The majority of smokers use smoking as a relaxant, this ability to suppress stress many simply be the ability of the nicotine to suppress the hyperactive withdrawal symptoms already present in the nicotine addicted individual. It is however, known that the vascular-neurological stimulating properties of nicotine does indeed let individuals experience an increase in the mental stimulation and it also bolsters their hand-to-eye coordination - this is not a lasting effect however, and disappears when the source of nicotine is removed.
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A spike or increase in the blood pressure and the heart rate is possibly connected to the "high" that smoking gives a smoker, smoking also probably leads to an increase in the synthesis of fatty acids, different steroids, all kinds of hormones, and many types of neurotransmitters within the body.
The effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are mimicked by the nicotine, this leads to an improvement in the levels of alertness, in memory, and in the learning capacity of the individual.
Nicotine also stimulates the release of stress hormones nor epinephrine and the brain "happiness" chemicals called endorphins - this may lead to a better balance of the person's moods and possibly lead to an increase in the energy levels as well. Smoking also increases the release of glycogen by the liver and this release must induce a very satisfying increase in the blood sugar levels of the person.
For the weight conscious, certain benefits may accrue from smoking - as it is supposed to lead to a reduction in the appetite and also blunts the taste of food, smoking a cigarette often staves off hunger. The average smoker, for this reason weighs six to eight pounds less compared to the average nonsmoker for this reason.
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The alkaloid nicotine acts as a mild stimulant on the central nervous system and also stimulates the cardiovascular system strongly at the same time. Nicotine enters the body and causes blood vessels to constrict, this increases the blood pressure and results in a stimulation of the heart, and the alkaloid also raises the levels of fat in the bloodstream.
The liquid form of nicotine is a lethal and powerful poison; even a single drop of this pure liquid would be lethal if injected into the human body. However, this compound nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes and it is not the smoke, that keeps people on cigarettes - the worst affects of cigarettes however, arise from the smoking itself as the smoke contains a veritable cocktail of chemicals which start to affect the person over the long period of time.
As the person continues to smoke, the early and initial irritating symptoms caused by nicotine slowly progressed to more chronic irritations and symptoms - the person continues to smoke only because by this time, he or she has unfortunately developed physiological and psychological dependence for nicotine. As an indication of how hard it is to quit smoking, many individuals who were addicted to heroine and other powerful medications have usually pointed out that nicotine is the hardest drug to quit - this has a lot of truth in it.
The chemical cocktail present in cigarette smoke is a toxic combination of many lethal gases such as the poisonous carbon monoxide, the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide, and oxides of nitrogen and sulfur along with tars - among the four thousand or so estimated chemicals are found phenols and acetone and other compounds as well.
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The manufacturing process is actually responsible for the introduction of some of these chemical agents in the tobacco present in the cigarette or the cigar. The curing process of tobacco had been carried out in a natural way - usually it was grown and then dried for the past so many centuries it has been smoked.
The negative effects of smoking have really started to zoom up since the last century, when a lot of chemicals found their way into the tobacco via the modern manufacturing and curing processes. The use of natural cured tobacco has a much lesser chance of causing cancer and other cardiovascular diseases than the use of processed tobacco according to recent research done on tobacco use and its implication for health.
The chemicals present in many of the pesticides that are used during the cultivation of tobacco plants and the chemicals added to the tobacco for a better burning rate or a different taste are some of the many dangers inherent in the modern day processed tobacco found in cigarettes.
The increase in the toxicity of modern cured tobacco is also related to sugar curing and rapid flue drying that occurs during the manufacturing processes. During the manufacturing process, yet another toxic hydrocarbon is loaded into the tobacco when the kerosene used in the heat drying seeps into the tobacco.
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The risks from cigarette smoking can be appreciably reduced if natural tobacco is used in the cigarette. An indication of chemical treatment can be roughly measured in a cigarette, if it does not go out when it is left for sometime on the ashtray.
Heavy metals such as cadmium are the other toxic compounds found in cigarettes - this metal can affect the functioning of the kidneys, the arteries, and lead to a rise in the blood pressure of the person. Other heavy metals such as lead, the poisonous metal arsenic and cyanide, along with nickel are also found in cigarette smoke.
Also present is the chemical known as Dioxin, which is the most toxic pesticide chemical known at present - tobacco in cigarettes is known to contain this chemical along with another pesticide called acetonitrile. The carcinogenic nitrosamines form in the body tissues as a result of the entry of so many nitrogen gases and nitrous compounds.
Compounds called polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are also found in the tar present in the smoke, these are carcinogenic substances which will bind to the DNA at the cellular level and bring damage to the tissues. The use of supplements such as the vitamin C, in the form of a combined antioxidant therapy along with other nutrients will help protect the person against the worst effects of PAH and nitrosamines present in the smoke.
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Cigarette smoke also contains some types of radioactive materials, the most common and prominent being the element polonium-radioactive substances can turn into serious health issues for the smoker. Indeed, according to several medical authorities, the greatest source of radiation seem to arise from cigarettes, radioactive substance are a very strong aging factor and induce early aging in the individual.
The radioactive exposure to radiation of a typical smoker smoking about one and a half packs may equal to 300 chest x-rays taken every year. Another chemical called acetaldehyde, which is taken in with the smoke, can also bring on rapid aging-this compound in particular affects the skin of the person. The chemical affects the cross linking bonds in the tissues-these bonds are what hold tissues together at the organ level.
Many levels of addiction and different forms of addiction exist for any given individual. Social smokers are among the least addicted smoke as they only tend to smoke socially at parties or get together with their friends. Such smokers also tend to smoke only at certain times of the day or week and not every day - thus this group of smokers is at the least risk of being affected by the cigarette smoke.
Those who smoke to allay stress and anxiety are the next group of smokers, such individual may smoke at work, this group of smokers also includes individual who may quit for sometime and then have started again periodically over a period of years. The smokers in both these two groups of smokers will typically find it easier to cut down on their consumption of cigarettes or quit smoking altogether.
A strong physical and psychological addiction or dependence of nicotine develops only in those smokers who smoke all their waking hours smokers - this last group of smokers will typically have a very hard time quitting the habit. Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, or a persistent headache quickly beings to affect such individual if they go even an hour without smoking.
The physical symptoms are much less intense than the psychological factors in most cases-psychological dependence in the most problematic aspect of nicotine addiction. A strong addiction to smoking can be inferred in an individual if he or she smokes two or more packs every day. For any successful departure from the habit, the person will most likely require both medical and psychological support over a long period of time.
There is no such thing as a safe cigarette - whatever the current marketing hype about low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes suggest is largely unfounded-milder cigarettes are not necessarily safer. Indeed, the effects of some of the newer "lights" may probably be worse in the long term than the effects of regular cigarettes - normally the smokers of such lighter cigarettes inhale deeper and smoke more frequently to satisfy the need for nicotine, this balances everything out.
In addition, many of these low-nicotine cigarettes, contain more carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen gases-these brings about an increase in the oxygen deficit, results in problems such as heart disease, and the lung damage associated with long term smoking. The best deal for smokers is a high-nicotine, low-tar containing cigarette - this will contain the same amount of nicotine and the smoker will only smoke from time to time.
Getting nicotine to the body without the need for smoking is an even better idea. This is followed in the use of nicotine gum which is an effective aid to smokers wanting to quit, in addition, to gum, the use of nicotine skin patches is also undertaken in smoking-cessation programs - smokeless tobacco is another option traditionally used by nicotine addicts who do not have the time to smoke.
While some long term dangers exist with these options, they are on the whole much better then smoking a cigarette or cigar. The good thing about this option is that the smoke and smoke borne chemicals which are the secondary effects of cigarettes is eliminated and with it much of the dangers associated with cigarette smoking.