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In basic terms, cigarette smoking entails the inhalation of tobacco smoke. It can be noted that over time, research has indicated that cigarette smoke contains numerous chemicals which have both short-term as well as long-term effects on the body of an individual. In this text, I highlight the adverse effects of cigarette smoking on the body. In so doing, I will mainly concern myself with the impact of smoking on the reproductive system, the immune system, the respiratory system as well as the cardiovascular system.
Cigarette Smoking and Its Effects on the Human Body
Effects on the Cardiovascular System
A smoker's cardiovascular system is affected both in the short-term and in the long-term by a number of substances found in cigarette smoke. It therefore follows that smoking occasions quite a number of cardiovascular diseases. Some of the cardiovascular diseases and conditions occasioned by smoking include but are not limited to peripheral vascular disease, heart attack and stroke. According to Alters and Schiff (2011), "cigarette smokers are more than twice as likely as nonsmokers to have a heart attack or stroke." When it comes to stroke and heart attack, it is important to note that cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of obstruction from blood clots as a result of weakened heart muscles, narrowed blood vessels as well as blood platelets that come across as being rather sticky. In basic terms, heart attacks are occasioned by blockages to the heart while on the other hand; strokes are brought about by blockages to the brain. When it comes to peripheral vascular disease, smoking continuously enhances blood coagulation and vascular endothelium destruction. This leads to the continued hardening of vessels and arteries charged with the transportation of blood to both the feet and arms. It is this process that eventually leads to peripheral vascular disease. Apart from the complications I highlight above occasioned by cigarette smoking, the same is also associated in one way or the other with a number of other cardiovascular diseases including hypertension and coronary heart disease.
Effects on the Respiratory System
According to Goldberg (2005), "smoked tobacco is especially harmful to the respiratory system." To begin with, the author notes that the ability of the cilia to remove mucus as well as any other matter of a foreign nature from the lungs is sufficiently impeded by cigarette smoke. The author also notes that in comparison to nonsmokers, cigarette smokers tend to have a higher number of respiratory infections. Further, such infections in the case of cigarette smokers tend to be rather severe. It is also important to note that cigarette smoking has been associated with both larynx and trachea irritation. Throat inflammation may also in some cases come about as a result of the interaction between hot tobacco smoke and the nasal and trachea passage tender linings. According to Goldberg (2005), "close to 70% of the particles in tobacco smoke stay in the lungs." Tar particles left in lung tissues are known to be triggers of cancer as they contain carcinogen benzopyrene. Tar present in tobacco smoke has also been known to reduce the surface contact between the alveoli and blood vessels due to its tendency of sticking on the former's tender surface. Yet another harmful substance introduced to the respiratory system through smoking is hydrogen cyanide. This substance is responsible for the lung-clearance-system damage which occasions a chain of other reactions affecting the normal functioning of other processes in the body. The damage occasioned to the lung-clearance-system in this case also leads to eventual lung damage as a result of poisonous substances buildup.
Effects on the Immune System
As Sopori (2002) notes, "chronic inhalation of cigarette smoke alters a wide range of immunological functions, including innate and adaptive immune responses." However, the author is quick to note that the effects of smoking (both quantitative and qualitative) on any given individual's immune system are largely dependent on the said individual's ethnicity, sex as well as smoking duration. From the onset, it is important to note that the body may be exposed to a wide range of environmental pathogens via the lungs. In the case of a healthy person, such environmental pathogens as well as antigens are cleared through a number of specific defense mechanisms. As Sopori (2002) notes, a large number of foreign materials are removed by the mucociliary escalator from the respiratory tract. On the other hand, both adaptive and innate immune responses aid in the aversion of the adverse effects of…[continue]
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