Cancer Support Group

Wednesday, Apr 24th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

General Queries on Cancer

Tobacco FAQs
What is in cigarette smoke?
Cigarette smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer. Cigarette smoke is primarily comprised of a dozen gases (mainly carbon monoxide), nicotine and tar. Nicotine is the substance that reinforces and strengthens the desire to smoke. The tar in a cigarette, which varies from about 15 milligrams for a regular cigarette to 7 milligrams in a low–tar cigarette, exposes the user to the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. The carbon monoxide in the smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases.

What are the possible effects of smoking tobacco?
Nicotine produces effects on the mood as well as on the heart, lungs, stomach, neuro–transmitters, and sympathetic and para–sympathetic nervous systems. Short–term effects of nicotine in cigarette smoke include sweating, vomiting, and throat irritation. Over time, more serious conditions develop including increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

The effects of nicotine escalate bronchial and cardiovascular disorders – chronic bronchitis and emphysema are common diseases among cigarette smokers, and are 10 times more likely to occur in smokers than in non–smokers.

The most serious effects of smoking are lung cancer and stroke. Cancer of the esophagus, mouth, lips, and larynx are also associated with cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking. Cigarette smoking has been linked to about 90% of all lung cancer cases. Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of having a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), a stillborn or premature infant, or an infant with low birth weight. Women who smoke generally have earlier menopause. If women smoke cigarettes and also take oral contraceptives they are more prone to cardiovascular and cerebro–vascular diseases than other smokers, this is especially true for women over 30 years old.

What are the effects of smoking in young people?
Among young people, the short–term health effects of smoking include damage to the respiratory system, addiction to nicotine, and the associated risk of other drug use. Long–term health consequences of youth smoking are reinforced by the fact that most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood.

Smoking hurts young people’s physical fitness in terms of both performance and endurance even among young people trained in competitive running. Smoking among youth can hamper the rate of lung growth and the level of maximum lung function. The resting heart rates of young adult smokers are two to three beats per minute faster than those of non–smokers. Among young people, regular smoking is responsible for cough and increased frequency and severity of respiratory illnesses.

The younger people start smoking cigarettes, the more likely they are to become strongly addicted to nicotine. Teens who smoke are three times more likely than non–smokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex. Smoking is associated with poor overall health and a variety of short–term adverse health effects in young people and may also be a marker for underlying mental health problems, such as depression, among adolescents.

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