Smoking Effects on Health

by Elizabeth Ethier on March 27, 2014

By Elizabeth Ethier

I think everyone is aware that smoking cigarettes is bad for their health. According to the CDC, “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.” It causes over 480,00 deaths each year in the US. Furthermore, cigarette smoking causes about 90% of all deaths from lung cancer and 80% of deaths from COPD. Other than deaths, cigarette smoking also increases the chance of developing other diseases. The risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke and, as previously mentioned, lung cancer are all increased by smoking. “Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body” (CDC). Smoking can also affect pregnancy, making it harder to get pregnant and have negative effects on the baby’s health. Overall, smoking cigarettes negatively affects general overall health. However, in present times there are many things that are smoked other than cigarettes. Cigars, hookahs, and E-cigs are all prevalent in today’s society, so what are the health risks associated with them?

Cigarette Smoking is Bad

Cigarette Smoking is Bad

Smoking cigars is not any healthier than smoking cigarettes. Cigars still cause various forms of cancer, mainly in the mouth. The risk of lip, tongue, throat, esophageal, larynx and lung cancer are all increased by smoking cigars. The risk of lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis is also increased, along with the risk of heart disease. As for secondhand smoke, it is equally as bad if not worse. Secondhand smoke can contribute to the risk of disease in adults but is especially dangerous for children. Childhood asthma, ear infections and respiratory infections are all at increased risk from secondhand smoke. “Cigars often burn for longer periods of time, which leads to more secondhand smoke in the air.” (MayoClinic). Smoking cigars is just as bad as smoking cigarettes.

Cigar

Cigar

“Although many users think it is less harmful, hookah smoking has many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking.” (CDC). Smoking hookah can increase the risk of developing cancer. The tobacco and smoke contain toxins that are known to contribute to various cancers and heart disease. The tobacco juice causes an increased risk of developing oral cancers. When sharing hookah, it can also pass on infections. As for babies, women who smoked hookah while pregnant had babies with low birth weights and increased risk for respiratory disease. According to the CDC, smoking hookah is, in some ways, more harmful than smoking cigarettes. Because hookah is smoked for a longer period of time more of the toxic substances are absorbed by the smoker. “The amount of smoke inhaled during a typical hookah session is about 90,000ml compared with 500-600ml inhaled when smoking a cigarette.” (CDC).

Hookah Pipe

Hookah Pipe

E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes have been marketed as a safe alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. They are powered by a small battery and release small amounts of water vapor along with nicotine. Not a lot of research has been done on the health effects of E-cigarettes, in part because they are relatively new. Although they are marketed as a “safe alternative” the FDA recently analyzed two popular brands and found they contained trace amounts of toxic chemicals including carcinogens. However, e-cigarettes are not yet regulated by the FDA, therefore they don’t have to be labeled. Overall, there is not enough research to determine the health effects of E-cigarettes, they may be harmful but without further studies there is no way to be sure.

Electronic Cigarette

Electronic Cigarette


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