Effects of Smoking on the Body, Types of Smoking, Causes

Effects of Smoking on the Body has been a debate by many. Here are the effects of Smoking Cigarette, Shisha, Types of Smoking and what they cause.

Effects of Smoking on the Body

One of the greatest public health issues of our time is smoking. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, tobacco use is still the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

Cigarette smoking claims more than 480,000 American lives each year, that is, one of every five deaths, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke.

In 2015, the CDC reported that about 15 of every 100 adults smoked cigarettes, that is, 36.5 million people in the U.S. Cigarette smoking is responsible for millions of death across the globe every year.

Reported by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 1,300 people die because of cigarette smoking each day in the United States.

According to World Health Organization, tobacco claims more than 7 million lives each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of firsthand use of tobacco while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

The latter is called involuntary or passive smoking.

Non-smokers who breathe in smoke from the lighted end of a tobacco are categorized as passive smokers.

They passively partake in the act through a smoke polluted environment. Hence, they also take in nicotine and toxic chemicals the same way smokers do. The more a non-smoker is exposed to smoke, the higher the concentration of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) in his body.

Either actively or passively involved, smoking has similar definition and effects. What then is smoking? Smoking is the practice of breathing in and breathing out fumes from cigarettes, weeds, cigars, or pipes.

Since the most easily obtained and commonly practiced among all these is tobacco cigarette, my illustrations would be built around tobacco.

Effects of Smoking on the Human Body

Like any addictive substance, the human system easily gets used to nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in tobacco.

Nicotine is produced by different types of plants, including the tobacco plant. It is a nitrogen-containing chemical and it reaches the brain in just six seconds.

Nicotine remains the primary addictive chemical in tobacco. It provokes an increase in the production of dopamine, a reward-motivating hormone.

Dopamine stimulates the area of the brain associated with pleasure. Hence cigarettes, is extremely addictive. Eventually, most smokers continue smoking just to feel normal.

Cigarette companies maximize the addictive power of nicotine in selling their products. Nicotine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through tobacco use.

It is sent to the brain and then the smoker feels good as result of the release of dopamine. Of course, everyone wants to feel good but it shouldn’t be at the expense of our health.

Once a smoker is done smoking, dopamine level drops after a while and for him to have such good feeling again, he will need more sticks of cigarette.

Hence, his need for chain smoking persists – addiction. In large doses, nicotine is a depressant. It inhibits the flow of signals between nerve cells.

Smoking weakens the immune system. It weighs down the antibodies and cells that are in the body to guard against foreign invaders.

The chemicals in cigarette smoke are continuous source of affliction to body cells throughout the human system, and the immune system must continually work to fight off this unending affliction.

Eventually, immune system cannot keep up with all the damage caused by the smoke.

In return, the body becomes susceptible to severe infections since smokers have fewer antibodies.

More than 4,000 chemical substances are present in cigarette smoke, including 43 compounds that can cause cancer.

This includes carbon monoxide, which makes it hard for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Another harmful chemical substance in smoke is tar.

It is the mixture of substances that together form a sticky mass in the lungs.

According to Better Health Channel, smoking increases one’s risk of developing respiratory illness, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Most of the chemicals inhaled in cigarette smoke remain in the lungs. The more a smoker inhales, the better it feels, and the greater the damage it does to his lungs.

Cigarettes are hazardous to almost all the parts of the body, including the skin, the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, hearts, breasts, bladder, the nervous system and so on.

All these parts are subjected to diseases and ailments, the most of which are cancer, heart disease and lung disease.

Types of Smoking

Over time, people have been made to believe how and what they smoke determines the safety of their health.

Smoking, irrespective of what type it is, results in addiction, waste of resources, diseases, ailments and early death. Let’s consider few of the types of smoking:


A cigarette is made up of filter, tipping paper, cigarette paper and a tobacco filler.

The invisibly perforated filter is located at the holding end of the cigarette. It is meant to screen out tar and nicotine to make the cigarette safer.

The problem with filter is the perforations are often covered by the fingers clipping the cigarette to the lips or by the lips itself.

At the end of the day, nicotine and tar intake is not reduced.

Also, what makes cigarette addictive is the nicotine. Smokers will inhale the amount of smoke needed to get the nicotine their bodies want.

Hence, filters don’t really produce the proposed effect of less nicotine and tar.

The tipping paper, wrapped around the filter, contains tiny ventilation holes. The purpose of the holes is to dilute the toxic mix of chemicals inhaled through fresh air.

Largely, ventilation holes are less effective since the fingers or lips eventually block them.

Cigarette paper contains added chemicals, making cigarette burn slowly. It is located below the filter and tipping paper.

Also, within the cigarette paper is the tobacco leaves, stems, reprocessed pieces, and scraps. Once the tobacco filler is burned, hazardous chemicals are formed and inhaled into the body system.

In addition, manufacturers add flavor addictives to like menthol and sugar to make smoking palatable and acceptable.


Larger than cigarette, a cigar is made up of three specific parts. From inside out, the first is the tobacco itself, it fills the center. That’s the heart of the cigar. The second is a binder leaf which ensures the outer wrapper cleaves and it also ensures the cigar burns well.

Finally, there is the outer wrapper, which is rolled around the binder to complete the cigar.

The wrapper is the exposed part of a cigar. It’s what you see and that’s where the logo of the company is printed. In addition, the wrapper provides 30% to 60% of the cigar’s flavor.

These components make up the cigar and they enable users to smoke the tobacco easily. Like in tobacco cigarette, smoking cigar causes cancer of the lung, esophagus, mouth, larynx and pancreas.

Also, it is a risk factor to the heart. It raises blood pressure, constricts blood vessels and increases the heart beat, putting undue strain on the cardiovascular system.


A hookah is a single or multi-stemmed instrument for smoking tobacco that comes in different flavors, such as cappuccino, mint, cherry, chocolate and so on.

Sometimes, other than tobacco, hookahs are used for cannabis. In hookahs, vapor or smoke is passed through a glass-based chamber, housing water, before inhalation.

Although many users think it is less harmful, hookah smoking involves exposure to hazardous chemicals that are not filtered out by water.

Hookah smoking has many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking.


This is the oldest tradition practice of smoking. It is the practice of inhaling smoke produced by burning a substance, mostly tobacco, in a pipe.

Many users have the misconception that smoking poses almost no threat when compared smoking cigarette.

Like every other tobacco smoking, pipe increases health risk, such as cancer, lung and heart disease, circulatory problems… the problems just appear the same.


Why Do People Smoke?

Cigarette packages now carry warning labels, like “smokers are liable to die young.” The question remains why people, especially young people, still smoke.

The answer is not farfetched, nicotine. Tobacco contains a highly addictive substance called nicotine. It is the major reason why smokers get stuck in the act of smoking. Therefore, it’s better not to even start smoking.

Some other reasons include lack of education, and poverty. Smoking is prevalent in underdeveloped nations and among lowest income groups.

It’s has turned out to be an escape from financial and social stress, and that, at the detriment of their lives.

Smoking is simply a show of maturity in certain environments – social integration. Such mindset lures young people into taking smoking as a lifestyle.

It becomes a social habit. In other words, it’s a bonding activity that makes it easier for them to relate with their immediate environment.

Taking after a model, or a celebrity, is another factor. People easily take after what they mirror.

Sometimes, it means putting on same style of shoe, clothing. Other times, it means tobacco smoking. This is one reason young people give in to smoking. Other reasons are peer pressure, experimentation, mental illness and so on.

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