The world health organization (WHO) groups smoking as a major cause of death and illness in the world (Golden, 2010). The organization’s statistics show that thousands of people die every day due to the effects of smoking, which increases the risk of developing certain health conditions that are either fatal or that causes damage to one’s health. There are two types of smokers namely primary and secondary smokers (Brannon & Feist, 2009).
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Primary smokers are people who smoke directly while secondary smokers are people who inhale smoke released by other smokers. People should refrain from smoking because it has severe health effects that include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovacsular disease, emphysema, pneumonia, and chronic bronchitis.
Smoking damages the heart and therefore interferes with proper blood circulation in the body (Sloan, 2004). Poor circulation exposes individuals to the risk of developing conditions such a heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke, cerebrovacsular disease, and peripheral vascular disease (Golden, 2010). Smoke contains carbon monoxide that alters the functioning of the heart by making it work faster and harder thus increasing the risk of blood clotting (Brannon & Feist, 2009).
It also contains dangerous chemicals that cause damage to coronary arteries. Smokers are at high risk of developing heart disease when compared to non-smokers. Cessation of smoking results in positive health outcomes and improved financial situation. Smokers can save a lot of money if they discontinue smoking. For instance, individuals who consume a pack of cigarettes a day can save about $6,900 annually if they stopped smoking.
According to the WHO, smoking is responsible for many types of cancers. These include mouth, throat, bladder, liver, kidney, stomach, pancreas, and esophagus cancer (Sovic, 2001). Smoking encourages reflux due to the weakening of muscles that control the posterior end of the esophagus and makes the skin look grey and dull by limiting the flow of blood to the vital organ. In addition, it also causes premature aging and prologs the symptoms of conditions such as asthma and common cold (Sovic, 2001). Smoking causes bad oral health outcomes such as awful breath, stained teeth, and gum disease (Crawford, 2009). The most dangerous effect is the increased risk of developing mouth, throat, and voice box cancer. Statistics reveal that the largest percentage of all throat cancers results from smoking.
Smoking has severe consequences on male and female fertility. In males, it reduces fertility by affecting the sperm count, causing testicular cancer, and lowering the flow of blood to the male reproductive organ (Golden, 2010). In severe cases, it causes impotence. In women, it reduces infertility and thus increases the period taken to conceive. In addition, it increases the risk of developing cervical cancer (Sloan, 2004).
Among pregnant women, it causes miscarriages, still births, and premature births that can be fatal (Crawford, 2009). Secondary smokers are also at risk of developing similar health conditions that primary smokers develop. The vulnerability of children is higher than that of adults because of their weak immune systems. Children who are exposed to smoke face high risks of developing respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome (Golden, 2010). It is the responsibility of mothers to protect their children from the effects of secondhand smoke.
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In conclusion, smoking is a harmful habit that has severe health implications, which are similar for both primary smokers and secondary smokers. Smoking is harmful because it reduces infertility, exposes people to the risk of different types of cancers, worsens the symptoms of conditions such as asthma and common cold, causes still births and miscarriages in pregnant women, and increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Cessation of smoking is important because it is associated with positive health outcomes.
Brannon, L, & Feist, J. (2009). Health Psychology: An Introduction to Behavior and Health. New York: Cengage Learning.
Crawford, M. L. (2009). Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit. New York: Dillon & Parker Publishing.
Golden, R. N. (2010). The Truth about Smoking. New York: Infobase Publishing.
Sovic, P. (2001). Smoking: Risk, Perception, and Policy. New York: SAGE Publications.
Sloan, F. A. (2004). The Price of Smoking. New York: MIT Press.