Humans are the only species that have, ?this urge?, to inhale harmful smoke into their body. There are all types of smokers. Some smokers are casual smokers, who only smoke in a social scene, other types of smoker are depressed/stressed smokes, who smoke, because they feel that it relieves something in them, and finally there are addictive smoker, who don?t know why they even started, but they can?t stop. What these people don?t realize is that the harm they are putting their bodies through. There are many risks of smoking, like lung disease, heart disease, and risks in pregnancy to the unborn child.
Today it is known that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and death in the United States. One researcher has described cigarette smoking as causing ?a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lower airways.?(Doll 901-911) When we breathe, air enters the upper airway through the nose and mouth, where the air is filtered, warmed and humidified. The inhaled air travels though the trachea to the lungs. Inside the lung there is a main stem called the bronchus and little air sacs called bronchioles. (Together it looks like a main stem with a bunch of grapes.) Oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood; the blood then carries oxygen to all the body tissues. (Sherman 355) The respiratory system has several built in safeguards to protect it against disease. The filtering that takes place in the upper airway helps prevent infectious and irritating substances from entering the lung. The trachea and the lung produce mucus, which helps trap and carry away contaminants. These contaminants are moved through the lungs by cilia, which are tiny hairs that beat rapidly back and fourth. When smoke is inhaled through the mouth, smokers automatically bypass the first safeguard, the filtering action of the nose. While smokers often produce more mucus in response to smoking, they are less able than nonsmokers to move the mucus out of their respiratory system. This happens because cigarette smoking paralyzes and eventually destroys cilia. It also changes the makeup of the mucus-secreting glands and consequently the mucus itself. In addition, mucus glands sometimes become plugged and less able to produce mucus. The end result is that smokers? mucus, contaminated with potentially harmful substances, is more likely to become trapped in the lung tissue. (Sherman 355) Smoking impairs lung growth and lung tissue in children and adolescents. Another type of lung-growth impairment occurs in smokers? aged 20 to 40. During this stage of life, the lungs undergo a type of growth called the plateau phase. This phase is shortened in smokers, which shortens the time with which tobacco- induced diseases develop. Smokers who take up smoking at younger ages are more apt to suffer smoking-related disease after shorter periods of time than are smokers who begin smoking later in life. (Peterson 215-218)
Twenty percent of people who smoke get heart disease. Smokers in there thirties and forties have a heart-attack rate that is five times higher than their nonsmoking peers. Smoking lowers hdl levels (also called good cholesterol), causes deterioration of elastic properties in the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, and increases the risk for blood clots. Smoking also increases the activity the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates the heart and blood vessels. The more a person smokes the higher the chance of developing coronary heart disease and experiencing a heart attack. (Davis) In women who smoke the risk for a heart attack is about 50% greater than in male smokers; researchers speculate that tobacco smoke may increase cardiovascular disease in women through an effect on hormones that causes estrogen deficiency. Quitting will rapidly decrease the risk of developing heart disease, but long-term smoking may still permanently damage arteries. Studies continue to confirm the dangers of second-hand smoke; one study reported that exposure to second hand smoke is just as dangerous in the workplace as it is at home. Regular exposure to passive smoke is now estimated to increase the risk of heart disease in the nonsmoker by between 25% and 91%, causing 30,000 to 60,000 deaths each year. According to one report nonsmokers who spend as little as a half-hour in a smoke- filled room suffer a serious drop in blood levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which may be important for heart protection.(Whelan 26-32)
Studies have now linked cigarette smoking to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and Miscarriage. (Whelan 81) Women at greatest risk are those who smoke one or more packs a day and who started smoking before age 18. Smoking increases the risk for stillbirth and infant mortality by 33%. Smoking also appears to reduce folate levels; a vitamin that is important for preventing birth defects. (Stillman 545) Experts believe that women who smoke may pass genetic mutations that increase cancer risks to their unborn babies. In addition, the fetus of a smoking mother is at risk for low birth weight and ? especially in women who also drink a lot of coffee ? premature delivery. The good news is that women who quit before becoming pregnant or even during the first trimester reduce the risk for a low birth weight baby to that of women who never smoked. Fortunately, national birth statistics showed a continued decline in the number of women who smoke during pregnancy. (Cambell 70-75)An estimated four million children a year fall ill from exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoking in pregnant women and new mothers is strongly linked to sudden infant death syndrome (sids). Parental smoking has been shown to affect the lungs of infants as early as the first two to 10 weeks of life and increases the risk for lung diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia, by 50%. Maternal smoking is believed to be related to 37% of the cases of childhood meningococcal disease, an uncommon but potentially fatal infection. (Difranza Jr. 385-394) It has also been linked to abnormal lung function in children; the defects persist throughout life. Environmental smoking worsens the condition of children with existing asthma and is thought to be responsible for 150,000 to 300,000 cases of lower respiratory infections every year. Pregnant women who smoke increase their child?s risk for attention deficit disorder, conduct disorders, depression, substance abuse, and lower intellectual achievement. Parental smoking also has been linked to ear infections and eczema. (Whelan 82-89)
In conclusion, Smoking has a lot of affects that are harmful to the body. Smoking might not affect the body instantly but, looking towards to future smoking has a great impact on ones life. As a smoker gets older, the diseases they imposed upon themselves from smoking at an earlier age will severely hurt them, in fact it might kill them at a far earlier age then they were supposed to go. Before you light up your cigarette remember what you are doing to you body.

Smoking 7.9 of 10 on the basis of 2753 Review.