Smoking cigarettes is one of the most popular bad habits in the world. Those who are addicted to it keep saying that there is nothing wrong about smoking, whereas their opponents name a number of reasons why smoking is a negative practice. Taking into consideration the results of a large number of research studies, it may be concluded that smoking is rather a dangerous habit than merely something a person does for fun.
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The Reasons Why People Like to Smoke
The most frequent answer to the question of why people like to smoke is that it helps them to cope with stress and anxiety. In the case of teenagers or even children, smoking is a way of looking more mature and an attempt to be like everyone else.
Finally, young people like this bad habit because it is forbidden, and as everything prohibited, it arouses particular interest and desire to try. Apart from human factors, there are other causes of developing and exercising this habit.
The tobacco industry spends a lot of time and money to develop alluring adverts encouraging people to feel attracted to smoking because it is elegant and not dangerous at all (“Why people start smoking,” 2015). All of these issues have a great impact on people’s decisions to smoke. However, once started, the habit is too difficult to eradicate.
The Effects of Smoking on People’s Health
Despite the efforts of tobacco companies to prove that their products are safe for people’s health, there is much evidence of the opposite state of things.
Due to the nature of the smoking process, the greatest devastating impact is on the smokers’ lungs, leading to a chronic cough or much more serious conditions such as lung cancer (Jha & Peto, 2014).
The mortality rate among smokers is much bigger than among non-smokers, causing a reduction in the life span by nearly a decade (Jha & Peto, 2014). Therefore, smoking is much more serious than some people consider.
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Another damaging effect of smoking is associated with different types of cancer (Reynolds, 2012). Scientists have proved that smoking influences and damages not only lungs but also other vital organs, which is one of the causes of the development of cancer.
One more health effect of smoking is the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including such conditions as stroke and heart disease (Messner, & Bernhard, 2014). Because smoking weakens the artery lining, it causes the build-up of fatty material. As a result, the arteries become narrower, which may lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
No matter how much smoking deteriorates the smokers’ health, it is their own choice. However, there is a rather hazardous issue of secondhand smoke that impacts the health of non-smokers who live, work, or frequently communicate with smokers in some other ways (Avila-Tang et al., 2012).
Many research studies indicate the adverse effect of secondhand and even thirdhand smoke on non-smokers. This problem is of particular importance concerning children. Being exposed to secondhand smoke may lead to serious health complications that do not vary much from those threatening the smokers’ health.
Keeping Smoking while Knowing the Dangers
While health practitioners and scientists keep informing the public about the hazardous effects of smoking, people continue practicing this dangerous habit. The major reason why people keep smoking even while knowing about the dangers presented by it is that they are addicted to nicotine, the primary ingredient of cigarettes.
As well as any other addiction, it is rather hard to beat, and people become the prisoners of the situation. There are several most popular ways to quit, such as nicotine replacement therapy, medication, or behavioral therapy. The application of any of these measures should be combined with the support of family and friends since the craving for a cigarette is very high during the process of quitting.
One of the most popular beliefs is that electronic cigarettes are a great option for those who wish to quit smoking (Bullen et al., 2013; Callahan-Lyon, 2014). However, research indicates that there is a lot of danger in this substitute for cigarettes. Moreover, the benefits of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation have not been proved.
Benefits of Smoking Cessation
Quitting smoking may be lengthy and complicate the process, but its advantages cannot be overestimated. The following are the most common benefits of smoking cessation:
- decreased risk of cancer, especially lung cancer;
- lowered risk of stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease;
- reduced danger of developing lung diseases;
- decreased exposure to infertility in women;
- lowered risk of many respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or a cough (“Quitting smoking,” 2017).
Apart from these positive outcomes, quitting smoking has a good effect on the environment and people who used to be exposed to secondhand smoking.
Like any bad habit, smoking is easy to start and very difficult to quit. Researchers and healthcare practitioners all over the world are worried about the adverse impact of smoking both on those who have this addiction and people close to them.
In order to make our planet a healthier place, it is necessary to promote anti-smoking interventions and adverts. By spreading the information about the risks presented by smoking and the ways of quitting, it is possible to make people reconsider keeping this bad habit.
Avila-Tang, E., Al-Delaimy, W. K., Ashley, D. L., Benowitz, N., Bernert, J. T., Kim, S., … Hecht, S. S. (2012). Assessing secondhand smoke using biological markers. Tobacco Control, 22(3), 164-171.
Bullen, C., Howe, C., Laugesen, M., McRobbie, H., Parag, V., Williman, J., & Walker, N. (2013). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: A randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 382(9905), 1629-1637.
Callahan-Lyon, P. (2014). Electronic cigarettes: Human health effects. Tobacco Control, 23(suppl2), ii36-ii40.
Jha, P., & Peto, R. (2014). Global effects of smoking, of quitting, and of taxing tobacco. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(1), 60-68.
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Messner, B., & Bernhard, D. (2014). Smoking and cardiovascular disease: Mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction and early atherogenesis. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 34(3), 509-515.
Quitting smoking. (2017). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reynolds, P. (2012). Smoking and breast cancer. Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, 18(1), 15-23.
Why people start smoking and why it’s hard to stop. (2015). American Cancer Society.