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Smoking - Cause and Effect

It's been a number of days since the no-smoking ban has been in place in NYC. Now other states are joining the bandwagon to implement such a change. Many people feel the need and believe it is their right to be in a public place without having to breathe the dangerous, foul-smelling fumes that come from those cancer sticks. Just as there are supporters to the ban, there are supporters against it. Everyone has a right to their opinion and has a right to destroy himself or herself if they choose to smoke. There are also those who have a right not to get sick from breathing that second-hand smoke.

Just why is smoking such a controversial subject? Why was the ban needed to begin with? A little investigation into this habit-forming, self-destructive, addictive ploy on one's health will reveal the truth.

Dangers of smoking

Smoking is dangerous for a number of reasons. People who smoke contracted heart disease, stroke, lung disease, impotence, etc. Why does smoking cause all these ailments? And why do people get hooked so easily?

The leaves of the tobacco plant are picked, dried, chopped up, and rolled into paper tubes. The tubes are then stuck into the mouth, lit, and the poison-laden smoke is taken into the lungs. Each time a person smokes a cigarette, they take an average of five minutes off their life. This is about the same time it takes to smoke the cigarette. Smoking cigarettes causes hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.

Nicotine no longer has any medicinal uses. It can act as a stimulant, depressant, or tranquilizer. Tobacco is one of the most physiologically damaging substances used by man. Since nicotine is one of the most addicting drugs in common use, most tobacco users are hooked or locked on to the damaging effects of the tobacco.

Columbus and other early explorers who followed him were amazed to meet the Indians who carried rolls of dried leaves that they set on fire. They then "drank" the smoke as it emerged from the rolls in the fire. Other Indians carried pipes in which they burned the same leaves and "drank" the smoke.

Accordingly, when the sailors returned home they carried abundant supplies of tobacco and seeds with them. They also carried leaves and seeds with them on their subsequent expeditions to other parts of the globe. Within a few decades, the plant had been effectively spread around the world. Settlers in the Americas learned to smoke and tobacco smoking spread through England like wildfire. The demand often exceeded supply and prices rose accordingly.

From those days until today, it is important to note that no country that learned to use tobacco has given up the practice. Even to this day, there has been no substance able to replace tobacco.

Through the centuries since Columbus, countless millions of smokers have tried to stop smoking. Some have succeeded, many others have failed. Among the frequently noted consequences of cessation are compulsive overeating, social discomfort, and depersonalization. Common initial effects are craving for foods, sweating, tremors, and nervousness. It is the nicotine in tobacco that produces that craving.

It is not definitely known why, but it is likely that nicotine affects the parts of the brain called pleasure centers. These are very small areas that are active during pleasant sensations. Smokers seem to give themselves pleasure by taking nicotine into the body where it is passed onto the brain's pleasure centers.

Unfortunately, the feeling of pleasure is very short lived. After smoking, half of the nicotine taken in is gone within half an hour. As the nicotine level drops, the smoker begins to feel worse and a new craving for nicotine is initiated. The body also develops a tolerance to the nicotine. This requires more of it to reach the same levels of satisfaction or pleasure. Herein starts the vicious cycle of need and craving known as addiction.

Today there are more options to stop smoking while slowly reducing the need or craving for the nicotine. Doctor's can now prescribe patches, gums, and a number of alternate therapies to slowly reduce the dependence on the nicotine. It is still not an easy road but holds great potential for many.

Causes of smoking

There are many diseases associated with smoking, lung cancer being number one. Lung cancer is very common. More than 300,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. It is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. It develops most often in scarred or chronically diseased lungs. Over 87% of the cases of lung cancer are attributed to cigarette smoking. Other factors include exposure to asbestos, coal products, iron oxide, ionizing radiation, mustard gas, petroleum, and vinyl chloride.

Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lung start to grow rapidly in an uncontrolled manner. Lung cancer can start anywhere in the lungs and affect any part of the respiratory system. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Symptoms of lung cancer include persistent cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, and repeated attacks of bronchitis or pneumonia. Lung cancer can quickly spread to the tissues surrounding the lungs, and is often carried to the liver, brain, and bones. Every cigarette you smoke damages your health. Even if you never get heart disease or cancer later in life, each cigarette you smoke affects your health. And you can feel the difference, right now.

So why smoke

Although the point has been made about the dangers of smoking, those who do smoke say it is a civil rights issue. They believe that they have a right to do it even if it does danger their health. Their excuse is, "Well, I'm not hurting anyone but myself. I have a right to do what I please with my body."

Actually that is not completely true. When God created man, he gave a command for us to treat our bodies like a vessel for his glory. We were told to take care of it and maintain it. Unfortunately, there are many godless people today that do not follow such guidance. At the same time that smoking directly affects peoples' health, secondhand smoke is more dangerous because the poisons that come from the burned tobacco leaves is directly inhaled.

Talking about violating the rights of others. This means that when someone is exposed to someone else's smoke, that person is inhaling poison. The person that is breathing in the smoke is being forbidden to breathe clean air that they have a right to. This also is in violation of the person's civil rights.

So where does the line get drawn? Considering that smoking is dangerous and should be outlawed, the option is simple - no one should be allowed to face any situation where another individual damages his or her health.

The sooner the tobacco cartel is shut down, the sooner we can all breathe cleaner air and live happier, healthier lives.

Harry is an author, freelance writer, and computer expert. His writing projects include ghostwriting, copywriting, web content, DTP, editing, and technical writing. His computer work includes installation, setup, and troubleshooting computer systems. His credits include articles for Internet Day, Internet World, Advertising Today, Advertising Age, L-Advertising, Computer Edge, and a host of others.

Harry has developed several courses including Achieving Successful Copywriting Results in Four Weeks, How to Find Legitimate Home Employment, Working at Home, and How to Start and Run a Business on the Internet.

Harry is author of Learn How to Repair Computers: Get Certified in 15 Weeks and How to Write Your Way to Millions. You can check out his samples and what he offers at his site by going to or You can email him to

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