Why do we smoke

This essay has a total of 1369 words and 7 pages.


Why do we smoke





Why do we smoke
By Bryan Hesters

After listening to 2 solid weeks of classroom lecture on all the negative side effects
that smoking causes in the human body, I felt somewhat concerned that the habit that I
have had for 10 years of my life might be a serious problem to my health, even at this
young age. We spent a great deal of time discussing the negative side effects of
smoking covering heart disease, cancer, and respiratory failure, but there was very little
discussion given to how and why we started smoking in the first place and what steps we
have to take to quit. I set out to find these answers to these questions and determine
the best way to stop smoking forever.


“Smoking kills over 400,000 people a year -- more than one in six people in the
United States -- making it more lethal than AIDS, automobile accidents, homicides,
suicides, drug overdoses, and fires combined.”(1) It’s baffling to me that
something so lethal is sold over the counter. Despite this outrageous number of
fatalities, over 47 million people or roughly of the American Adult Population smoke
more than a pack a day according to the Harvard Medical Journal. A vast majority of these
smokers started in their teens and never quit or quit only to restart again in their mid
20’s. This is a prolific trend that continues today where, “Each day, almost
3,000 young people start to smoke.” (1). Several sources have been targeted with
blame for this trend, some of which include advertising, psychological factors, social
support structure or peer pressure, and the likes. Despite Anti-Smoking campaigns
targeting these specific areas, the trend continues. This continuance of status quo is
largely because the anti-smoking campaigns of the rescent past have been primarily
targeted at groups that are already smoking or will soon be. It is the opinion of Daniel
Heller, a doctor of pediatrics at the Harvard Medical Center, that,”Anti-smoking
advertising campaigns…may be extremely effective when they target children as young
as elementary school age, are long-term, and consistently portray smoking as hazardous for
adults and children alike.” (3) Much like the success of the “just say
no” drug program that was widely documented and proven when targeting this
age-group, smoking adds should take the same approach to curb the trends of teenage
starters in the US.


Smokers that start have a very hard time stopping. “In one study, of the women
smokers who said they wanted to stop smoking, 80% of them were unable to.”(1)
Nicotine is felt, by many researches and scientists including the surgeon general, to be
as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Nicotine, in fact, affects the same areas of the
brain as these drugs and has similar effects. Nicotine is also similar to these drugs in
that the body eventually develops a tolerance to them and requires more amounts of the
substance to maintain the effects. Nicotine, however, has a much higher resistance
level, thusly requiring even newly started smokers to accelerate their use to dangerously
addictive levels. This tolerance and inherent addiction is what makes stopping smoking
so difficult. When Nicotine is absent in the user, the individual experiences withdrawal
symptoms. The pull of this addiction is so strong that, “Even after years of
nonsmoking, about 20% of ex-smokers still have occasional cravings for
cigarettes.”(1) According to the Web MD website, a site supported by 3 of the
leading medical universities in the US and the FDA, offers the following description and
recommendation for those handling withdrawal.

Among the physical symptoms of withdrawal are tingling in the hands and feet, sweating,
intestinal disorders, and headache. People often experience sore throats, coughing, and
other signs of colds and respiratory problems as the lungs begin to clear. While people
are enduring these symptoms they should treat themselves as if they were recuperating from
a disease -- which they are.

But the withdrawal symptoms also affect the mental and emotional states of those that are
struggling to quit. Wild mood swings and feelings of irritability and unrest, as though
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