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How do cigarettes affect the body? – Krishna Sudhir

Translator: Besiana Zekaj Reviewer: Helena Bedalli Cigarettes are not good for health. This is not new, we have known about the dangers of smoking for many decades. But how exactly do cigarettes harm us? Let's see what happens when these substances enter our body, and what happens when we quit smoking. With each suction, we inject over 5000 chemicals into our body. From the beginning, tar, a black, resinous material begins to cover teeth and gums, damaging tooth enamel and consequently destroying teeth. Over time, smoking also damages the nerve endings in the nose, causing loss of the ability to distinguish scents. Inside the airways and lungs, smoking increases the susceptibility to infections, and chronic diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema. It does this by damaging the cells found in the cells of these organs. Which are small structures in the form of threads whose task is to keep the airways clean. Then fill the alveoli. Alveoli are small sacs filled with air enabling the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the blood. A toxic gas called carbon monoxide penetrates this membrane and passes into the bloodstream, thus binding to hemoglobin and by displacing oxygen which would normally have to circulate throughout the body. This is one of the reasons why smoking leads to oxygen deprivation and shortness of breath. In 10 seconds, blood circulation carries to the brain a stimulant called nicotine, which causes the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain including endorphins that create the feeling of pleasure which makes smoking addictive. Nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes cause narrowing of blood vessels over time and damage the endothelium of blood vessels thus impeding blood circulation. These changes cause the wall of blood vessels to thicken and increase platelet adhesion, this helps in the formation of blood clots and promote heart attack. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes promote dangerous mutations in the DNA of our body and this causes cancer to develop. Tobacco ingredients like Arsenic and Nickel may interrupt the DNA repair process, and impair our body’s ability to fight cancer. In fact in the US, one in three deaths from cancer as a cause they had smoking. Smoking does not only cause lung cancer. It can also cause cancer in many tissues and organs, impair vision and weaken bones. It is more difficult for women to get pregnant. And for men, it can cause erectile dysfunction. But people who quit smoking, have many benefits immediate. 20 minutes after smoking cessation, heartbeat and blood pressure begin to return to normal. After 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels begin to stabilize increasing the blood's capacity to carry oxygen. One day after quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack decreases with decreased blood pressure and normalization of heart rate. After two days, the nerve endings responsible for the sensation of odors and flavors begin to regain their function. The lungs heal one month after quitting smoking, with reduction of cough and normalization of breathing. Which are found in the lungs and airways begin to return to function after a few weeks, and fully recover after 9 months, increasing resistance to infections. After a year of quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease is reduced by half while improving vascular function. After five years, greatly reduces the risk of blood clots forming, also of heart attack. After 10 years, the risk of developing lung cancer decreases up to 50%. This is due to the body's ability to repair damaged DNA. After 15 years, the possibility of developing coronary heart disease is almost the same as that of non-smokers. This is known to be not easy to achieve. Quitting smoking causes anxiety and depression, as a consequence of nicotine withdrawal. Thankfully, these effects are temporary. Quitting smoking is becoming easier every day thanks to the development of numerous opportunities to achieve this. Nicotine replacement therapy through the use of chewing gum, adhesive bandages on the skin, tablets, and sprays helps to quit smoking. They function as stimulants for nicotine receptors in the brain and thus inhibit the development of the appearance of nicotine withdrawal symptoms without the use of harmful chemical substances. Advising support groups, cognitive therapy, physical activity also helps. This is good news, because quitting smoking helps you stay healthy again.

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