Smoking is the most lethal social intoxication. The World Health Organization defines smoking as the most important cause of preventable disease. Every year around 5 million people die due to smoking all over the world. If the smoking continues in this way, this number is expected to reach 12 million by 2025. It is not only a health problem, but also a social and economic problem. Foreign substances inside the cigarette cause irritation and damage to the tissues. Against this, the cells that are drawn from the blood are collected in the area of inflammation. With the narrowing of the vessels over time, the amount of blood and oxygen to all tissues decreases. Damage develops over time as a result of tissue failure. In fact, one of the most dramatic consequences is that the carcinogens in it increase the risk of nearly all cancers.
In addition, smoking is a step to start the use of other addictive drugs. They are eight times more likely to use them than non-smokers. Behavioral disorders are also observed in young smokers.
Cigarette smoke is as harmful to passive smokers as active smokers. Passive smokers stand next to smokers suffer from thousands of different chemical gases. Most of them are toxic and some are carcinogenic gases such as benzopyrene and formaldehyde.
Damages Caused by Smoking in the Body
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4800 different substances, most of them toxic and carcinogenic. In the event of inhalation of smoke, these toxins are absorbed by the lungs and distributed throughout the body. Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and chronic noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes. The damages of smoking briefly affect the whole body. The most common findings in smokers: Shortness of breath, cough, irritability, sleep disorders, concentration disorder, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, depression, decrease in interest and desire, fatigue, appetite disorder.
Damage caused by the organism according to systems:
- Cardiovascular system damages
Smoking is one of the most important preventable causes of arteriosclerosis. Smoking causes harmful plaque formation and vascular obstruction, which prevents blood flow in blood vessels. It reduces the oxygen content of the blood and in this way affects the oxygenation of all organs. Smoking also causes increased levels of LDL, which are harmful cholesterol in the blood, and excess LDL settles into injured vessel walls. This facilitates arteriosclerotic plaque formation and narrowing in the vessels. As a result, the rate of developing a heart attack, stroke or peripheral arterial disease increases significantly. The risk of having a heart attack is about twice as high in smokers as in non-smokers.
- Respiratory system damages
Substances in cigarette smoke cause inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract, irritate the bronchi and increase the tendency to infection. They damage the self-cleaning mechanism of the respiratory tract and may cause breathing difficulties, chronic cough and sputum complaints in regular smokers. Smoking of young people who have not reached the age of growth slows normal lung growth. It is also the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 90% of people with COPD are smokers or former smokers.
- Effects of smoking on skin
Smokers' skin has a gray, pale and unhealthy appearance. Nicotine weakens the blood circulation to the skin and adversely affects the health of the skin. Cigarette smoke also contains substances that damage skin cells. As a result, the skin becomes thinner, loses its elasticity, wrinkles early and ages. Smoking also causes an increase in skin problems such as eczema or acne.
- Effects of smoking on oral and dental health
The tar contained in tobacco smoke causes yellowing of the teeth and unpleasant brown spots. Smoking makes the oral cavity suitable for the growth of some bacteria. Proliferating bacteria cause bad breath and tooth decay as well as gum diseases that can cause premature tooth loss. Decrease in blood flow to the gums due to smoking and suppression of the immune system also accelerates the formation of external flesh problems.
- Brain damages of smoking
Smoking leads to vascular stiffness and negatively affects brain function. Smokers have an increased risk of stroke and cerebral hemorrhage. Smokers are twice as likely to die as a result of cerebral vascular obstruction or cerebral hemorrhage. Smoking weakens memory, adversely affects learning and logical thinking. The risk of depression and Alzheimer's dementia is also increased among smokers.
- Smoking and cancer
There are more than 90 carcinogenic substances identified in cigarette smoke. According to researches, it is reported that approximately one quarter of all cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Smokers are at twice the risk of cancer than non-smokers. The risk of cancer is related to the age of onset of smoking, the amount of cigarettes consumed per day, and the duration of smoking. In contrast, quitting smoking significantly reduces the risk.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer among smokers. A person who smokes 20 cigarettes a day is 15 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker. Passive smoking also increases the risk of lung cancer. Smoking increases lung and mouth cancers, laryngeal cancer, esophagus cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, breast and pancreatic cancers.
- Smoking and diabetes
Both smoking and uncontrolled diabetes will damage blood vessels. Moreover, the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke is significantly higher in patients with diabetes. Good blood supply to organs is particularly important for diabetics. For this reason, the harm of smoking is higher in people with diabetes. Diabetic complications such as eye, kidney and nerve damage are more common in smokers. The resulting damage affects the quality of life more and can even lead to early disability.
- Sexual harms of smoking
Regular smoking is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction. Vascular damage and consequently reduced blood flow to the penis is the cause of erectile dysfunction. The quality of sperm is also impaired in men who smoke. In women, smoking affects estrogen balance. Smoking causes an increased risk of infertility, genital herpes and cervical cancer in women. Smoking with hormonal contraceptives increases the risk of thrombosis and cardiovascular disease.
- Smoking during pregnancy
During pregnancy, nicotine passes from the mother's bloodstream through the placenta to the embryo. Women who smoke during pregnancy are at high risk for pregnancy complications. Some of these complications are; abortion in pregnancy, preterm or stillbirth, low birth weight, slowing growth.
Methods of quiting smoking
Smoking is easy, but quitting is a difficult task, but not impossible. The aim of drug treatment is to eliminate nicotine withdrawal in the period following smoking cessation. These drugs are prescribed by the doctor.
Treatment method is completely personal. The treatment of the patient is individualized according to the social life of the patient, eating habits, stress factors, other concomitant diseases, and the presence of other drugs.
- Drug therapy: Nicotine replacement therapy
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (tTMS) Therapy (with Psychiatric Consultation)
- Other methods
The first 3 days after smoking cessation is the most difficult period. In this period, unrest, irritability, difficulty in concentration may occur. Staying away from caffeine, physical activity, not to be in environments that bring smoking to mind, chewing gum, eating nuts can help you get through this period easily. The medical support treatment available on the market should definitely be taken under the supervision and advice of the physician in terms of possible side effects. In cases of psychological dependence, professional help should be offered.
Although smoking is such an effective and dangerous substance, there are significant positive changes in the body when quit. After 8 hours of quiting smoking the oxygen in the blood is normal, after 24 hours the risk of heart attack is reduced, after 48 hours the nerve endings begin to regenerate, after 2 weeks - 3 months the blood circulation stabilizes and lung function improves by 30% , after 1 - 9 months cough crises, exhaustion, shortness of breathing is reduced, lungs are cleared and the risk of infection is reduced, after 1 year of quiting the danger of coronary insufficiency halved compared to smokers, 5 years later, the risk of dying from lung cancer is halved, 10 years then the danger of lung cancer comes to the level of non-smokers. After 15 years, the risk of coronary insufficiency decreases to the level of non-smokers.