Cigarette smoking is one of the challenges that is increasing morbidity and mortality rates in the contemporary world. The habit usually starts during the teenage years since the adolescents want to identify with a specific social group. Others smoke cigarettes due to stress and personal issues. It is astonishing that many people start to smoke despite being aware of the detrimental impacts on them, their children, and those around them. Smoking a single cigarette can lead to a craving for another one, a situation that can create addiction. Health officials and researchers have successfully explained the harmful effects of smoking (Heydari et al., 2014). The habit leads to a wide range of problems, including short-term and long-term effects and most importantly, it is hazardous to unborn babies. Different entities have tried to establish a lasting solution to prevent smoking-related issues. While some claim that pharmacological treatments offer the best solutions to this predicament, other individuals indicate that developing anti-smoking laws can reduce cigarette smoking. Although controlling cigarette use through rules, regulations, and therapeutic approaches can lower smoking rates, the use of electronic cigarettes can effectively reduce and eliminate the habit.
Cigarette smoking creates a wide range of problems which could be prevented. They can be classified into three categories, including short-term difficulties, intermediate, and long-term issues. In addition, the habit brings subclinical health effects that are felt shortly after an individual has started smoking. They include the diminution of selected bioavailable antioxidant micronutrients, changed lipid profiles, various respiratory problems, such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, dyspnea, and addiction to nicotine (Mishra et al., 2015). These harmful effects weaken a smoker’s general wellbeing, leading to a condition referred to as diminished health. As a result, the person suffers from various conditions, such as increased inflammation, oxidative stress, and impaired immunity system, which are some of the reasons cigarette smoking should be controlled.
Smoking creates some short-impacts on the general physical well-being of a smoker. The habit impairs the entire health of the smoker, making the person vulnerable to other opportunistic illnesses, such as the ability to heal wounds, respiratory problems, and acute illnesses, among other conditions (Mishra et al., 2015). Reduced productivity is one of the markers of short-term effects on a smoker’s health. For instance, a teenage smoker will miss school, while an adult smoker will likely miss work. Therefore, the short-term effect of smoking brings an array of adverse health effects, which in turn sets a lifelong loophole for other illnesses compared to a person who has never smoked.
The Intermediate Effects
As individuals continue to smoke, they increase their susceptibility to developing other intermediate health impacts. The intermediate detrimental health impacts comprise health issues that are not attributable to smoking cigarette in the recent past but a prolonged period of smoking. For instance, the intermediate harmful effects usually stem from the immediate health impacts of smoking, such as utilization of medical resources, or could be related to the diagnosis, which is a precursor of more serious illnesses, including type 2 diabetes (Mishra et al., 2015). It is worth noting that if a person had stopped smoking, the chances of developing intermediate effects would be negligible. Because individuals who engage in smoking are at a higher risk of developing these hazardous health implications, it is important to create a solution to this predicament.
The story of Bill is worth sharing because it reveals the challenges related to cigarette smoking. Due to peer pressure, Bill smoked his first cigarette when he was 15 years old. He wished he could stop the habit, especially after realizing he had diabetes. Smoking only made the management of the condition difficult (Center for Disease Control, 2018). When he was 37 years old, one of his eyes lost sight due to his health condition, which was worsened by smoking. Two years later, he developed kidney failure, which was later followed by left leg amputation. Notably, smoking changed his health from bad to worse. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 42 years from a cardiovascular disease, which developed after various complications because of excessive smoking.
Long-term Implications of Smoking
Smoking contributes to a wide range of chronic diseases. Smoking brings a health burden that develops in middle and late adulthood. People who smoke for a long time are at high risk of developing various chronic diseases, such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and low heart rates, rheumatoid arthritis, bones related illnesses, and eye diseases, among other conditions (Mishra et al., 2015). Cessation of cigarette smoking would reduce the risks of developing various conditions. The initiative explains why developing proper preventive strategies would provide a breakthrough which would reduce the impact of cigarette smoking.
Electronic cigarettes are one of the most effective approaches to preventing the adverse effects of cigarette smoking. It would provide a safe and harmless way of smoking to smokers and non-smokers. It is worth noting that the traditional way of smoking cigarette is enhanced by simple combustion, where tobacco is lit to produce inhalable smoke when mixed with oxygen. This increases the chances of secondhand smoking, which is known to be more hazardous compared to firsthand smoking. In contrast, electronic cigarette heats a chemical liquid that contains nicotine and a flavoring agent. The heating creates an aerosol. Unlike in traditional cigarettes, the user is the only person who consumes this nicotine (In Stratton et al., 2018). Therefore, through the delivery of nicotine without tar and other by-products attributable to combustion, electronic cigarettes give smokers a healthier substitute while quenching their craving.
Furthermore, electronic cigarettes contain lower disease-causing agents. It is evident that the use of electronic cigarettes is a win-win practice. This is because they contain small amounts of cancer-causing agents such as benzene, formaldehyde, and arsenic compared to traditional cigarettes. Hence, individuals who smoke electronic cigarettes have lower rates of developing cancers of the lungs, which are common illnesses among people who smoke traditional tobacco. In addition, the amount of cancer-causing agents in electronic cigarettes are maintained at minimum levels. Therefore, if smokers switch from conventional cigarette smoking to the electronic one, the chances are that lung cancer rates would reduce significantly. Thus, the initiative offers another explanation of why adopting the use of electronic cigarettes would help prevent harmful effects of smoking.
Switching to electronic cigarettes would promote public health. Public health officials in some parts of the world favor electronic cigarettes. They believe that smoking electronic cigarettes is healthier for the entire public health as compared to regular smoking. Many diseases caused by smoke-contaminated air will reduce significantly if laws are enacted to control the use of the traditional method of smoking. Therefore, electronic cigarettes can be termed as one of the most promising public health innovations of the 21st century (In Stratton et al., 2018). Any government willing to enhance public health should ensure that traditional smoking methods are reduced while more electronic cigarettes are introduced in the market.
Another solution that would reduce the habit is restricting smoking in public places. Authorities have set aside sites for smoking purposes. Although this initiative has helped lower the impacts of secondhand smoking, it has also increased the number of smokers. Notably, regulating smoking in public has reduced the number of people who inhale toxic tobacco smoke in public places (Carr, 2018). However, this rule only applies to public places but not in homes and apartments. It is worth noting that smokers use designated areas during the daytime, but expose their children and neighbors to secondhand smoking in the evening, which explains why setting designated areas for smoking will not reduce cigarette smoking in the future, leaving electronic smoking as the most valid solution to deal with the issue.
The use of pharmacological therapy is another possible solution that can solve the issue of smoking. Various options have been made available to traditional smokers through the efforts of both the scientists and researchers. They include the prescription of nicotine in an inhaler or nasal spray, lozenges, and patches that can be purchased over the counter, and other medications, such as bupropion (Zyban) and Chantix, also known as varenicline (In Stratton et al., 2018). Although these medications help lower nicotine cravings for individuals wishing to quit smoking, they only deter the habit for a short time. Therefore, electronic smoking can solve this issue by replacing conventional cigarette smoking.
My grandmother was one of the chain smokers I have ever come across. She once narrated a story of how she gave birth to a premature and underweight child who spent three weeks in a hospital incubator, to die soon after discharge. Notably, if she did not quit smoking five years ago, I would have recommended that she switches to electronic smoking since it is less harmful, friendly to the environment, and has mild or no smell compared to the traditional smoking. Although opponents of electronic smoking might assert that the use of nicotine is harmful, whether used through traditional approaches or electronic methods, the effects of nicotine to an electronic smoker are of a lesser magnitude compared to conventional smokers.
As it is palpable from the discussion above, smoking is considered as one of the major causes of increased rates of morbidity and mortality across the globe. Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other disease-causing agents produced by cigarette smoking threaten to jeopardize the health and wellness of individuals and societies at large. Pregnant women are the most affected by this behavior since smoking can lead to low birth weights, which increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome, as witnessed in my grandmother’s case. Therefore, switching to electronic smoking would assist in preventing the detrimental effects of cigarette smoking on both firsthand and secondhand smokers.
Carr, A. (2018). Allen Carr’s easy way for women to quit smoking. London: Sirius Publishing.
Center for Disease Control. 2018. Bill’s Story. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/stories/bill.html
Heydari, G., Masjedi, M., Ahmady, A. E., Leischow, S. J., Lando, H. A., Shadmehr, M. B., & Fadaizadeh, L. (2014). A comparative study on tobacco cessation methods: A quantitative systematic review. International journal of preventive medicine, 5(6), 673-678.
In Stratton, K. R., In Kwan, L. Y., In Eaton, D. L., & National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (U.S.). (2018). Public health consequences of e-cigarettes. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Mishra, A., Chaturvedi, P., Datta, S., Sinukumar, S., Joshi, P., & Garg, A. (2015). Harmful effects of nicotine. Indian Journal of Medical And Paediatric Oncology: Official Journal of Indian Society of Medical & Paediatric Oncology, 36(1), 24-31.