Stop Smoking: Harmful Compounds of Smoking

March 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Smoking

Smoking cigarettes comes with a lot of toxic substances that cause nothing but harmful repercussions in one’s life. Listing all of the effects of smoking would not necessarily be helpful. What should be known is that in medicine, the essential thing is the dosage.

Most of the harmful substances found when smoking cigarettes only come in mere nanograms per stick. However, with so many of them in a single cigarette, they end up amounting to a significant quantity.

Tar is a major part that can be found when smoking cigarettes and usually amounts to around 10-14 mg per cigarette. Cigarettes referred to as ‘low tar’ also contain around 8 or 9 mg of tar. Either way, smoking cigarettes induces a black substance called tar that surrounds the lungs and interferes with the alveoli’s actions. The alveoli consist of the lungs’ tiny sacs and make it possible for oxygen to enter the bloodstream, which makes their actions essential for life. Through smoking, this action is hindered and may also be prevented by low quantities of carbon monoxide (CO).

Once in the blood, carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin, which plays an important part in moving oxygen all around the body. Due to smoking, CO gets into the mix and oxygen becomes trapped and therefore unavailable to the body. Even at its lowes concentration, lack of oxygen may cause severe headaches. And this is always present when smoking cigarettes.

Nicotine is another factor one must take into consideration when smoking. In fact, it is because of nicotine addiction that people keep smoking in the first place. Although nicotine in itself isn’t actually addictive, it releases dopamine in the brain that makes people feel good whenever they are smoking. Withdrawal from nicotine addiction usually comes from these lowered dopamine levels.

The average amount of nicotine in a cigarette is 1.2 mg, but this differs brand by brand. And although the human body takes in less of a compound than is actually in smoking, 70% of it is still inhaled. Most smokers finish several cigarettes daily, which will amount to an average of 20-40 mg daily.

But even despite these statistics, even the smallest amount associated to smoking can do a huge amount of harm, most of all since some body systems are more sensitive than others.

Cigarette smoking comes with huge amounts of various organic compounds. And even if ‘organic’ is used to describe merely healthy things in today’s world; in science, it simply means it has carbon in it. Contrary to popular belief, not all organic compounds are beneficial to human beings. Benzene is one example, and it is commonly found when smoking cigarettes, as well.

The harmful factors mentioned above are only a few that are associated with cigarette smoking. These usually grow in the lungs, as well as other parts of the body. According to the National Institute of Cancer, around 87% of lung cancer cases and 30% of all cancer cases can be attributed to cigarette smoking alone. They can all be prevented, though, so try to re-consider your smoking habits and think about what you’re putting in your body.