I. According to the information of World Health Organization, there are more than 1.1 billion smokers all over the word and this number is expected to grow to 1.6 billion over the next 20 years. Every year 6 million people die from smoking more than 5 million because of the direct tobacco use while 600 000 deaths is the result of second-hand smoking of non-smokers (WHO | Tobacco). Most tobacco users die prematurely, leaving their families and depriving them in income. Moreover, they become the cause of the raise in medical care and hinder of the development of the economy. Therefore, judging from all these facts, smoking can be called one of the biggest and most serious epidemics of our times.
II. Smoking has its roots far to 500 BC as a part of some shaman rituals. Most ancient civilizations are known for burning some incents while making some religious rituals. Tobacco smoking was also used for achieving state of trance to contact with the world of spirits (Gately, 30). In the year 1612 was the first evidence of raising tobacco as a crap cash. This was the beginning of popularization of tobacco smoking. In the same century came the first attempts to prohibit smoking introducing different penalties or fines. By the middle of 17th century tobacco smoking became the part of the culture in many countries of the civilized world (Lloyd, 75).
A. Why do people start smoking? The statistics shows that most people start smoking when they are teenagers and develop it throughout the whole life. The main reasons for starting smoking in teenage are to look more adult, to be like their friend and to try something new. What is more, underage smoking is prohibited in many countries that is why it becomes so desirable for young people for the forbidden always has a certain allure to it. Unlike teenagers, adults have their own reasons for smoking. Among the most common ones are problems and stress because of work, marriage, relationships etc. Smoking helps people to relax or get some energy to deal with problems. Some more reasons are to control weight, as far as tobacco reduces appetite, or to feel pleasure (Why People Smoke). Due to colorful advertising campaigns of different tobacco producing companies and smoking TV-stars smoking is considered by many people as cool yet dangerous activity. Are people aware of all the dangers of smoking? Do they know what ingredients cigarettes contain? Of course, every cigarette pack has information about it on the cover, but not many people are convinced by what they read. The key ingredients of a cigarette are nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Nicotine is a poisonous drug, one drop of which in its pure form can kill a person. Tar or tobacco residue is strongly toxic and damages lungs and mouths and provokes different types of cancer. The third key ingredient is carbon dioxide - a poisonous gas, which influences badly blood, heart and breathing systems (CDC - Fact Sheet).
B. Above are given most common reasons why people start smoking. The second part of this essay is devoted to the reasons why people should quit smoking. The first and the main reason is health, of course. Have you ever met a healthy person who is constant smoker? According to many researches, smoking influences such organs as lungs, heart, stomach and even brain. The organs that suffer from smoking most of all are lungs of course. The list of diseases a smoker can get starts with simple coughs and wheezing then proceeds to asthma, pneumonia, obstructive bronchitis and ends up with such terrible illness as lung cancer. When you smoke, carbon monoxide and nicotine make your heart work faster, while other chemicals work on damaging the lining of coronary arteries. Thus the risk of having a heart attack, coronary heart disease or heart stroke doubles in comparison with non-smokers (27 Effects of Smoking). As for the stomach, smoking makes weaker special muscle that is responsible for controlling the lower end of the gullet, which allows acid get into wrong parts of the stomach. This is only the smallest problem smokers can have. Different kinds of cancer, such as stomach or kidney cancer develop quickly for smokers. As the research has proven a person who smokes 10 cigarettes a day is 1,5 times more likely to have kidney cancer in comparison with non-smokers and twice more likely if a person smokes 20 cigarettes per day (CDC - Fact Sheet). Brain also suffers much from smoking; therefore it can increase the chances for having a strike or even brain damage by 50%. It happens because of the weakness of the blood vessel wall. Due to changes in brain, the risks of poor eyesight, weakening of taste and smell senses also become higher. Except problems with the above mentioned organs smokers gain troubles with their bones. People who smoke every day have weaker and more brittle bones than non-smokers because nicotine reduces the amount of calcium in bones and makes the risk of osteoporosis much higher. Another important substance suffering from smoking is our blood. The toxins from smoke get directly into the humans blood and cause different serious problems. They make it thicker, which increases the risk of clot formation, increase blood pressure and heart rate and narrow the arteries. This makes heart work harder and reduces the amount of blood circulation. All these put together make a person likely to have clots and get stroke or heart attack.
C. Anyway, if smokers are not interested in the inner problems of their bodies, smoking causes some troubles with appearance as well. First important thing here is digestive system. Some ingredients that tobacco contain can become the cause of different infections, such as periodontitis or gingivitis, which lead to bad breath, tooth decay, tooth yellowing and even tooth loss. Even if smokers are not afraid to lose their perfect smiles, there are some far more dangerous troubles. Smoking can provoke mouth, throat and larynx cancer, decreases the level of insulin in blood, and makes the chances of diabetes rather high (27 Effects of Smoking). Very often smokers face the problems with their skin. Actually, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that skin receives and changes the structure of it. The main signs of it are too quick aging, yellowish or greyish color, wrinkles, especially around eyes and mouth. Tobacco toxins can also cause cellulite. Nicotine as well make fingernails and skin on the fingers look grey or have grey-yellow stains from holding a cigarette. All together may make smokers look much older than they actually are, with hollow cheeks and sallow complexion (Smokefree | Effects of Smoking).
D. Smoking can also spoil your life and relationship by reducing sexuality and weakening reproductive system. According to researches, both smoking men and women may have difficulty achieving orgasm. Moreover, smoking can cause impotence for men and too early menopause for women. For females, it can provoke problems with fertility - one study found that the fertility of smoking women was 28% lower than of non-smokers (http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/smoking-health-problems). Smoking women have as well more problems with pregnancy, such as inability to get pregnant, miscarriage and premature delivery. Second-hand smokers may face having a baby with low weight or birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome (27 Effects of Smoking).
III. As far as nicotine is a mood-changing drug, it reaches humans brain within seconds and improves low spirits very quickly. It is vital to remember that smoking brings energy and satisfaction only for a while, but after that you feel even more tired and exhausted. What is more, you are gaining more and more serious problems with your health and earning troubles for your personal life and relationship. So, before lighting a cigarette, smokers should think thrice if they really need it.
"27 Effects of Smoking on the Body." Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.
"CDC - Fact Sheet - Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking - Smoking & Tobacco Use." Smoking and Tobacco Use. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.
Gately, Iain. Tobacco: The Story of How Tobacco Seduced the World. New York: Grove Press, 2001. Print.
Lloyd, John, and John Mitchinson. Qi: the Pocket Book of General Ignorance. London: Faber and Faber, 2008. Print.
"Smokefree | Effects of Smoking on the Body." NHSChoices Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.
"WHO | Tobacco." WHO | World Health Organization. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.
"Why People Smoke." Health & Literacy Special Collection. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.
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