About ten million cigarettes are sold around the world on a daily basis. Facts like that make one wonder of the effects that come along with smoking cigarettes. Although cigarette consumption is a growing market around the world, its production and sale should be made illegal due to its addictive additives, the physical toll it take on one’s body and the growing use of e-cigarettes. Addiction is a condition that results in a recurring behavior of a pleasurable substance or activity that becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities.
The “pleasure center,” or the ventral tegmentum of the brain is affected causing a change of thought and behavior. The ventral tegmentum is located in the lower central portion of the brain (Henderson 33-34). This is where the brain produces a pleasurable sensation when stimulated and makes sure that the brain does not forget what that stimulation was so that it will be repeated in the future, in other words, called the limbic system (Henderson 33-34).
Nicotine is a dependence-producing drug which makes up eighty-eight percent of tobacco, containing at least twenty different pyridine alkaloids (Boyle 168). Addiction can cause conflicting problems with friends and family. Many people have a hard time making the decision to stop smoking, even those whose friends and family beg them to. For instance, a young lady named Simone took amputating a toe before taking the matter seriously. Cigarettes can become more of a problem for those who have children. In the United Kingdom, it was made illegal to smoke in a vehicle if a minor is present.
If the driver fails to follow the law themselves or does not prevent one from lighting up, they could be fined fifty pounds (about 75 dollars) (“UK law bans smoking”). Even though many know that cigarettes can be addictive, they are not aware of the physical toll that will be taken to their body. Those who have smoked for several years say that their respiratory system does not work as well as it used to. That is because their lung passage narrows from swelling and mucus buildup, reducing airflow. Not only do cigarettes result in respiratory problems but also can cause more severe diseases like cancer.
Cancer of the lung, oral cavity, and nasal sinus are few of the many types of cancer that cigarettes can cause. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women due to it being one of the hardest cancers to treat. There is another life changing problems that smoking can cause; the reduction of fertility, menstrual cycle irregularities, and for men, their sperm count and a higher percentage rate of deformed sperm. The physical appearance of one can change drastically when smoking over a large period of time.
The yellowing of the teeth and nails are only the beginning. A smoker’s skin can deceive their age by making them look up to ten years older than their actual age. Now, who wants to look older? The hot thing around the block these days are e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are a safer substitute and should help people stop smoking according to Lewis Dawkins, the head of drugs and addictive behaviors research group at the University of East London, UK (Cressey). But e-cigarettes is just that, a substitution for smoking which continues to feed the addiction.
E-cigarettes may replace cigarettes, but these devices may cause other health risks. Electronic cigarettes can result in a higher overall absorption of nicotine in a long period of time, polluting the lungs. When inhaling e-cigarettes, it releases particles in the lungs called nanoparticles that are linked to asthma, heart disease and diabetes (Raloff). There have been cases where someone’s lungs were drowning due to the water vapor inhaled by e-cigarettes. But in some instances it creates them. This new and “cool” device catches the eye of young and vulnerable.
The e-cigarette company, Blu, was advertised in Sports Illustrated magazine, which many are calling this an attempt to appeal their product to young boys (Tavernise). Some may argue that cigarettes have helped college students in different aspects. Many use smoking as a social tool in college to help them engage themselves in new atmospheres to meet new people. In 2012, it was found that forty-two percent of occasional college smokers smoked for stress relief, relaxation or for emotional regulation (Rosa, Aloise-Young, and Henry).
Although cigarettes are said to help college students with social and emotional aspects, smoking can cause more harm than good. Addiction can the cause of conflict in a family, the physical toll it takes on one’s body can be extremely harmful, and ecigarettes can make the addiction of cigarettes worse or even create one. Even with its growing market, cigarettes’ production and sale should be illegal worldwide. Now, instead of picking up your first or next cigarette, think of how valuable 11 minutes of your life is to you.