Effects of Alcohol and Nicotine Use
Tobacco and alcohol use are common addictions amongst Americans. Each of these products are easily accessible at any convenience store and are perceived to be pleasurable activities as a result of their prevalence in American society. Both drugs also have significantly adverse effects on an individual's health and overall well-being. However, tobacco and alcohol consumption are quite different in the nature of the addiction, and the risks each drug pose to one's health.
Tobacco has been present even before the establishment of America. In 1492, Christopher Columbus was offered dried tobacco leaves from the Native Americans he encountered. By 1600, tobacco was used for its assumed healing qualities and was often used as currency. Not until 1826 was the pure form of nicotine finally discovered and labeled a dangerous poison. During the 1980's, many lawsuits were filed against tobacco companies because of the harmful effects of their products. Smoking became politically incorrect and more businesses began to prohibit smoking on their premises. Despite this, cigarette consumption in America is still common. Today, Marlboro is considered one of the most valuable brands of any product in the world, valued at over 30 billion dollars. (NCSU Libraries)
Although the supposed health benefits of tobacco have been promoted by both a variety of cultures and corporations alike, the physical effects of nicotine on the body are now indisputable. In as little as ten minutes after consumption, nicotine can raise blood pressure, heart rate, and constrict blood vessels,thus increasing the chance of heart attack and stroke. Habitual use has been linked to cancer of the lung, throat, mouth, esophagus, bladder, cervix, kidney, larynx, and stomach. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) Even casual use is accompanied by increased coughing, congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Aside from the havoc wrought internally from the