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All about quit smoking & stop smoking health effects of smoking constituents of tobacco smoke smoking and lung cancer smoking and cardiovascular disease smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease other cancers caused by smoking women's health and smoking harm to human body by smoking passive smoking (second hand smoking) health hazards of passive smoking avoiding passive smoking smoking addiction reasons to quit smoking stop smoking cigar smoking and health smoking cessation medications body weight and smoking cessation health benefits of quitting smoking

What is a smoking addiction?

Smokers often find they need a second cigarette, and another and another, in order to get the same feelings. A smoking addiction means a person has formed an uncontrollable dependence on cigarettes to the point where stopping smoking would cause severe emotional, mental, or physical reactions. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of substances. One of the most important is nicotine. It is a natural part of the tobacco leaf, the only place nicotine has ever been found. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and is one of the main factors leading to the continued tobacco smoking. Although the amount of

nicotine inhaled with tobacco smoke is quite small (most of the substance is destroyed by the heat) it is still sufficient to cause physical and/or psychological dependence. The amount of nicotine absorbed by the body from smoking depends on many factors, including the type of tobacco, whether the smoke is inhaled, and whether a filter is used. On average it takes about seven seconds for the substance to reach the brain. Although nicotine does play a role in some of the diseases listed, above (such as stroke, impotence, and heart disease), it does not contribute to the formation of cancer or emphysema.

Nicotine works on the brain and other parts of the nervous system. While a person is smoking, nicotine reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body directly through the veins. (For example, the brain feels the effects of nicotine faster than it feels the effects of a shot of heroin in the arm.). When smokers breathe in smoke, they draw nicotine into their lungs. Then, their Bloodstream picks it up and it is quickly pumped by the heart right to the brain. Within just seven seconds the nicotine reaches the brain. This sudden burst of nicotine causes an instant "high." Some nicotine goes to other parts of the body. And if a woman is pregnant, this burst of nicotine also reaches the fetus through connecting blood vessels.

The uptake of nicotine into the body is dependent on the pH levels of its transport system (generally via smoke, but also possible through placement of tobacco in the mouth -- so-called 'smokeless tobacco'). Nicotine uptake from the acidic smoke from cigarettes occurs in the lungs. The alkaline smoke from tobaccos used in pipes and cigars allows nicotine absorption through the lining of the mouth. Smokeless tobacco products, and nicotine chewing gum (an aid in cessation) are specially treated to facilitate oral absorption. Lung absorption is more rapid, presumably due to the huge available surface area and more facilitative environment for cross-membrane transfer. From the lungs, nicotine quickly enters the bloodstream and the brain.

Nicotine acts through specialised cell formations located in brain and muscle tissues. These receptors have the capacity to recognise and react to nicotine when it is present in the body. Nicotine and the opium derivatives are the only drugs of dependence for which specialised receptors of this kind have been identified and studied in detail. When the receptors signal the presence of nicotine, a wide range of physical reactions take place. Changes occur in heart rate, skin temperature drops, the blood pressure rises and peripheral blood circulation slows. Brain waves are altered, a number of endocrine and metabolic effects are triggered, and skeletal muscle relaxation takes place.

Nicotine has biphasic effects of both stimulation and blockade, meaning that its use can provide perceptions of relaxation or alertness. The mental and physical state of the smoker, and the situation in which smoking occurs, can influence the way in which a particular cigarette will affect psychological perceptions and physiological response. Smoking provides a convenient and socially acceptable way of self-dosing a psychoactive drug hundreds of times a day (around 200 puffs per day for the 20-a-day smoker). Once the body has become accustomed to functioning with a level of nicotine in the blood, it seeks to maintain this level and smokers feel the need to continue self-administering the drug. Repeated use results in diminished effects, possibly leading to increased intake of nicotine.

More information on quitting smoking

How to quit smoking? - Many smokers know they need to quid smoking to avoid health risk. Smoking cessation is of the most importance for people who is suffering from unpleasant smoking symptoms.
What health effects are associated with smoking? - The main health risks in tobacco smoking pertain to diseases of the respiratory tract and also to diseases of the cardiovascular system, in particular smoking being a major risk factor for a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
What're the constituents of tobacco smoke? - Tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of several thousand chemical compounds. These include particulates (tar) of sticky solids, gases such as carbon monoxide, and volatiles. Most importantly, the smoke contains nicotine ĘC the addictive drug.
Smoking and lung cancer - Lung cancer is directly related to smoking. Over 40 carcinogens have been identified in cigarette smoke. The risk of developing lung cancer is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked.
Smoking and cardiovascular disease - There are a number of cardiovascular diseases that can be related to smoking. They include heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Smoking aggravates and accelerates of the development of atherosclerotic lesions in the arterial walls.
Smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease in which the lung is damaged, making it hard to breathe. Prolonged tobacco use causes lung inflammation and variable degrees of air sack (alveoli) destruction.
Other cancers caused by or associated with smoking - Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus and larynx. Smoking is a cause of bladder cancer. Cigarette smoking is at least a contributory and may be a causal factor in the development of pancreatic cancer.
Women's health and smoking - Women smokers suffer all the consequences of smoking that men do such as increased of risk various cancers (lung, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, kidney, and bladder) and respiratory diseases.
Harm to human body by smoking - Chemicals in tobacco cause damage to the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina, the back of the eye). Smoking is a risk factor for all cancers associated with the larynx, oral cavity and oesophagus.
What is passive smoking? - "Passive smoking" or "secondhand smoke" - also known as "environmental tobacco smoke" (ETS) or "involuntary smoking" - occurs when the ambient smoke from one person's cigarette is inhaled by other people.
Health hazards of passive smoking - Some of the immediate effects of passive smoking include eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. Adults with asthma can experience a significant decline in lung function when exposed, while new cases of asthma may be induced in children whose parents smoke.
How to avoid passive smoking? - Let your visitors know your home is a smoke-free zone, request them to smoke outside. Ask your visitors to put off the cigarette before entering your room. Ask to be seated in non-smoking areas as far from smokers as possible when dining out.
What is a smoking addiction? - A smoking addiction means a person has formed an uncontrollable dependence on cigarettes to the point where stopping smoking would cause severe emotional, mental, or physical reactions.
Why quit smoking? - Smoking increases the risk of respiratory diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smokers have twice the risk of dying of heart attacks, as do non-smokers.
How to stop smoking? - Quitting smoking is a lot like losing weight; it takes a strong commitment over a long period of time. Withdrawal from nicotine has two parts - the physical and the psychological.
Cigar smoking and health - A cigar is defined, for tax purposes, as "any roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or in any substance containing tobacco," while a cigarette is "any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or any substance not containing tobacco.
What smoking cessation medications are available? - Nicotine for NRT is available by prescription as an inhaler or nasal spray (Nicotrol Inhaler and Nicotrol NS).
Changes in body weight and smoking cessation - Smokers weigh, on average, around 3 kg less than non-smokers, although heavy smokers are more likely to be moderately or severely overweight. For many people, the fear of gaining weight prevents them from quitting smoking.
Health benefits of quitting smoking - Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. The health benefits of smoking cessation far exceed any risks from the average 2.3 kg (5 pound) weight gain or any adverse psychological effects that may follow quitting.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005