Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. Each year, thousands of people die from smoking or smoking related illnesses. Many more live life with debilitating illnesses such as chronic bronchitis or asthma. This paper covers the five most common deadly conditions for which this addiction is responsible.
Lung Cancer – the most common cancer caused by smoking. Every year, of those diagnosed with lung cancer, approximately 84% of the diagnosis are cigarette smoking related. (UK study, 2002). Because cigarettes contain nicotine, a tar like substance, and carbon dioxide, the lining of the lungs are coated with up to 1 cup of tar per year, for a smoker of 1 pack of cigarettes a day. Even one cigarette each day can trigger changes of cells within the lungs tissue, resulting in lung cancer later in life.
Heart Disease – the second leading cause of death for smokers are heart related diseases. Many types of heart disorders such as aortic aneurysm, (a bulging major blood vessel), myocardial degeneration (heart attack) and ischemic heart disease (lack of blood to an organ, such as the heart) are often seen in the mid-thirties age range.
Emphysema – also known as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is caused by constant inhaling of the toxic fumes of cigarette smoke. This disease is characterized by the lack of elasticity of lung tissue and destruction of capillaries. This makes breathing extremely difficult.
Pleurisy – results from the lining of the lungs becoming inflamed. Fluid may build up in the chest cavity and breathing becomes not only difficult, but painful. Coughing is often persistent and may be dry or produce sputum.
Pneumonia: A serious infection of the lungs, this disease is characterized by chest pain, fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath. Lungs often fill with fluid, and often the patient can drown on those fluids. Pneumonia can happen to anyone, but smokers are especially prone to the problem.
Most of these fatal diseases – with the exception of pneumonia – are preventable by leading a healthy lifestyle. That includes not smoking. Some may be genetically related or caused by other factors, but the risk of developing them are increased exponentially when an individual smokes.