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It is a common knowledge that smoking is harmful to one’s health. This habit has been associated with dangerous lung problems such as cancer, meaning that it is not wise to smoke. In addition, smoking annoys people around the person who smokes. Secondary smoke that emanates from a smoker may affect the secondary inhaler in equal measures or even more just as it affects the smoker. People smoke different substances like tobacco or even bhang, with the aim of enjoying what the chemical substances bring to the body. Therefore, smoking is a form of drug use, and when done inappropriately, it can be termed as drug abuse. This essay seeks to highlight a number of issues surrounding the problem of smoking. Issues evaluated are the side effects, reasons for smoking and possible solutions to the problem of smoking.
Why People Smoke
Many smokers have been quoted saying that they smoke because they enjoy smoking. However, this is not true. However, such reason is misleading. This is because the only reason why these people smoke is that they do not enjoy stopping to smoke. This means that smoking is addictive and the affected people cannot do without it. Cigarette contains a chemical substance called nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Smokers usually have difficulties in trying to maintain lower levels of nicotine. In case an individual tries to maintain a low nicotine levels, he or she experiences drug withdrawal, leading to bouquets of anxiousness, irritability, tension and even physical manifestations where the drops in nicotine levels are extreme. This means that the smoker is usually in a constant battle to keep the nicotine levels constant in the blood serum (liquid part of the blood).
Smoking is also associated with the people’s desire to show rebellion, defiance or protest to authority. This is driven by the desire to feel superior to the existing authority. This reason is usually associated with the youth or young people who would like to show off their independence and that they are grown-ups (Zamora, 2005). Other personal reasons include losing weight, attraction by advertisements, calming nerves and as an air freshener, especially when in the toilet. Addicts of smoking cite this reason more compared to ordinary smokers.
As much as a smoker tries to maintain the levels of nicotine, he or she faces another challenge of maintaining the nicotine levels within certain thresholds. Therefore, a smoker risks suffering from varying degrees of nicotine poisoning. According to Spitzer (2003), many smokers attest to this experience whereby they develop some physical signs. For instance, smokers who exceed their normal nicotine levels experience nausea, dizziness and a general feeling of sickness. Therefore, a smoker, especially one using cigarettes faces a daunting task of maintaining the two extremes. That is ensuring that the minimum and the maximum thresholds are maintained. This is because he or she cannot stop smoking due to addiction. In other words, addiction is a principal reason why people smoke.
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Arrogance is another reason why people smoke (Spitzer, 2003). Most smokers have arguably preferred smoking because they do not care what happens to them or the effects smoking will bring. In other words, this category of cigarette smokers are self destructive, in the sense that they do not find any issues with the risks associated with smoking. Arrogance is also caused by some emotional problems, which may lead to smoking. This implies that an individual may resort to smoking in order to avoid some stressing experience. This is based on the fact that nicotine is a highly active chemical that makes smokers feel elated. This can also be compared to drinking of alcohol whereby it is assumed that people forget their problems when drunk. Such arguments are also used to justify the smoking behavior. Most patients of smoke related illnesses assert that they did not care about their own health as long as they enjoyed smoking. This group of patients realizes this only when they are diagnosed with a condition due to their smoking behavior. Therefore, arrogance is also a leading reason why people smoke.
Studies show that a large number of smokers attempted smoking when they were under the age of twelve. This was due to peer pressure, mostly at school. Adolescents are the most vulnerable to peer pressure when it comes to smoking, especially cigarettes. This is because it is difficult for young people at these ages to fit into a peer group that has different habits. According to Gorman (2008), adolescents are pushed by the need to fit in a certain group with smoking habits. Although this problem is not persistent in adulthood, it is difficult to stop smoking at an advanced age. This means that an adult may be capable of making independent sound judgments on smoking. However, he or she cannot quit due to addiction.
Side Effects of Smoking
It is reported that more than half of cancer related deaths in the United States are caused by smoking. Since the first report on smoking by surgeons in 1964, over 12 million deaths related to smoking have occurred all over the world. For instance, about 440,000 people die in the United States every year due to cigarette smoking related illnesses. Smoking is a leading cause of different diseases because nicotine contains 60 known cancer-causing chemicals known as carcinogens (2005). This is the reason why many people have lost their lives to smoking of cigarettes courtesy of cancer. Studies have shown that cigarette smokers die ten years earlier compared to non-smokers.
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Smoking of cigarettes also causes coronary, heart and lungs problems mainly in the form of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). This is usually in the form of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. A medical report in 2004 revealed that smoking, especially of cigarettes causes diseases in virtually every organ of the body. This is another indication that smoking cigarettes guarantees one illness at least in his of her lifetime. Shockingly, smoking was found to increase the risk factor in diseases such as cataracts, leukemia, pneumonia and cancer of the cervix, pancreas, stomach and kidneys (Zamora, 2005).
Apart from health related side effects, smoking of cigarettes causes wrinkles and at the same time, accelerates aging. This follows an interruption of the normal skin structures by chemicals found in tobacco. These chemicals induce narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the outer layer of the skin thus depleting oxygen to the areas. The resultant effect is a sagging skin as characterized by an accelerated process of aging (Zamora, 2005).
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Solving the Problem of smoking
Solutions to smoking are derived from different program that focus on helping a patient to focus on withdrawal from nicotine use. According to Maisto, Galizio and Connors (2010, p. 162), cessation approaches can be initiated from two different directions. The first one involves the use of behavioral programs that aim at helping smokers to identify risk behavior that makes them smoke. When going through such programs, the victims are taught different techniques to apply in order to weaken the risk factors that promote the habit of smoking. In other words, smokers are taught how to compete effectively with smoking and adapt a culture of self-monitoring. The second approach is based on therapies commonly known as nicotine replacements (NRTs) (162). Irrespective of the treatment method applied, the ultimate goal is usually to help addicts to gain total abstinence status from smoking.
Behavioral treatment has been proven clinically to be extremely effective in helping smokers quit their unhealthy behavior. These programs have been used traditionally whereby a victim meets a professional who advises of what to do in order to quit smoking. Professionals in this field have always insisted on the need to have a direct contact with the affected individuals (Maisto, Galizio and Connors, 2010, p. 162). For instance, they may prefer using telephone calls or computer programs in keeping contact with the addicts.
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Nicotine replacement therapies are another alternative used in solving the problem of smoking. These procedures are usually medical by nature. Health care specialists use Nicotine as a means to help addicts to stop smoking. These procedures involve administering of nicotine to the addicts in a controlled way to stop them from craving of the same due to abstinence (Maisto, Galizio and Connors, 2010, p. 163). This method may work better than the behavioral one because it is progressive, meaning that an addict does not suffer any pressure from low nicotine levels. Studies have shown that individuals who complete behavioral programs have a high probability of resuming smoking after six to twelve months (163). This is when they are compared to those who used nicotine replacement therapies. Although the effectiveness of this approach is under intensive medical research, it has proven reliable over time. When nicotine is administered in controlled doses, an addict can be assisted in cutting down its use progressively, and eventually does away with the whole thing of addiction and thus smoking.
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Smokers have the ability to stop smoking regardless of the period when they have been smoking. However, Dawley (1987, p. 20) posits that it can be extraordinarily difficult for many people to stop or quit smoking. However, the best approach to solving this problem is by preparing both physically and psychologically. This means that a victim should be prepared in advance in order to anticipate and overcome the challenges that may appear along the way. Dawley proposes a simple personal commitment that binds one physically and psychologically to stop or quit smoking. This program involves first developing personal faith in the ability to stop smoking. This is because a problem can be solved only after an individual has believed that he or she is able to solve a problem. Then one can set smoke-free time, which is a form of cutting down smoking hours progressively (21). Sticking to such problems is also crucial in adapting the new way of living. Personal commitment is particularly effective in solving smoking problems because solutions arrive only when they emanate from within a person, which is psychological.
Smokers have been reported to stop smoking mainly because of the health implication that comes with the habit. Some people stop smoking after they have discovered that they are already sick. However, those who stop smoking do so because of the environment they find themselves. For instance, a job requirement can be a reason that may influence the individual’s decision to stop smoking. For instance, the current president of the United States, Barrack Obama quit smoking in 2007, for reasons that could be associated to his political career and pressure from his wife, Mitchell (Tapper, 2007). According to the ABA news, Obama had never been a radical smoker although he admitted chewing Nicorette, a gum that contains Nicotine.
Although quitting smoking is sometimes difficult, the side effects that it comes with are enough to stop the habit. Cigarette smoking brings many diseases to the body, most of which are fatal or not easily treated. Smoking is not only detrimental to the health of the smokers but also to that of other people. This means that there should be a restriction to curb open or public smoking to protect the non-smokers. In addition, some people utterly abhor cigarette smoke thus such measures can be used to protect them from the cigarette smoke. Although the tobacco industry is lucrative in terms of the money it generates, it will be wise to eliminate excessive production of cigarettes, with an aim of saving the lives of many people. This is because the problem cannot be eliminated, meaning that reduction is the better option. Otherwise, people should keep off smoking if they want to remain healthy and live long.
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