12th Class Biology Drugs, Drug Dependence, Mental Health Smoking


Category : 12th Class

Smoking of tobacco dried and cured leaves of plant ‘Nicotiana tobacum’ and N. rustica in the form of cigars, cigarettes, bides etc. is very toxic to the body. Smoke of tobacco contains about 300 compounds. The main compounds are nicotine, \[CO,\text{ }HCN,\] polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, certain other stimulating products etc. Nicotine in the blood stimulates the nervous system, relax the muscles, release adrenalin hormone and increase the rate of heart beats. In pregnant ladies growth of foetus decreases and loss of weight may takes place.

Tobacco : The tobacco was first smoked by Red Indians in America. It then spread to European countries in the early 1600’s, and today a large part of the world population smoke tobacco, while some others chew it.

Effect of Nicotine : Smoking was reported to produce a feeling of tranquility (calmness) and in some cases made people alert and active. Since in its early days the use of tobacco was socially accepted and no harmful effects were obvious, the addiction became widespread. But scientific research indicates that use of tobacco is harmful. Nicotine is the major stimulatory component of tobacco products including cigarettes. It is highly poisonous. The amount present in one cigar can be fatal, if it is injected intravenously into a person. When smoked, about 10 percent of the smoke is inhaled. Nicotine has a number of effects on the human body. It stimulates passage of nerve impulses, causes muscles to relax and causes the release of adrenaline, increasing both blood pressure and heart beat rate. The increased blood pressure caused by smoking leads to increased risk of heart diseases. In pregnant women nicotine causes retardation of the growth of the foetus.

Other Harmful Components of Tobacco Smoke : Besides the nicotine the tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and tar.

Diseases Caused by Smoking : Smoking causes the following diseases.

(1) Cancer : Benzpyrene present in tobacco smoke is carcinogenic. About 95% victims of lung cancer are due to smoking. Reverse smoking causes oral cancer. In reverse smoking the burning end of the cigar is kept in the mouth. Reverse smoking is common in the villages of Andhra Pradesh. Bidi smoking causes cancer of tongue, pharynx (throat), larynx, tonsils and oesophagus. Lip cancer is caused by cigar and pipes. Tobacco chewing leads to oral cancer.

(2) Cardio-vascular Diseases : Tobacco smoking causes increase of adrenalin secretion which increases blood pressure, heart beat rate by constricting the arteries. High blood pressure increases the chances of heart diseases. Nicotine damages the bicuspid valve (mitral valve) of the heart.

(3) Emphysema : Tobacco smoke may break down the walls of alveoli of the lungs, decreasing the surface area for gas exchange, causing emphysema.

(4) Coughing and Bronchitis : Tobacco smoking irritates the mucous membrane of the pharynx (throat) and bronchi causing coughing and bronchitis.

(5) Pulmonary Tuberculosis : Smoking can spread bacteria of pulmonary tuberculosis from infected person to healthy persons.

(6) Gastric and Duodenal Ulcers : Smoking increases the secretion of gastric juice containing HCl. Excess of HCl causes gastric and duodenal ulcers.

(7) Effect on Immune System : Smoking reduces immunity of the body.

(8) Decrease in Oxygen carrying Capacity : Carbon monoxide of tobacco smoke rapidly binds haemoglobin of RBC and causes co-poisoning which reduces oxygen carrying capacity of haemoglobin.

(9) Other Effects of Smoking : Tobacco smoking has other effects.

(i) Effect on other Persons : Tobacco smoking annoys non-smokers. It may prove even more harmful to nonsmokers.

(ii) Effect on Personality : Lips of the smoker may get coloured. Teeth and fingers may become stained and breath becomes foul.

(iii) Effect on Economy : Tobacco smoking also affects economy of the smoker.

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