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Why When and How to Stop Smoking by Whitey O’Dell

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Cigarette smoking has long been debated by the common folk as a good thing by some and a bad thing by others. Fortunately, today we have an endless amount of science and evidence-based facts that prove the dangers, costs, and downfalls of cigarette smoking. My goal in this article is to introduce you to the immediate dangers of smoking, the long-term effects of smoking, how to quit if you choose, and how to prevent others from ever picking up this awful costly habit.

Smoking one cigarette is not going to kill you. In fact, a few minutes after you smoke your first one, a light-headed whimsical feeling is sure to make you feel a little happy. This is because there are drugs inside that cigarette designed to do just that. Nicotine is a drug that causes rapid release of dopamine, your body’s natural “pleasure chemical”(Pubmed). This effect is highly addictive, however, it is unnatural. Your body builds up a tolerance to the nicotine’s effect thus requiring more of the drug to produce the same effect. That doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, let’s take a look at something that does happen with each puff of a cigarette, even your very first one.

Your trachea, nasal passages, and sinuses are lined with something called microvilli (MayoClinc). These villi are little tiny hairs or fingers that beat upwards every second of every day. Their purpose is to help clear your respiratory passages of contaminants and debris that you inhale. Normal air is full of pollutants and dust that you can’t even see. Your body is very good at cleaning this out of your lungs. However, many of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke paralyze these villi taking away their ability to clear your lungs (MayoClinic). This often lead to what is known as a smoker’s cough. Once the paralytic effect of the chemicals starts to wear off the villi come back to life and start pushing up all the junk that has been collecting in their absence. This generally causes the smoker to start a cough that increases in severity. Its at this time that every smoker lights one up and the cough goes away. This is because those villi are re-paralyzed and are no longer pushing junk up. So if a smoker ever says to you they cough less when they smoke, this is why.
Smoking of course has many long-term risk factors. Lung cancer is usually the first thing you think of smoking. It is true that lung cancer and pulmonary nodules are the most common type of cancer, however, not all people with lung cancer smoke (Pubmed. gove/Coronary).

Smoking is not a guarantee that you will get lung cancer. It just greatly increases your chances. Smoking does however come with a 99.9% guarantee of causing you to develop cardiovascular disease. This often leads to congestive heart failure. When you add this poor inability of your body to circulate oxygenated nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to the chronic changes to your lung’s airways directly caused by smoking, you’ll find that breathing and any physical activity becomes very difficult. Those are just a few long-term effects of smoking without even touching the psychological long-term effects of the addiction.

There is hope though. There are literally hundreds of smoking cessation programs out there that will help teach you about kicking the habit and building proper support groups. The easiest way to avoid all of this is by simply never starting. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 41% of people who smoke over the age of 25 lack any education past high school. I think this makes it very apparent that education is the key to beating this addiction, and is monumentally important to ever preventing it. Being aware of the dangers of cigarette smoke is the only way you will ever be able to stop smoking if you’re addicted, and it’s one of the only deterrents you will ever have to keep you from starting. Your life is so much more valuable than those cigarettes ever will be. You owe it to yourself, friends, and family to have the knowledge necessary to just not smoke. It doesn’t have to be easier said than done. That is your choice.

Works Cited
Mayo Clinic. Anatomy of nicotine addiction. © 1998-2012 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). April 10,2012.

Pubmed.gov April 10, 2012 Coronary Artery IntrerventionSt. Louis County Library. April 10, 2012



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