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Kick The Habit Essay, Research Paper

Banes 1 Ms. BuccholzC411/2/98 Kick the Habit Since the turn of the century, smoking has been an American pastime. Smokingcigarettes was a way to relieve stress, relax, and enjoy life. Smoking was consideredharmless until about 50 years ago. The American Tobacco Company disagrees with this. Research since then has proven much about this American pastime. The American Tobacco Company refuses to believe that smokingcigarettes can cause various types of cancer. This includes lung cancer, and other seriousillnesses; thus, shortening life expectancy. According to Funk & Wagnalls medicalwriter, Jenny Tesar, “The single most preventable cause of death in the U.S. is tobaccosmoking” (93: 176). Many lives are needlessly lost due to smoking cigarettes. Nonsmokers are not safe either. Nonsmokers are harmed by the effects of secondhandsmoke. Secondhand smoke is the smoke in the air that comes from both the lightedcigarette and the smoker’s lungs. Tesar also states, Each year 435,000 Americans diefrom heart disease, lung cancer, and other illnesses caused by their smoking; thousandsmore die as a result of inhaling secondhand smoke (93: 176).Smoking has changed from America’s favorite pastime, to a life threatening habitfor both the smoker and the nonsmoker. Today, smoking is still used as a way to relievestress and to relax, but the risks now linger in the minds of most smokers andnonsmokers alike. Banes 2 Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Americans today. Lungcancer is the number-one cancer killer (Nieman, Butterworth, and Nieman 390). According to the authors of Nutrition Nieman, Butterworth and Nieman, “Eighty-fivepercent of all lung cancer…is caused by cigarette smoking…” (390). This says a lot aboutthe effects of smoking and lung cancer. In fact, it relates smoking directly with thenumber-one cancer killer.The formation of lung cancer, the illness most smokers die from, is described indetail by the author of Understanding Human Anatomy and Physiology, Sylvia Mader,and the American Cancer Society: The first event appears to be a thickening of cells that line the bronchi. Then there is a loss of cilia so that it is impossible to prevent dust and dirt from settling in the lungs. Following this, cells with atypical nuclei appear in the thickened lining. A disordered collection of cells with atypical nuclei may be considered cancer in situ (at one location). A final step occurs when some cells break loose and penetrate the other tissues…Tumors now develop. (Mader 256) The visual characteristics of a cancer infested lung of a smoker are usually darkgrey and black in color. Light colored areas may be seen throughout the entire lung. These light colored areas are usually where cancer has formed. The lungs of a healthynonsmoker are generally a bright red color without any light areas.Besides causing lung cancer, smoking is the cause of other types of cancer. Ittakes the use of the entire respiratory system, in order to smoke. Consequently, thesmoker is at higher risk for cancer of the larynx, cancer of the mouth, and cancer of theesophagus (Mader 256). The smoker is also faces a higher risk for cancer of the pancreasand bladder. For these five types of cancer mentioned, the chances of Banes 3development “are from 2 to 17 times higher in cigarette smokers than in nonsmokers,”according to Mader (256).Smoking is also responsible for a number of major illnesses other than cancer. Coronary heart disease is already a killer of many Americans each year. Cigarettesmoking is a prime factor for an additional 120,000 deaths each year due to coronaryheart disease (Mader 256). Other major illnesses smoking contributes to are emphysema, which “smokers have 4 to 25 times greater risk” of development, and reproductive effects (Mader 256). Osteoporosis is also known to be related with cigarette smoking. In fact, arecent study found that “intake of cadmium – at levels roughly equal to that found in theblood of smokers – promotes osteoporosis” (Tesar 91: 225). The chance of these factsbeing just a coincidence is highly unlikely. These major illnesses can almost guarantee ashorter life for anyone, especially a cigarette smoker.Smoking is also responsible for many minor ailments. Cataracts is an ailmentcaused by smoking. Jenny Tesar reveals in Funk & Wagnalls 1991 Yearbook that A study of 838 men found that those who smoked were twice as likely to develop nuclear cataracts before age 70 than those men who had quit smoking 10 years previously (91:226).In this study of cataracts and smoking, both subjects were smokers. It can beassumed that a nonsmoker has an even lower risk of developing nuclear cataracts thanthe men who quit smoking. According to the “Hotline” section of Muscle & Fitness,

“Heavy smoking promotes facial wrinkles that cannot be reversed with the cessation ofsmoking” (June 92: 33). Many youths start smoking because it makes them feel olderand look older. In a sense they are very right.Along with the dozens of harmful effects that smoking causes, reproductiveeffects and smoking have been studied. Muscle & Fitness magazine’s, John S. Banes 4Comereski, MAT, member, Weider Research Group reveals that, Numerouscountrywide studies have shown a link between smoking and miscarriages, damagedsperm and lower female egg production” (June 92: 33). This is just the beginning. Inaddition, pregnant women who smoke risk having low birth-weight infants (less than 5.5lbs.), stillbirth, premature birth, infants with respiratory distress syndrome, and suddeninfant death syndrome (Nieman, Butterworth, and Neiman 351). Pregnancy is the worsttime for a mother to smoke. It is also the worst time for the father to smoke because ofsecondhand smoke. The popularity of “NO SMOKING” signs in the homes of pregnantwomen or women who have newborns, have greatly increased during the past few years.Secondhand smoke kills the nonsmoker in the same way smoking kills thesmoker. The inhalation of secondhand smoke gives nonsmokers the chance to developmost of the illnesses the smoker faces. The risk of developing illness from secondhandsmoke is very high. Jenny Tesar reports,One study found that nonsmokers who live with smokers have a 20 to 30percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than do other nonsmokers. A second study found that nonsmokers who grew up with smoking parentshave an increased risk of lung cancer…. (92: 217).The state of California feels that cigarette smoke causes cancer, and because ofthis, smoking is not allowed in public places. This includes all restaurants, bars andnightclubs, retail stores, and other public places. Fast food restaurants, like Carl’s Jr. andMcDonald’s, banned smoking before the law came into effect. The news aboutsecondhand smoke is spreading fast and soon smokers may be unpleasant company. Quitting the habit is extremely difficult due to the smoker’s addiction to nicotine. “Each day almost 1000 Americans quit smoking…by dying,” Tesar says, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, warned that the nicotine in tobacco is addictive, causing a physical Banes 5 dependency not unlike that caused by heroine and cocaine (90: 219). Even though nicotine is both physically and mentally addicting, the best way toquit smoking is to do it without help. It is the least expensive way possible. The sense ofpersonal accomplishment may be enough motivation to keep off the leaves, not tomention the health risks of continuation.The latest rage today is a transdermal nicotine patch. It is a patch, placed on the skin, that continually releases nicotine into the blood through the skin. Over time the patches are made smaller and the amount of nicotine released is lessened until no longer needed. Muscle & Fitness magazine wrote an article on a study the New England Journal of Medicine reported on, A transdermal patch…delivers nicotine into the skin. After 12 weeks, 44% of patch users had stopped smoking compared with 10% of thoseusing the placebo patch (May 92: 26).These are effective results and may offer some help for the smoker. By kickingthe smoking habit risks for all types of illnesses, including cancer, are greatly reduced.The benefits of becoming a nonsmoker are proven through numerous studies tooutweigh the risks of being a smoker. Becoming a nonsmoker also benefits the peoplewho are already nonsmokers. These people may be friends, relatives, children or eventotal strangers. The risk of dying from illnesses caused by secondhand smoke would nolonger exist and the smoker’s risk of dying would significantly change. People whosmoke are not only killing themselves.. .they’re killing others. Banes 6


Comereski, John S. “Sports Fitness Hotline.” Muscle & Fitness. June 1992: 33.Mader, Sylvia S. Understanding Human Anatomy and Physiology. Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown, 1991.”Nicotine Patch.” Muscle & Fitness May 1992: 26.Nieman, Butterworth, and Nieman. Nutrition. Revised 1st ed. Wm. C. Brown, 1992.State of Arkansas v. American Tobacco Co., et al. 9 Aug. 1998. 5 May 1998.http://stic.neu.edu/Ar/COMPLAINT.htm>.Tesar, Jenny. “Review of the Year: Health and Disease.” Funk and Wagnalls 1990Science Yearbook. ed. Joseph M. Castagno. U.S.A.: Watts, 1989.—. “Review of the Year: Health and Disease.” Funk and Wagnalls 1991 ScienceYearbook. ed. Joseph M. Castagno. U.S.A.: Watts, 1990.—. “Review of the Year: Health and Disease.” Funk and Wagnalls 1992 ScienceYearbook. ed. Joseph M. Castagno. U.S.A.: Watts, 1991.—. Review of the Year: Health and Disease.” Funk and Wagnalls 1993 ScienceYearbook. ed. Joseph M. Castagno. U.S.A.: Watts, 1992.

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