The Graves of Tabacco
Cigarette smoking is a major factor in diseases that affect the heart, the circulatory system, and the lungs.
The use of tobacco has changed over the years. Pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and snuff have been in fashion at different times in history. The most common method of subjecting the body to the effects of tobacco is to inhale the smoke from burning cigarettes, cigars, or pipe mixtures. A person can experience the effects of tobacco by using smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff). The leaves of the tobacco plant are dried and crumbled. The crumbled tobacco is used in pipes, cigars, and cigarettes, which are smoked. Snuff is tobacco ground into a fine powder that is inhaled through the nostrils or held against the gums. Chewing tobacco is made of poor-quality leaves mixed with honey or molasses. It is chewed, and then the leaves and juices are spat out.
People have started to smoke for different reasons. Sometimes they are urged to do so by friends. Sometimes they wish to appear more grown up, at ease, or attractive. The more the person smokes or uses tobacco in any form the harder it is to stop. Smokers give many reasons for their habit. Some claim smoking reduces tension and pressure and allows them to relax. Others smoke to reduce feelings of hunger to aid in weight control. Some people say it gives them something to do with their hands. Many say they have a desire for the smell and taste of smoke. Smoking is a momentary escape from tension and a way to delay facing immediate problems. Some people believe that although cigarette smoking affects other people, it will not affect them.
Nearly 4,000 substances have been identified in tobacco smoke; among them are 43 chemicals labeled as carcinogenic (capable of producing cancer), a potentially lethal gas (carbon monoxide), and an addictive psychoactive drug (nicotine). When inhaling, the smoker draws a combination of hot gases and particles into the lungs, where harmful substances are absorbed into the bloodstream. Individuals who smoke but who do not inhale, or who use smokeless tobacco, absorb dangerous ingredients into the bloodstream via the mucous lining of the mouth or the digestive system. It is not surprising that a multitude of illnesses and causes of premature death are linked to smoking, including cancer, heart and respiratory diseases.
There is a relationship between tobacco use and cardiovascular disease as proven by intensive research for several decades. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attack. Nicotine increases the heart rate, which, in turn, raises the blood pressure and causes narrowing of the coronary arteries. Nearly a third of all cardiovascular disease can be linked to smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cerebrovascular disease (stroke), the third leading cause of death in the United States. Smoking contributes to thousands of deaths from heart disease each year.