One of the most popular habits in today's society is smoking. Smoking is defined as the action of inhaling tobacco from a pipe, cigar or cigarette. Yet each year, cigarette smoking kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, suicides, illegal drugs and fires combined. Smoking is an extremely bad pastime, practiced for centuries, for an individual's health and those surrounding him/her.
According to the American Heart Association there are an estimated 50 million Americans who smoke. Many smokers claim that smoking relieves them of stress and relaxes and comforts them. There are many hazardous ingredients in cigarette tobacco. Some of the ingredients are poisonous and addictive. Cigarette smoke produces thousands of chemicals that are hazardous to a smoker's health. There are over 4000 chemicals produced by a burning cigarette which at least 200 chemicals are known to be poisonous to people health. Filters help to block and reduce some of the chemicals, but they will not stop them completely.
Cigarette smoke also contains carbon monoxide, the same poisonous gases released from a car exhaust pipe. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless highly toxic gas that reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry. Combined with the effects produced by the nicotine, it creates an imbalance in the demand for oxygen by the cells and the amount of oxygen the blood is able to supply.
Pipe and cigar smokers who have never smoked cigarettes tend to be non-inhalers and their health risks are not as great as those of cigarette smokers. Due to the stronger, more alkaline smoke and longer periods of puffing, satisfying amounts of nicotine are absorbed slowly through the lining of the mouth and throat. However, their risk for cancers of the mouth and throat are significantly higher than that of nonsmokers.
Cigarettes, in contrast, provide pharmacological doses of nicotine only if they are inhaled. Cigarette smokers unfortunately become so addicted to the rapid absorption of nicotine through the lungs that they usually continue to inhale after switching to a pipe or cigars. Nicotine begins to affect a smoker's blood pressure, the flow of blood from their heart, the heartbeat and breathing rate. By providing smaller and milder cigars, the tobacco industry has made it easier for smokers to continue to inhale when they switch to cigars. (Surgeon General)
Tar is another chemical produced from cigarette smoke. It contains at least 30 cancer-causing irritants. Tar is a mixture of several substances that condense into a sticky substance on the lung. Tobacco manufactures have produced a cigarette that is low tar and low nicotine to reduce the chance of cancer. Yet these cigarettes can hardly be considered "less hazardous," seeing as how most people believe that this term should never be applied to cigarettes. Though reducing the number of cigarettes smoked and lowering tar and nicotine seems to lower the risk, these measures do not remove all the hazards...