carbon Monoxide. Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide thus combine to raise heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in heart attacks and reduced blood flow that can be severe enough to not only cause strokes, but in certain cases can also result in amputation of limbs (Johnson, 2011).
The nicotine inhaled by smoking cigarettes is actually an insecticide. It has harmful effects upon neuromuscular activity, blood vessels, emotional state, chronic stress levels, and to the immune system. Nicotine can also constrict blood vessels, which results in decreasing the
amount of oxygen available for maintaining healthy cells and organs. By slowing down blood availability to the brain, nicotine also...