What are the Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco?
Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled.
This is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them available for absorption through the lungs.
The most common method of smoking today is through cigarettes. Other smoking implements include pipes, cigars, hookahs, vaporizers, and bongs.
Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use. Tobacco smoking is today by far the most popular form of smoking and is practiced by over one billion people in the majority of all human societies.
Less common drugs for smoking include cannabis and opium. Some of the substances are classified as hard narcotics, like heroin, but the use of these is very limited as they are often not commercially available.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally. In the United States about 500,000 deaths per year are attributed to smoking-related diseases.
Smoking one cigarette a day results in a risk of heart disease that is halfway between that of a smoker and a non-smoker.
Among the diseases that can be caused by smoking are: vascular stenosis, lung cancer, heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking during pregnancy may cause ADHD in the fetus.
Many governments are trying to deter people from smoking with anti-smoking campaigns in mass media stressing the harmful long-term effects of smoking.
Passive smoking, or secondhand smoking, which affects people in the immediate vicinity of smokers, is a major reason for the enforcement of smoking bans.
This is a law enforced to stop individuals smoking in indoor public places, such as bars, pubs and restaurants. The idea behind this is to discourage smoking by making it more inconvenient, and to stop harmful smoke being present in enclosed public spaces.
A common concern among legislators is to discourage smoking among minors and many states have passed laws against selling tobacco products to underage customers (establishing a smoking age).
The effects of addiction on society vary considerably between different substances that can be smoked and the indirect social problems that they cause, in great part because of the differences in legislation and the enforcement of narcotics legislation around the world.
Though nicotine is a highly addictive drug, its effects on cognition are not as intense or noticeable as other drugs such as, cocaine, amphetamines or any of the opiates (including heroin and morphine).
Inhaling smoke into the lungs, no matter the substance, has adverse effects on one's health.
The incomplete combustion produced by burning plant material, like tobacco or cannabis, produces carbon monoxide, which impairs the ability of blood to carry oxygen when inhaled into the lungs.
There are several other toxic compounds in tobacco that constitute serious health hazards to long-term smokers from a whole range of causes; vascular abnormalities such as stenosis, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, impotence, low birth weight of infants born by smoking mothers.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally.
The harms caused by using tobacco include diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancers).