Research Proposal

Topics: Heart, Tobacco smoking, Atherosclerosis Pages: 9 (2407 words) Published: May 20, 2013
Title of research project:

Smoking can be a contributory factor to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Aims and objectives of the research project:

The aim of this research project is to prove the case that cigarette smoking has a detrimental effect on the health of the human body and can be a contributory factor to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.


1. Outline the compounds that make up cigarettes.
2. Explain how these compounds react in the human body.
3. Investigate the effects cigarette smoking has on the respiratory and cardiovascular system and the diseases caused by smoking. 4. Use statically resources and data to back up aim.
5. Analyse the results from this information in order to evaluate findings.

Literature Review:

Cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves and around six hundred other ingredients which are burnt to produce smoke, which is then inhaled into the lungs. Cigarette smoke contains around four thousand different chemicals which can damage the cells and systems of the human body. These include chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic, including tar, arsenic, benzene, nicotine and hundreds of other poisons such as cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. Whilst it is the drug nicotine that addicts people to smoking cigarettes, it is largely these other compounds that cause lasting and often fatal damage to the cells in the human body (Fullick, 1998: 89-90). These compounds in the smoke are absorbed into the bloodstream and then carried around the body. Tar is a sticky black substance which is not absorbed into the bloodstream, but instead it accumulates in the lungs. Tar and other chemicals from cigarette smoke make smokers more likely to develop chronic diseases, within the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Every time a smoker inhales, these chemicals are drawn into the body where they interfere with cell function and cause problems ranging from cell death to genetic changes which can lead to infections, diseases and cancer (Ash, 2011).

Cigarette smoking damages the body slowly and greatly, and one of the areas where smoking causes the most problems is in the respiratory and cardiovascular system. Cigarette smoking has many irreversible health effects associated with it, which can be short or long term. 

The respiratory system and cigarette smoking

Damage to the respiratory system from cigarette smoking is slow, progressive, and deadly. The primary function of the respiratory system is to supply the blood with oxygen in order for the blood to deliver oxygen to all the cells of the body, and expel carbon dioxide out of the blood. The respiratory system does this through inspiration and expiration. The respiratory system comprises the nasal cavity, larynx, trachea, throat, bronchi and the lungs. The effects of cigarette smoke on the respiratory system include: irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box), reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages causing impairment of the lungs’ clearance system. This leads to the build-up of poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage.

A healthy respiratory system is continuously cleansed. The mucus produced by the respiratory tubules traps dirt, dust and bacteria, and the ciliated epithelial cells in the trachea (hair-like structures) sweep the mucus toward the mouth, where it can be eliminated. Smoking greatly impairs this cleansing system. With the very first inhalation of smoke, the beating of the cilia slows and with time, the cilia become paralysed and, eventually, disappear altogether. The loss of cilia cells leads to the development of smoker's cough. The cilia cells no longer effectively remove mucus, so the individual must cough it up (Fullick, 1998: 92).

The cardiovascular system and cigarette smoking

The heart and circulatory system are also greatly...
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