Smoking: History, Causes, and Effects

History of Cigarette Smoking

According to Random History (2009), people came into contact with Tobacco about eighteen thousand years ago. This time coincides with the period when migrant Asiatic people spread across the Americas (Random History 2009). In addition, tobacco is native to the Americas. This means that it first grew wildly in the Americas before spreading to other parts of the world. However, the widespread cultivation of tobacco began at around 5000 B.C (Random History 2009). Random History 2009 also adds that the cultivatable species of tobacco, Rustica, and tabacum, originated from the Andes Mountain. However, Tobacco was first cultivated in Europe at Santo Domingo in 1531 (Cancer Council n.d.). Widespread cultivation began in the 1700s after the tobacco industry developed. Consequently, the first cigarette manufacturing machine was invented in the 1800s (Cancer Council n.d.). The Cancer Council (n.d.) also confirms that only two hundred cigarettes per minute were produced by this machine. In contrast, today’s machines produce around 9,000 cigarettes per minute.

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Amazingly, in its early days, tobacco was either chewed or snuffed (History 2009). People, therefore, started smoking it later. Although there were evolutions on tobacco’s cultivation and use, little was known about its chemical composition (Random History 2009). However, in the 1940s, landmark research found out that there was a correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. This means that the health implication of cigarette smoking was not known until the 20th century. During this time, the number of cigarette smokers had risen due to the production of cheap cigarettes (Cancer Council n.d.). For that reason, it was necessary to establish studies on cigarette smoking.

Smoking in U.A.E and the World

The world has approximately one billion smokers (World Health Organization (WHO) 2012). Additionally, eighty percent of these smokers are from middle and low-income countries. Furthermore, about forty-one percent of men in the developing world smoke (Riper n.d.). However, the US and other developed countries have managed to lower their smoking population. In the US, the smoking population is half of what it was a couple of years ago (Takepart.com 2012). However, more than forty percent of children worldwide have at least a parent that smokes. This means that a good number of children breathe in tobacco-polluted air. This explains why thirty-one percent of passive smokers who died in 2004 were children (WHO 2012). WHO (2012) also states that only fifty-nine countries monitor tobacco use. This is less than half of the total number of countries in the world. For that reason, only half of the world’s population is protected. Moreover, less than eleven percent of the world’s population is protected by serious smoking laws (WHO 2012).

According to the Dubai Health Service (2012), smoking in the UAE is summarized by the results from the Dubai Household Health Survey (DHHS). The survey indicated that 8.6% of UAE nationals are smokers. Additionally, UAE men are ten times more likely to smoke than women. Therefore, 15.5% of men in the UAE smoke compared to only 1.5% of women. This survey also found out that most of the smokers in the UAE are from the low-income bracket.

Smoking Causes and Effects

Several factors lead to smoking. According to Hampy (2011), seventy-seven percent of smokers do it because of peer pressure and stress. This explains why nearly all smoking starts at high school. At this stage, people smoke because they want to be associated with a particular group. Teens may also embark on smoking to establish a rebellious image (Shaw 2010). In doing so, they feel more independent and cool. Surprisingly, some people, especially ladies, smoke to lose weight. Others inherit the habit from their parents. Therefore, one is likely to smoke if his parents are smokers (Shaw 2010). On the other hand, it is unlikely to find a smoker in a family of non-smokers (Shaw 2010).

Tobacco is made up of more than 4000 chemicals (WHO 2012). Out of these chemicals, 250 are known to be harmful to people. Worse still, tobacco has 50 chemicals known to cause cancer. WHO (2012) also adds that after every six seconds, one person dies from tobacco-related complications. This means that at least half of the current smokers will die from the tobacco-related disease if the trend continues. Tobacco smoke causes lung cancer, respiratory infections, and heart diseases (WHO 2012). Consequently, people who die from smoking leave their families in economic hardships. Moreover, tobacco deaths and disease increase the cost of healthcare and, thus, derail economic growth (WHO 2012). Additionally, tobacco smoking is extremely addictive. For that reason, it is not easy to give up smoking.

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How Smoking Affect Your Looks and Life

Signs and symptoms of smoking are obvious even to a careless observer. The most noticeable evidence of smoking is stained teeth and fingers (Stöppler n.d.). Smoking also changes the appearance of one’s hair (Hall 2011). This is a result of damages caused by free radicals from cigarette smoke (Hall 2011). In addition, a smoker is characterized by bad breath and his smoke impregnated clothes have a certain smell too (Stöppler n.d.). This smell also spreads to his household items. You can also recognize a smoker through his chronic cough and croaky voice (Stöppler n.d.). In addition, when one starts to smoke, a lighter and a pack of cigarettes becomes a part of his life. In this case, one plunges himself into a form of slavery. This is because the two items must accompany him daily. Many people, especially teens, are forced to live deceitful life. This is because they have to cover up their smoking from parents, teachers, and loved ones. Smoking also affects a person’s social life. For instance, it is unlikely for a smoker to associate himself with non-smokers. Therefore, smokers have few friends. Addiction also causes discomfort to the smoker and tension between him and the people he interacts with. This is because he has to excuse himself periodically to take a puff. Moreover, most smokers are dirty and live stressful life. Due to the complications associated with smoking, smokers also live a shorter life than non-smokers.

Tips on Quitting Smoking

Most studies show that only a few smokers understand the health risks associated with smoking (WHO 2012). However, most of the smokers that understand these risks want to give up smoking. Sadly, since smoking is addictive, it is very difficult for these people to quit. Therefore, they need help to do away with this risky behavior. The two main methods of helping these people are counseling and medication (WHO 2012). However, picture warning through anti-tobacco adverts and graphic pack warnings also help. In addition, banning tobacco advertisements and promotion reduces smoking. Furthermore, a tax increase also increases the price of cigarettes. As a result, the young and the low-income people are discouraged from smoking. If tobacco prices increase by ten percent, smoking will decrease by about four and eight percent among the high and low-income countries respectively (WHO 2012).

Personal initiatives are also vital when quitting smoking. For instance, a person should focus on the immediate benefits of not smoking (Hampy 2011). Some of these benefits include good health and fresh breath. Furthermore, one should study his smoking habits (Hampy 2011). This helps him come up with alternatives to his smoking. For instance, smoking time can be substituted with a cup of coffee. Most importantly, a smoker must plan his quitting by enlisting people and activities that will help him do so (Hampy 2011). Moreover, he should avoid situations that lead to smoking and get rid of all smoking-related items. Finally, it is important to reward one’s self with the money that could have been spent on smoking (Hampy 2011).

Conclusions

Man has interacted with tobacco for a very long time. Moreover, a good number of people have adopted smoking worldwide. Some of the reasons why these people smoke include peer pressure, stress, and family history. However, the cost of tobacco uses outweighs its benefits. This is because some of its uses such as smoking are detrimental to human lives. For instance, smoking is addictive, causes health problems, and affects one’s appearance and life. Nonetheless, people can quit smoking when they follow a disciplined program. Some of the activities within this program include the right medication, counseling, and personal initiatives.

Reference List

Cancer Council n.d., A brief history of smoking, Web.

Dubai Health Service 2012, DHA announces results of prevalence and risk factors of smoking in the Emirate of Dubai, Web.

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Hall, D 2011, How does smoking change your appearance? Web.

Hampy, M 2011, The many causes and effects of smoking, Web.

Random History 2009, The long tobacco road: a history of smoking from ritual to cigarette, Web.

Riper, T.V n.d., Public health: the world’s heaviest-smoking countries, Web.

Stöppler, M.C n.d., Cigarette smoking symptoms, Web.

Shaw, J 2010, What are the causes of smoking among teens, Web.

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Takepart.com 2012, Smoking rates around the world are astronomical, Web.

World Health Organization 2012, Tobacco. fact sheet N°339, Web.

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