Effects of Smoking on Respiratory System
Every day, millions of people light up a cigarette and smoke. Some have just started smoking, while others have smoked their whole lives. Most likely, once you start smoking, you won’t be able to stop. It will be nearly impossible and if possible, it will not be easy. When people start smoking, they don’t really think about the harm that they are doing to themselves with every cigarette. Some don’t know how bad they are hurting themselves, while others are simply just ignorant to the fact that they are. Many people don’t even realize that cigarettes are bad for them. Cigarettes do however have many harmful effects that really hurt your body.
In every single cigarette, there are over 4,000 chemicals (Figure 1). Some chemicals that are found in cigarettes are nicotine (a deadly poison), arsenic (found in rat poison), methane (found in rocket fuel), ammonia (found in many cleaners), cadium (found in batteries, carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), formaldehyde (used to preserve body tissues), butane (found in lighter fluid), and hydrogen cyanide (poison used in gas chambers.) Every time you smoke, these chemicals travel through your blood causing harm to various parts of your body (Center for Young Women’s Health Staff.) Not only are you harming yourself, but you are also harming the people who are breathing in your second hand smoke, unwillingly. The chemicals entering your body are just as bad as the ones entering the person who is breathing in the smoke and are just as harmful. In fact, second hand smoke is often worse than the smoke a smoker breathes in.
Figure 1 “The Dangerous Poisons of Smoking”
Second hand smoke is the combination of the tobacco being burned by the smoker, and the smoke being exhaled by the smoker (almost twice as bad). There are also over 4,000 chemicals in second hand smoke and 50 of them have been clinically proven to have been cancer causing. Second hand smoke has proven to put people at risk for breast cancer and nasal sinus cavity cancer in adults, and leukemia, brain tumors and lymphoma in children. It can also cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, and asthma in children (United States). Also when pregnant mothers smoke, it puts their unborn child at risk for developing hepatoblastoma later in life (hepatoblastoma is a very rare cancerous tumor that originates in the liver.) Now not only are you knowingly harming yourself, but your also hurting millions of helpless adults and children around you. It is not fair to others that you have decided to smoke when they haven’t. They should not have to be breathing in your second hand smoke. There is no way to control how much second hand smoke you inhale besides doing your best to stay away from it. There is also no safe amount of second hand smoke you can breathe in, all second hand smoke is harmful. So the next time someone lights up around you, make sure you walk away or politely ask them to please not smoke right in front of you if it is at all possible.
As if smoking in these chemicals wasn’t bad enough, there are many effects that smoking has on your body. Smoking makes you to age faster and also causes your skin to wrinkle earlier in life. It is very bad for your teeth, and often your teeth will turn yellow or begin to rot. Smoke gives you bad breath and puts you at a higher risk for cavities than non smokers. If you are a smoker, you are more likely to develop bronchitis or pneumonia from a common cold than people who don’t smoke. You are also more likely to have a cold longer than someone who would normally be over it within a week. Teen smokers have smaller lungs and weaker hearts so the sooner you start smoking the faster the harm starts to your body. Smoking’s most major risk factor is lung cancer.
By inhaling smoke from a cigarette, you are killing air sacs called alveoli, in your lungs. Your lungs can only take so much...