Smoking is one of the most serious problems the world has been struggling with. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has faced, and it kills more than 7 million people a year. Affecting both the person who smokes and the people around him, being exposed to second hand smoke can also lead to oral and lung cancer.
The repercussions of smoking are plenty and each is more alarming as the other. On World No Tobacco Day, we list out the five disgusting things that happen to your body when you smoke.
The nicotine hits your brain in no time, making you irritable and anxious
With the first puff one takes, the nicotine — the chemical that makes smoking so addictive — is absorbed by the body. Within approximately 10 seconds its hits the brain, and according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, it activates reward pathways. Nicotine increases levels of dopamine, causing temporary pleasurable effects. However, the effect dissipates equally and making one irritable, anxious and long for the next fix.
Smoking impairs the ability of your lungs to clean themselves
It is a well-known fact that our respiratory organ protects itself by a lining of mucus, that traps pollutants. Mucus does that with the help of hair-life projections called cilia that are constantly beating and removing debris from the lungs. “Smoking slows down the action of the cilia and severely affects the mucus cleaning system,” says Dr Sai Kiran Chaudhari, senior pulmonologist at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. As a result, bacteria and the pollutants remain in your lungs.
It constricts blood vessels and triggers strokes
Smoking leads to constriction of blood vessels and, thereby, increases blood pressure. Several doctors are of the opinion that smoking triggers several cardiovascular problems. “Smoking increases the chance of suffering from a stroke.” Chaudhari says.
Smoking affects your food pipe
Smoking affects your lungs as well as your food pipe, or the oesophagus. The chemicals and heat from the smoke affects the oesophageal sphincter muscle — the muscle responsible for keeping the contents and acids in your stomach.
It is putting the health of your loved ones at stake
The harmful effects of smoking are not limited only to the person who is involved in the act. The person who is exposed to second hand smoke also runs the risk, much like the smoker, of suffering from oral and lung cancer.