Smoking: Causes and Effects
80% of smokers take up smoking as teenagers and recent research now shows that children can become hooked on tobacco within days of starting to smoke and may even become addicted with the very first puff. Unlike the adult rate of smoking, which is decreasing, the amount of children smoking in adolescence is actually increasing. Research has shown that adult influences around children pose a great impact on the decision to smoke or not, risk of teenage smoking increases by a factor of three if their parents both smoke.
Smoking poses a tremendous risk of addiction because of the ingredient nicotine. Nicotine proves to be just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Studies have shown that out of the 70% that want to quit smoking, only 1-2% are successful at any attempt. Nicotine increases the amount of dopamine released into the Reward Pathway and gives an individual a greater feeling of euphoria than normal. This causes a desire for more, which results in smoking in greater amounts and more as well in order to get the same feeling of euphoria.
By smoking cigarettes, nicotine enters an individual’s body and causes it to be completely addicted to it. Gradually an individual smokes more and more to get the same effect that he or she experienced when they just started because they body gets used to the increased amount of dopamine. However as an individual smokes more, the even more harmful toxicants enter the body such as tar and carbon monoxide.
Tar is a compound of poisonous chemicals such as arsenic, cyanide, and formaldehyde. Many of the chemicals themselves are already carcinogens. However cancer is not the only threat, tar irritates and destroys the lungs. It causes the bronchiole passages to narrow and destroy the cilia, which may lead to dirt build up and infection. Individuals begin to develop emphysema, destruction of alveoli, which causes shortness of breath and contributes to heart problems. Most importantly smoking causes lung cancer, a cancer that is hard to cure and to detect in its early stages. It is accountable for 1.3 million deaths every year and what is most terrifying is a survival rate of 14%.