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Research Paper on Tobacco

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Essay title: Research Paper on Tobacco


Nicotine use is a leading preventable cause of death in the world, directly and indirectly responsible for 440,000 deaths per year. The health problems that result in tobacco use tally an annual of $75 billion in direct medical costs (Slovic 36). That money spent on medical problems for smokers should be used to pay for more important things in our society such as schools, libraries, childcare, etc.

Because it takes approximately eight seconds for nicotine to reach the brain and each cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals, tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs in the United States. (“TIPS” 8). Dependency is defined as reliance for a substance that you can’t live without. Smokers have a physical and physiological reliance for tobacco, and constantly crave cigarettes. Smoking starts a cycle of craving which is stopped temporarily by nicotine.

In addition, withdrawal symptoms occur if one stops smoking, which is a major factor in people continuing to smoke. Withdrawal symptoms include physiological distress (such as irritability, anxiety, and anger), difficulty concentrating (continually thinking about cigarettes), and excessive eating (smokers weigh on average seven pounds less than non-smokers). Smokers with a history of depression have more severe withdrawal symptoms and are also less likely to quit smoking. Smokers who are more dependent

have higher rates of depression. Tobacco use is so deadly that it kills more people each year then all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, suicides, and murders combined (“Secondhand smoke” 2).

Common reasons for death related to smoking include over eight forms of cancer, respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Around 124,000 people in the United States die from lung cancer cause by smoking each year (Slovic 34). Other forms of cancer include laryngeal cancer, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and cancer of the urinary bladder. Lung cancer arises in the airways and air sacs of the lungs. Since 1950, lung cancer deaths have increased significantly, in women almost by 600 percent. Laryngeal cancer shows up in the vocal cords. Symptoms of this cancer include cough, coughing blood, and hoarseness. Oral cancer arises in the mouth and throat. It’s most common in people who chew tobacco. Esophageal cancer is in the esophagus which links the oral cavity to the stomach. Pancreatic cancer is in the pancreas which is a secreatory organ situated at the rear of the abdominal cavity behind the stomach. Being bathed in the tobacco carcinogens which are in the blood and then concentrated in the urine causes kidney cancer. Cancer of the urinary bladder is in the bladder’s surface, and the earliest symptom is bleeding. Respiratory diseases cause by smoking includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory morbidity, emphysema, and respiratory infections.

Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than non-smokers, and tobacco use doubles risk for stroke. It also causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels, and it causes premature wrinkles because it constricts the oxygen and warmth from all parts of the body so the skin ages faster.

Another huge tobacco-related health problem is secondhand smoke. It is known to cause approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths in nonsmokers each year. By definition it is a mixture of smoke given off by the burning end of tobacco products and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals: 200 of which are poisons; 43 of which are known to cause cancer. These include chemicals found in insecticide, fuel, window cleaner, nail polish, antifreeze, auto exhaust, solvent, and rat poison (Martin 3). Young children are especially endangered by secondhand smoke because their lungs are still developing and can be damaged easily. Smoking during pregnancy accounts for an estimated 20 to 30 percent of low-birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and some 10 percent of all infant deaths. In 2001 12 percent of women who gave birth smoked during pregnancy. Secondhand smoke increases risk for sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia in young children (Eysenck 73).

A one-pack-a-day smoker deposits a total of one quart of tar into his or her lungs every year. An injection of one drop (70 mg) will kill an average-sized man within a few

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