Causes and Effects of Smoking
Smoking is considered as one of the most dangerous habits of an individual, especially for women and children eventually leading to several complications and causing grave health problems. There are numerous harmful as well as dangerous effects related with smoking. Carbon monoxide and nicotine in cigarette smoking has been related with several adverse impacts on lungs and heart. For example, in pregnant women it can eventually result in grave outcomes including; low birth weight babies, preterm delivery; premature rupture of membranes, placental abnormalities, and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. It is pertinent to mention that smoking causes vascular diseases that in turns affect flow of blood through the placenta. Smokers, in fact, look older than they actually are because the blood vessels are partially obstructed and calcified. The complications resulting from placental abruption are more common in smokers.
As mentioned above, smoking cigarette includes carbon monoxide. Since carbon monoxide is the replacement for oxygen in the blood during smoking, there are some fetuses that could attempt to compensate for this particular deprivation by creating extra red blood cells for the purpose of carrying extra oxygen. In some extraordinary cases, the blood gets thicker from the proliferation of such cells and ultimately cuts off the supply of blood to critical organs with fatal results.
Smoking causes a person's heart to run in overdrive and ultimately there is a shortage of oxygen in heart. Heart then has to work more for maintaining supply to the entire human body. The blood vessels are narrowed causing high blood pressure. Moreover, smoking impacts the cardiovascular system of human beings which also becomes a cause of high blood pressure or hypertension. The effect of high blood pressure is heart related diseases.
Cigarettes contain tobacco which, in turn, possesses nicotine and different other toxic chemicals. These chemicals cause blood vessel to be narrower than normal. When blood passes through these narrow vessels it creates extra pressure and results in hypertension having some serious effects on human body including heart strokes and paralysis. Cigarettes causes deterioration in quality of blood and increases cholesterol level, at times, also creates clots in the heart. The effect of increased level of cholesterol and creation of clots in blood is also heart attack as well as impacting other parts of body.
The combination of carbon monoxide and nicotine especially in cigarettes causes increase heart rate and strained heart blood vessels. It cuts off supply of oxygen to other parts of human body including hands and feet, and limbs. These causes have grave effects on entire human body and increase chances of death. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people die every year, around the world, due to smoking. Smoking is considered as a slow way of death. For example, it causes emphysema that slowly but continuously effects lungs. The effect of emphysema is repeated attacks of bronchitis, lung-diseases and heart failure.
Nicotine in blood causes shortage of oxygen in the human body which, in turn, exerts pressure on heart. Moreover, it blocks the arteries and causes damage to the blood vessels. The damage effects flow of blood and increase blood pressure. Chemicals present in tobacco causes damage to the lining of blood vessels that effects fats level and increase the risk of atheroma being a major cause of heart diseases.
Smoking during Pregnancy
Smoking limits, unfortunately, restricts the overall nutrition that a newly-born baby is able to receive. This can be specifically detrimental in late pregnancy when the brain of baby is swiftly developing. Furthermore, evidence suggests that nicotine has a direct adverse effect on developing nerve cells. Small doses, in animals, of nicotine injected into the mother in pregnancy normally result in brain malformations, learning problems, and poor functioning.
Studies have revealed the fact that women exposed to nicotine in pregnancy are more likely to show behavioral and learning problems years later. Babies born too small or prematurely for their gestational age may end up confronting learning problems their entire lives. Smokeless tobacco also includes nicotine. The quantity of nicotine absorbed is generally more than the quantity delivered by any cigarette. People, who chew or dip, receive about the similar quantity of nicotine as regular smokers.
The most dangerous substances causing substances in smokeless tobacco are known as 'tobacco-specific nitrosamines' that are found at levels hundred times higher compared with the nitrosamines allowed in beer, bacon, and different other foods. The juice resulted from the smokeless tobacco is, in fact, absorbed through the lining of the mouth. This creates white patches and sores that mostly lead to cancer of the mouth. Users of smokeless tobacco significantly increase their risk of other cancers. Other effects of smokeless tobacco use include stained teeth and filings, chronic bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abrasion tooth loss, and loss of bone in the jaw. They could also have problems with high blood pressure and are exposed to the increased risk for heart disease.
Smokers have comparatively great risk of ectopic pregnancy- a pregnancy just outside the uterus- and also miscarriage. This risk exist more in smokers compared with non-smokers. It is most likely that smokers may develop other complications like more risk of infections. Discontinuing the habit of smoking during pregnancy is beneficial; however, ceasing right from the time it is planned or at the start of the pregnancy is considered wiser. Any pregnant women can be successful in giving up the habit of smoking; however, she may need sympathetic motivation-mental support and health.
Smoking during pregnancy causes certain complications such as detachment of placenta, bleeding, and premature birth. It produces effects not only on mother but also newly-born baby along with increased chances of abortion. Studies have shown that, in case of pregnant women, nicotine has more grave effects compared with heroine or similar drugs. Nicotine in smoking effects newly-born baby because blood is directly sent to the placenta through arteries and spans resulting from it can reduce the amount of oxygen received by the baby. Resultantly, chances of low-birth rate are more. Moreover, premature delivery can eventually lead to disastrous health conditions of both mother and baby, for example, cerebral palsy, metal retardation, and in some cases death.
The Effect of Cigarette Price Increase on Smoking
Smoking is a hard habit to break. It is also the leading cause of preventable death in the US. Its death toll is 438,000 deaths per year (American Lung Association, n.d.). Despite the various health risks posed on smokers, cigarette sales continue to rise. Governments around the world have implemented strict laws to curb smoking habit, but they hardly put a dent on smoking prevalence. Excise taxes on cigarette, graphic health ads, and health programs appear to do little to cause smoking cessation or to lower prevalence, at the very least. This essay looks at the effect of cigarette price increase on smoking and whether it is effective in restricting cigarette use.
There have been numerous studies that confirm the inverse relationship of cigarette prices and smoking. A significant finding of the study by Chaloupka et al. (2012) reveal that a 10% increase in cigarette price results in a 4% reduction in overall cigarette consumption. This is evidence that the law of supply and demand is at work. While this appears to be a great way to curtail demand for cigarette, the problem is that this just basically lowers demands. There’s no indication that a reduction in demand for cigarettes actually drive people to quit the dangerous habit.
According to the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA), research studies that investigate the impact of cigarette prices on smoking prevalence and intensity reveal that, in general, about half of the price impact on total demand results from the decrease in the number of smokers. It means the higher prices not only cuts down the number of smokers, but also discourages young people to start smoking (SSA, 2015).
Another interesting study by Curti et al. (2014) shows that a 10% percent increase in the price of cigarette corresponds to a 4.6% increase in the consumption of roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes. This means that smokers are turning to alternatives to avoid paying higher prices. With the emergence (and popularity) of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), it would not be surprising to see a shift in demand for the alternatives including illegally procured tobacco.
Smuggled tobacco is even more dangerous because it is unregulated. As such, the components may include arsenic, rat droppings, and lethal amounts of tar and carbon monoxide (Campbell, 2010). This effect is far worse than the problem that governments are trying to fix in the first place. When it adds illegality and crime in the equation, it becomes a much more complex problem and more difficult to control.
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Another argument against raising cigarette price is that smokers living in states with higher cigarette price will find other means to beat the system. Using coupons or buying on the internet are two strategies smokers use to avoid paying higher prices. This evidently weakens the impact of price increase on smoking behavior (SSA, 2015). In addition, smokers with high income are not affected because they can still afford cigarettes even with incremental increase. Conversely, smokers in the low income bracket are the most affected, but are most likely to turn to cheaper and more risky alternatives.
Cigarette price increase as a control strategy can only be effective in lowering demand for cigarette because smokers will just switch to cheaper alternatives. If governments continue to use this strategy, the only way it could have a significant and positive impact on public health is to increase the cigarette prices at a faster rate than incomes to make cigarettes less affordable. If the main goal is to decrease the number of smokers, then governments should strengthen its resolve to restrict marketing of cigarettes and educate people about the risks of smoking and offer assistance to smokers who want to quit.
American Lung Association (no date) Smoking Facts [Online] http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects.html [Accessed December 11, 2015]
Campbell, D. (2010). Smuggled tobacco is a source of ill-health on the cheap. The Guardian, Wednesday 10th February 2010.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/feb/10/illegal-tobacco-health-smuggling-liverpool [Accessed 29/06/2015]
Chaloupka, F.J., Yurekli, A., Fong, G.T. (2012) Tobacco taxes as a tobacco control strategy. Tobacco Control; 21(2):172-180.
Curti, D., Shang, C., Ridgeway, W., Chaloupka, F. J., & Fong, G. T. (2015). The use of legal, illegal and roll-your-own cigarettes to increasing tobacco excise taxes and comprehensive tobacco control policies: findings from the ITC Uruguay survey. Tobacco control, tobaccocontrol-2014.
Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) (2015) Higher cigarette prices reduce cigarette smoking by decreasing smoking prevalence and reducing the number of cigarettes smoked by continuing smokers. [Online] http://www.treatobacco.net/en/page_120.php [Accessed December 11, 2015].