It really amazes me each time I see someone smoking a cigarette. Even with all the campaigning and personal tragedies people have seen or been affected by with smoking, it persists. Recently, I read up on some new-to-me facts and wanted to spill some of my thoughts on smoking along with them!
My grandparents have been smoking almost their entire lives. As children, my twin and I would hide my grandpa's cigarettes from him (my grandma only smoked two cigarettes at night, and he was a half a pack/day smoker) and I remembered telling him that D.A.R.E. said we shouldn't smoke. Did you guys have D.A.R.E. in your elementary/middle schools? That was a great program. My sister and I were lucky to have always against smoking and never picked up the habit from them.
Well, Four years ago my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer, and after removing a lung and having a short remission, got struck again. One year and chemo later, the lung cancer was gone, but now has stomach cancer. These event recently caused me to get more proactive and interested in research on smoking.
Women's Health Magazine recently had a great article on what happens when you first smoke a cigarette and I wanted to rehash it out to you Healthkickers. Not because I want to be preachy, but because I never thought about what would happen with just one cigarette. Here are some clips of what they had to say:
0-10 Seconds - ...smoke passes through your mouth, leaving a faint brown film on your pearly whites. Toxic gases such as formaldehyde and ammonia immediately put your immune system on alert, causing allover inflammation.
Your body gets a jolt of energy as that nicotine hits your adrenal glands, triggering an outpouring of adrenaline that raises your blood pressure and heart rate. Your heart is unable to relax fully between beats—and you are now at a higher risk of having a stroke.
At the same time, carbon monoxide (a toxic component also found in car exhaust) from the smoke is starting to build up in your blood, limiting your body's ability to transport oxygen to your vital organs.
Via the blood-stream, nicotine hits your brain, where certain nerve cells respond by letting loose a torrent of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.
5 Minutes - As dopamine levels quickly plummet back to normal, your body yearns for another high—even if you're not aware of it. If you frequently give in to the craving, your brain will get hooked and you'll crash into withdrawal when you try to stop smoking (some experts posit that nicotine could be just as addictive as heroin).
The cigarette smoke is gone, but your body will be mopping up toxic substances for the next six to eight hours.
Forever - The cigarette's parting gift: gooey brown tar in your lungs.
As much as I hate smoking, I don't beg people to stop. If you want to smoke fine, just know what's happening to your body and also, keep it far away from me. The statistics on second-hand smoke as much too scary for me to allow you to smoke while standing next to me.
What are your thoughts on smoking? Did you know these facts that Women's Health posted?