Tag Archives: smoking and carbon monoxide

Cigarettes Broken up

Need More Reasons to Stop Smoking?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), lung cancer accounts for about 30% of cancer deaths per year in the United States. The majority of lung cancer cases result from smoking.

Men who smoke are 23% more likely than male nonsmokers to develop lung cancer, and women smokers are 13% more likely than female nonsmokers to develop lung cancer. More than half of lung cancer cases are in former smokers, and 15% are in those who have never smoked.

Smoking also leads to cardiovascular disease, which remains the number one killer in the United States. Diseases associated with smoking include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart failure, high blood pressure, and even stroke.

Carbon Monoxide & Nicotine

Cigarettes Broken upSmoking increases the level of carbon monoxide in the blood. Increased carbon monoxide levels in the blood slows transportation of oxygen throughout the body by 5 to 15%. Low levels of oxygen through the body leads to heart disease.

Nicotine is an alkaloid that works upon the brain’s nerve centers that regulate the heart and breathing functions. Causing the small blood vessels to constrict, this lessens the vessels elasticity, increase heart problems, and increases blood vessel disease.


Constant smoking results in a build up of carcinogens, the cancer producing agents found in tar and tobacco smoke. Carcinogens are deposited in the bronchial tubes that lead to the lungs. From the bronchial tubes, the carcinogens move into the air tubes of the lungs where the cells are attacked and mutated into cancerous cells: lung cancer.

The Effects of Smoking on Your Health, Wallet & Family

The Surgeon General notes smoking-related deaths to be the most preventable cause of death in the United States.

One in four Americans smoke cigarettes, and each year, over 400,000 people die from smoking-related diseases.

The habit of smoking also leads to tremendous financial and interpersonal relationship strains.

What Smoking Does to Your Health

Each puff of cigarette draws over 4,000 chemicals into the lungs and through the body. Continuous exposure to smoke and these chemicals leads to cellular changes in the body’s tissue, eventually causing cancers such as throat and lung cancer.

Smokers’ hearts beat an extra 20 to 25 times per minutes, increasing the risk of heart attack. There is also a 15% higher chance of a smoker having a deadly stroke or heart attack than a non-smoker.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, a lethal substance that decreases oxygen levels in the skin, brain, and other organs. The results are a reduced ability to comprehend, an increase in wrinkly-greyed skin, and a significant reduction in energy.

Smoking increase the body’s mucous production, which then increases the chances of bacteria and viruses to multiply. This leads to a smoker experiencing more colds, flus, and cases of bronchitis than non-smokers. Additionally, smoking affects the white blood cells’ functions, leaving smokers with a harder time fighting illness.

What Smoking Does to Your Wallet

All smokers are fully aware of the price of cigarettes when they purchase each pack. But if the price of each pack of cigarettes purchased over a span of 15 years for a smoker with a half-pack a day habit, the sum would total over $16,000.

In addition to the daily cost of this addiction, smokers pay more for health insurance due to the increased health consequences.

What Smoking Does to Your Family

Smoking has dire effects on family members: spouses of smokers are 20% more likely to contract lung disease due to the presence of second hand smoke. The exposure to second hand smoke also causes illness and death in children.

Families also endure extreme emotional trauma when a loved one becomes ill or dies because of smoking-related diseases.

The Real Cost of Smoking

The War Against Tobacco

One of the most dangerous diseases we should worry about is cancer.

However, many people do not believe they could suffer from a cancerous disease, hinging their argument on the fact that certainly, one thing or the other would definitely be responsible for a man’s death.

However, the truth is that several diseases, like cancer, are precipitated by men’s behaviour, their attitude to health issues, the type of food they eat and certain things or habit they are addicted to.

For instance, millions of people all over the world are heavy smokers and alcoholics, despite the billions of naira being spent on public advertisement to warn people of the inherent or potential danger of smoking tobacco? Are you also aware that despite the increasing prevalence of skin cancers among men, some still prefer to spend their last kobo on a stick of cigarette even if they lack enough cash to buy food that will nourish their body system. That is the kind of life an addicted smoker is used to.

According to medical submissions, several thousands of people today are heavy or “chain” smokers, not by choice, but because they have found no way of escape. Such people are caught in the grip of a habit developed during their teenage years when so many young people think or believe it is “smart” to smoke. Some others believe that one of the ways to display his “arrival” as a“big boy” as opposed to his other school mates is to be smoking.

According to Drs. Kayode Ajala, Seun Akinyemi, Dupe Ojo, Adebowale Elemide, and other medical experts who spoke with Saturday Tribune, smoking is not only hazardous to health, it can also be hazardous to your job prospects as well, as twice as many smokers are said to be out of work compared to non-smokers. Although a few people will accept this fact, documented report globally shows that cancer of the lung is becoming very widespread today and it is increasing more rapidly than any other type of cancer —thanks to the increasing use of tobacco.

According to the medical doctors, the primary cancer of the lung, also known as bronchogenic carcinoma often begins within the lung or one of the bronchial tubes. Though the global war against the use of tobacco or smoking of cigarette is yielding some positive results, especially in the areas of public education and enlightenment, nonetheless, many tobacco users, including women, are still falling into the trap of lung cancer and other associated diseases.

The major problem is that many of them are not usually aware of the potential dangers of smoking, but by the time they are aware of their deteriorating health or true condition of things, the disease from tobacco may have already progressed far beyond the earlier stages. This is what makes lung cancer dangerous and difficult to treat.

Medical reports also say that at present, one heavy cigarette smoker out of every ten will die of lung cancer. The Federal Government of Nigeria realised and appreciated this fact and initiated many programmes of national interest like “Say No To Tobacco Smoking”,” ban on smoking in public places”, “No smoking in government offices and parastatals” and many other programmes to discourage the use of tobacco, but all these have yielded little result as smoking in public places is still one of the most common things in the country.

Globally, every year, the country joins the rest of the world in marking the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ and it is usually a celebrated day in developing nations like Nigeria, but the big question is: “Why are we still having many tobacco or cigarette producing companies in the country, if actually we want to achieve a positive result in our battle against cigarette smoking?”It is also a thing of concern and high display of irony to see that those at the helms of affairs of this country, collaborating with the rest of the world, attending global meetings and seminars where the issue of war against tobacco smoking are being discussed and signatories to many international treaties on the battle against cigarette smoking, come back to the country, encouraging tobacco companies to flourish. Many of the government officials who are always the arrow heads of the ban on the use of tobacco or cigarette smoking in public places are often seen burning cigarette sticks in their various offices.

quit smoking posterAnother big question we need to ask is: why should we worry about smoking? For several reasons. For instance, every stick of cigarette smoked takes away 13 minutes from one’s lifespan. If tobacco causes 128,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States of America — a country regarded as the father of all nations, even in terms of medical facilities and modern equipment, what would the situation be like in Nigeria, a country regarded as the giant of Africa and the most populous black nation in the world which has been battling with malaria for years, yet without success.

For instance, Nigeria is said to record the highest number of morbidity and mortality of under-age (five) children in the world. The country is also number one in terms of maternal mortality in the world. Therefore, if we have been unable to fight mosquitoes that cause malaria for years without success, one wonders if we would be able to fight lung cancer and other health problems caused by the dangerous chemical in tobacco known as nicotine —one of the most potent substances known to man.

Nicotine which is present in tobacco is also a dangerous poison that triggers cancer and it is second only to cyanides in its destructive effect on the human body. Actually, there are eighteen different poisons in a cigarette. Some of these attack the delicate membranes of the windpipes. Others enter the blood stream and interfere with its normal circulation throughout the body. But the two most deadly poisons in cigarette are the tar, a carcinogenic or cancer-producing substance, and necotine.

Other bad news for cigarette smokers are that they are more susceptible (open) to cancer of the mouth, larynx, oesophagous, pancreas, bladder, kidneys and cervix than non-smokers.

Smokers are also liable to emphysems, which kill(s) by slow suffocation, ulcer of the duodenum and stomach. Smoking pulls calcium out of the skeleton, thus accelerating the bone thinning process known as osteoporosis.

Not only that, “Smoker’s cough” is one of the rewards of cigarette smoking. Inflammation of the throat is too common in all heavy smokers. Nicotine in cigarette/tobacco also constricts small arteries supplying blood to the heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs and important areas depriving them of vital oxygen. Nicotine produces a sense of relaxation and well-being —which is called smoking’s main appeal. This is a deceptive relaxation that allows the cells of the body to continue to enjoy nicotine destruction and that is why nicotine is often referred to as addictive drug.

Carbon monoxide which smoking generates interferes directly with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. This causes shortness of breath, lack of endurance, and acceleration of a therosderosis (narrowing and hardening of arteries) which may later trigger cardiovascular disease and later stroke.

Moreover, many smokers cannot actually state the reasons (why) they smoke; some give different excuses or reasons but the strange thing is that most of these people never wanted to smoke in the first place. They were only doing what they felt/thought everyone else was doing at that time. But the truth is that smoking is not a normal habit, a person has to learn to smoke, just like any vocational job.

Furthermore, there are pay offs to quitting cigarette smoking. The advantages/benefits are numerous. For example, there is a sense of victory, increased self-esteem, pleasant breath, better fasting food, increased endurance, improved health and energy, a feeling of well-being and freedom from an inconvenient, unpopular, costly habit.

If every second, a smoker will die from some diseases directly connected to cigarette smoking, and smokers will always lose an average of 8.3 years from their normal life expectancy, so why won’t smokers run away from the stick of death?

In the world today, the campaign against tobacco smoking has risen to a global height. The campaign which became intense about two decades ago has assumed a vigorous dimension in the West.

Over the years, this situation has made business sour for manufacturers of tobacco products, particularly cigarettes, which are most largely consumed in this part of the world.
Severe litigations in the West have made their operations there expensive and unpopular, thereby provoking a shift in production and marketing of the product to the developing countries, notably Africa. One Dr. Yach in a journal, Africa Recovery, United Nations, observed, “Whereas taxes amount to two-thirds or more of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes in high-income countries, by contrast they amount to no more of the retail price in poorer countries.” Of greater concern, he says, “is that between 1990 and 2000, cigarette prices in many African countries declined in real terms. In Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya and Nigeria, a pack of 20 cigarettes is no more than 25% cheaper than it was in 1990.”

While the West is known to have very stringent legislation against the production and consumption of tobacco products, the situation then was different in many third world countries, especially Africa where they firmly pitched their tent doing business with little or no constraint from government and regulatory bodies.

In the case of Nigeria, the body saddled with the responsibility of regulating the production, trade and consumption of the product, the Federal Ministry of Health, had until recent years only been toying with restrictions. Efforts at curbing the consumption of this product started some 15 years ago with the placement of warning for consumers, inscribed on the packages of the product and promoted on the radio and television stations nationwide.

Nevertheless, many Nigerians were quick to dismiss these warning notices which over time stiffened, notably from “The Federal Ministry of Health Warns that Tobacco Smoking is Dangerous to Health” to “The Federal Ministry of Health Warns that Tobacco Smokers Are Liable to Die Young,” as a child’s play due to the seemingly little impact on the consumers. Besides, the warnings, when graphically relayed on the product packages and billboards, were very thinly scripted that the words were usually missed out. This, many believed, was a calculated attempt by the manufacturers to sink the message or warning into obscurity.

This, however, at that time, did not dissuade the manufacturers from continuing to ply their trade and making a fortune from it. They even went ahead to devise various means of strengthening their foothold in the Nigerian market through aggressive and glamorous advertisements and by doling out huge sums of money for sponsorship of musical shows and fiestas and other entertainments in the country. The days of the tobacco brand, Benson and Hedges-sponsored annual musical shows with the glitterati, pomp and pageantry that characterized it and the thrills that diffused from the melodious advert jingles of Rothmans cigarettes adapted from Seal’s hit track are still very much impressed on the minds of many Nigerians.

Interestingly today, they are now a thing of the past. Therefore what dimension has this campaign taken in the country today?
Obviously, the story today in Nigeria is different. With sterner or more severe restrictions mounted against the advertisement of cigarettes and the sponsorship of programmes, events, and festivities, the product is fast getting out of public view, becoming unpopular and sinking into oblivion.

Sometime in January, 2008, the Nigerian government announced its intention to ban smoking in public places in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on the heels of a massive law suit filed against tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.

Government ministries in Abuja have also mapped out plan to issue new health regulations controlling tobacco products and prevent tobacco companies from entering the market in the future.

In a statement made at the launch of a new NGO-government collaboration, the Coalition Against Tobacco (COA), the minister for the FCT, Dr. Aliyu Moddibo Umar, said:

“By June, we are going to outlaw smoking in public buildings in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).” Hopefully, this will be the first step towards placing in the next couple of years, a total ban on smoking in the FCT.”

Coupled with this, former Health Minister, Professor Adenike Grange, and the Head of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Dora Akuniyili, promised stricter regulations and an eventual end to the sale of all tobacco products across the country.

COA is just one of several NGOs hoping to reduce the production and sales of cigarettes The definition of public places includes public offices, parks, lounges in the lift, an arena and many other places that bring people together. Abuja is being used as a launch pad for this campaign as Nigerians wait impatiently for the ban to take effect.

However, this decision has generated mixed reactions from residents of the city and other concerned Nigerians. While some greeted it as a step in the right direction, others have condemned it as a gross violation of the individual’s right or freedom, amounting to killing a fly with a sledge hammer.

Source: Seye Adeniyi and Lawrence Amaku, Nigerian Tribune

How Long After You Quit Smoking Does Healing Begin?

Healing from the effects of smoking is possible, but it does take time.

The following is a guideline to give you an idea how your immune system kicks in to clear the effects of smoking from your system and promote healing.

We know it is wise to give your system additional nutritional support when smoking, but don’t forget that after you quit you want to support your body with nutrition to help support physical healing.

Effects of Quitting Smoking – After Eight Hours

  • Carbon monoxide in your body drops.
  • Oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.

Two days After Quitting Smoking

  • Your sense of smell and taste will improve.
  • You will enjoy the taste of your food more.
  • Your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

After Three of Four Days

  • Bronchial tubes relax.
  • Your lung capacity will have increased.
  • Breathing becomes easier.

After Two Weeks of Not Smoking

  • Blood flow improves; nicotine has passed from your body.

Two Weeks to Three Months After Quitting

  • Circulation improves.
  • Walking and running are easier.
  • Lung functioning increases up to 30%.

Six to Nine Months After Stopping Smoking

  • You’ll experience less coughing
  • Less sinus congestion
  • More energy (less tiredness and shortness of breath).

One Year – Happy Anniversary! Mark Your Calendar

  • Your risk of heart disease will be about half of what it would have been if you continued to smoke!

Five Years After Stopping Smoking

  • Your risk of stroke will be substantially reduced and you have a lot to look forward to. You are well into your recovery from the effects of tobacco addiction.
  • Within 5 to 15 years after quitting, it becomes about the same as a non-smokers.

After Ten Years Free From Addiction

  • Your risk of dying from lung cancer will be about half of what it would have been if you had continued to smoke.
  • Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas will also decrease.

After Fifteen Years – Congratulations

  • Your risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a person who never smoked.

Yes, it does take time, but where will you be in fifteen years if you don’t stop smoking now? You may be one of the lucky ones like George Burns, but what are the odds of that?

Smoking Effects on Your Body

There are over 60 known cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke.

While nicotine itself isn’t thought to be carcinogenic, the highly addictive drug is toxic and potentially lethal in large doses

Apart from its use in tobacco products, nicotine is a scheduled poison under the Therapeutic Goods Act.

Along with nicotine, smokers also inhale about 4,000 other chemicals. Many of these compounds are chemically active and trigger profound and damaging changes in the body.

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causing many diseases and reducing health in general.

Picture of Lungs

Tobacco smoke contains dangerous chemicals. The most damaging compounds in tobacco smoke include:

Tar: This is the collective term for all the various particles suspended in tobacco smoke. The particles contain chemicals including several cancer-causing substances. Tar is sticky and brown and stains teeth, fingernails and lung tissue. Tar contains the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene that is known to trigger tumor development (cancer).

Carbon monoxide: This odorless gas is fatal in large doses because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood. Each red blood cell contains a complicated protein called haemoglobin; oxygen molecules are transported around the body by binding to, or hanging onto, this protein.

However, carbon monoxide has a greater affinity than oxygen for binding to haemoglobin. This means that the heart of a smoker has to work much harder to get enough oxygen to the brain, heart, muscles and other organs.

Hydrogen cyanide: The lungs contain tiny hairs (cilia) that help to clean the lungs by moving foreign substances out. Hydrogen cyanide stops this lung clearance system from working properly, which means the poisonous chemicals in tobacco smoke can build up inside the lungs.

Other chemicals in smoke that damage the lungs include hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides, organic acids, phenols and oxidizing agents.

Free radicals: These highly reactive chemicals can damage the heart muscles and blood vessels. They react with cholesterol, leading to the build up of fatty material on artery walls. Their actions lead to heart disease, stroke and blood vessel disease.

Metals: Tobacco smoke contains dangerous metals including arsenic, cadmium and lead. Several of these metals are carcinogenic.

Radioactive compounds: Tobacco smoke contains radioactive compounds, which are known to be carcinogenic.

Effects of Smoking Tobacco on Body Systems

Smoking and the Respiratory system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the respiratory system include:

  • Irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box).
  • Reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages.
  • Impairment of the lungs’ clearance system, leading to the build up of poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage.
  • Increased risk of lung infection and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.
  • Permanent damage to the air sacs of the lungs.

Smoking Effects on the Circulatory system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the circulatory system include:

  • Raised blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Constriction (tightening) of blood vessels in the skin, resulting in a drop in skin temperature.
  • Less oxygen carried by the blood.
  • Stickier blood, which is more prone to clotting.
  • Damage to the lining of the arteries, which is thought to be a contributing factor to atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls).
  • Reduced blood flow to extremities like fingers and toes.
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack due to blockages of the blood supply.

Cigarettes Effect on the Immune System

The effects of tobacco smoke on the immune system include:

  • The immune system doesn’t work as well and is supressed.
  • The immune system can not keep up with attempting to detox your system while tending other priorities
  • The person is more prone to infections.
  • It takes longer to get over an illness.

Smoking and the Musculoskeletal System

The effects of tobacco smoke on the musculoskeletal system include:

  • Tightening of certain muscles.
  • Reduced bone density.

Other Effects of Smoking on the Body

Other effects of tobacco smoke on the body include:

  • Irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
  • Increased risk of painful ulcers along the digestive tract.
  • Reduced ability to smell and taste.
  • Premature wrinkling of the skin.
  • Higher risk of blindness.
  • Gum disease.

Effects of Tobacco on Men Smokers

The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the male body include:

  • Lower sperm count.
  • Higher percentage of deformed sperm.
  • Reduced sperm mobility.
  • Changed levels of male sex hormones.
  • Impotence, which may be due to the effects of smoking on blood flow and damage to the blood vessels of the penis.

Smoking Effects on Women’s Body

The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the female body include:

  • Reduced fertility.
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities or absence of menstruation.
  • Menopause reached one or two years earlier.
  • Increased risk of cancer of the cervix.
  • Greatly increased risk of stroke and heart attack if the smoker is aged over 35 years and taking the oral contraceptive pill.

Smoking Effects on the Fetus

The effects of maternal smoking on an unborn baby include:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
  • Low birth weight, which may have a lasting effect of the growth and development of children. Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk for early puberty, and in adulthood is an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Increased risk of cleft palate and cleft lip.
  • Paternal smoking can also harm the fetus if the non-smoking mother is exposed to passive smoking.
  • If the mother continues to smoke during her baby’s first year of life, the child has an increased risk of ear infections, respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, croup and bronchitis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and meningococcal disease.

Diseases Caused by Long Term Smoking

A lifetime smoker is at high risk of developing a range of potentially lethal diseases, including:

  • Cancer of the lung, mouth, nose, voice box, lip, tongue, nasal sinus, oesophagus, throat, pancreas, bone marrow (myeloid leukaemia), kidney, cervix, ureter, liver, bladder and stomach.
  • Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Coronary artery disease, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
  • Ulcers of the digestive system.
  • Osteoporosis and hip fracture.
  • Poor blood circulation in feet and hands, which can lead to pain, and in severe cases gangrene and amputation.

Source: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au