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Tobacco and cigarettes are among the most harmful drugs yet people still view them as being less lethal than most narcotics. Their side effects exceed some of the best known narcotics if used at the same proportions. Statistics show that 90% lung cancer related deaths in America are caused by use of cigarettes. 80% of deaths from lung cancer in women are also brought about by smoking. Smoking is still considered a normal activity in the society and people do not view it as a killer habit. Teenagers view it as a good habit and before they realize it they are addicted to it. At this point it becomes very hard to quit because it’s a drug that can be used in almost every place (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General).
Like most American youths, I have also had an experience with tobacco and specifically cigarettes. While I was 12 years old, my sister dared me to try smoking, which she often did. My first experience of a smoke was not enjoyable. I coughed on my first puff and felt a burning sensation on my throat. At that time, I only did it to look cool not knowing that I would get addicted to it afterwards. As I grew up, my dad used to smoke a lot and he also hung out with smokers so I could access cigarettes easily, and it soon smoking became my lifestyle. It is a very addictive habit which I came to quit at 22 years. Because smoking cigarettes is accepted by the society, addiction is easy and with no time it gets to your head and cannot do anything without inhaling the smoke. Cigarette sticks are easily available to almost people of all ages which further make it more lethal than other narcotics.
Tobacco has a lot of negative effects especially on your health. On top of being the main cause of cancer, it also leads to a chain of diseases mostly affecting the respiratory system. It is considered as the highest cause of preventable death world wide. It affects both the heart and lungs causing illnesses like cancer of the mouth, heart attacks, stroke and chronic bronchitis. Its effects are mostly determined by how long an individual was hooked to the tobacco. An average cigarette contains an average of 19 chemicals, and the nicotine makes it addictive (WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2008, pp. 267–288). Every chemical is harmful to its own degree and a combination of them makes the cigarette very dangerous. Tobacco is very harmful no matter the method of consumption whether chewing or smoking. The method of consumption depends on cultures and practices, but in America especially in Texas, the common method of consumption is smoking.
Cigarettes and tobacco addiction is also as strong as any illegal drug, and it takes a lot of confidence to quit the habit. Quitting smoking is not actually as hard as people perceive it; the hard part is to make a decision to quit. One is unable to undertake the most basic activities without a smoke, and the nicotine gets to your mind giving you the urge to smoke every now and then. People who decide to quit think of smoking ‘just one’, but end up buying and smoking a whole pack by the end of the day. In any addiction, there is always the risk of relapse which most addicts are aware of but still find it hard to quit. One has to take a lot of caution and discipline in addiction which may finally plunge them to death.
The chemicals in cigarettes emit a foul smell which is not normally recognized by the users but those around him/her. Ammonia is used to boost nicotine in cigarettes which makes the smell stick on the users’ fingers, clothes, car or place of residence. Smokers rarely notice it that the odor offend most people especially the non smokers, also puts them at a health risk. People addicted to smoking mind less of what others think about the smell or how it affects them, and the people close to them are too timid to let them know. One never really gets to know this until you quit smoking. For the time I was a smoker I used to smoke in almost any spot I found comfortable without considering if there were non-smokers around. Some people are also allergic to the smell, and when they inhale it causes eye, nose and throat disorders.
Smoking is not considered a very expensive habit compared to other illegal narcotic, but upon addiction, it proves to be much more expensive. The expense not only applies to the physical buying of cigarettes but also to the expenses incurred by treating the many ailments brought about by the habit. Expenses also include cleaning thing around the smoker which get dirty either by the ash or nicotine tint in cigarettes. A study in America proved that an average smoker spends around $92000 in his life time on buying cigarettes. People around the world lose either their salary or investment by between 15%-30% as a result of smoking. The expenses also include lots of damages and fires brought about by careless disposal of cigarette butts. Cigarettes are a major cause of wild fires in my hometown, Texas in recent times. The smoking cost is much more than what meets the eye or what the addicts perceive to be using (WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2008, pp. 267–288).
Tobacco use causes death whether directly or indirectly to the user and the people around him/her causing an overall danger to the community. Death mostly occurs as a result of diseases brought about by smoking. Smoking causes many deaths, more than even HIV/AIDS, vehicle accidents and murders combined. For smokers, they have a risk of 2 to 4 times more of getting coronary heart disease as compared to non-smokers and the same ratio for causing stroke (WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2008, pp. 267–288). For lung cancer, male smokers increase their chances of contracting the disease by 23 times and 13 times in women. It also causes other effects in lesser proportions like infertility, still births and low birth weight.
Despite the adverse effects, addicts find it hard to quit tobacco and almost unable to carry out even the most basic activities without it. They always get the urge to use the small yet very harmful substance. Since it is sold in almost every store, you get into people are not clearly aware of the damages it can cause. Your mind plays tricks on you when you smoke and tells you that it is something that you have to have, just like illegal narcotics. People live without it and still lead a very normal life, and so the perception is only in the mind of the addicts. It is wise to seek help from counselors incase of addiction to avoiding adverse effects in future. Although people do not see it in the same light, tobacco and cigarette smoking is as harmful if not more than illegal narcotics.
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