Tobacco Smoking Addiction

Smoking is the most common method of consuming tobacco, and tobacco is the most common substance smoked. The most common method of ingestion is cigarette smoking. The active substances are absorbed through the lungs. These then trigger chemical reactions in nerve endings, which heighten heart rate, alertness, and reaction time. Chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins are released, which are often associated with pleasure that help perpetuate the abuse pattern.

The magnitude of the problem:

As of 2000, smoking is practiced by approximately 1.22 billion people.

You may well imagine the economic impact of this fact by the simple calculation that assuming a "bottom-of-the-barrel" price of one rupee per person per day, the tobacco industry earns more than a BILLION rupees per day selling an addictive drug legally worlwide.

In most communities men are more likely to smoke than women, although the gender gap tends to be less pronounced in lower age groups.

A majority of smokers begin during adolescence or early adulthood. During the early stages motivating factors are a sense of pleasure and desire to respond to social peer pressure-“to appear cool”. After an individual has smoked for some years, the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms becomes the key motivation to continue. Children of smoking parents are more likely to smoke than children with non-smoking parents.

Tobacco use leads most commonly to 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 cancer). It is also the number one cause of bladder cancer.

Tobacco smoke produces lung cancer.

The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco causes 5.4 million deaths every year and over 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century.

Many of tobacco's detrimental health effects can be reduced or largely removed through smoking cessation. The health benefits over time of stopping smoking include:

  • Within 20 minutes after quitting, blood pressure and heart rate decrease
  • Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease to normal
  • Within 48 hours, nerve endings and sense of smell and taste both start recovering
  • Within 3 months, circulation and lung function improve
  • Within 9 months, there are decreases in cough and shortness of breath
  • Within 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half
  • Within 5 years, the risk of stroke falls to the same as a non-smoker, and the risks of many cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix) decrease significantly
  • Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half, and the risks of larynx and pancreas cancers decrease
  • Within 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease drops to the level of a non-smoker

There are a large number of smoking cessation therapies

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