The Surgeon General Regina Benjamin declared on December 9, 2010 that smoking can kill. We all have known this for many years back in the 1970s when C.Evert Coop was the Surgeon General. What’s new in this report is how damaging cigarette smoking can be to a person, particularly a heart patient. “In someone with heart disease, one cigarette can cause a heart attack.” This makes cigarette smoking as harmful as a gunshot to the heart.
Until this report came out, this degree of potency was never previously declared.
What makes cigarettes so much more harmful than decades ago?
Cigarettes primary ingredient is Nicotine, a highly addictive drug that causes the heart rate to go up and causes the heart to contract more vigorously. It acts as a stimulant like caffeine. But it has harmful effects on the heart as well as the lungs. In fact, all the organs of the body are negatively affected by cigarette smoke. Cigarettes in recent years have been redesigned to maximize the delivery of Nicotine in as minimum period of time.
How has this been accomplished?
Ammonia added to tobacco converts the nicotine into a form that gets to the brain faster.
Filter holes that allow people to inhale smoke deeply into the lungs without coughing.
Sugar and “moisture enhancers” to reduce the burning sensation of smoking. This enhances the pleasure of smoking especially for new cigarette smokers.
If nicotine and all the other toxic and carcinogenic ingredients in cigarettes can be delivered in just one puff, its no wonder that smoking just one cigarette (15 to 20 puffs) can cause a heart attack!
This report does not come as news to most Heart Doctors. How? Nicotine and its neurostimulants cause disruption of the lining of the inside of the coronary artery. Nicotine can also promote clot formation therby leading to a heart attack. The main mechanism of heart attack is the formation of clot inside of a coronary artery whose lining is damaged and therby allows lipids and foreign substances to be exposed to blood. Blood then clots in response. Clotting outside in the skin is good so you don’t bleed out from a nick or cut. But clotting inside a closed space like a coronary artery can entirely occlude an artery therby causing a heart attack.
Its been known that smoking ciagarettes can increase the risk of heart attack in patient with known coronary artery disease by four to five fold over those heart patients that don’t smoke. This new report describes how cigarettes are now redesigned to maximize the exposure of nicotine in as short of time as possible therfy accelerating the risk of heart attack even more than we had previously thought.
Nicotine is highly addictive and therefore very difficult to quit. With the help of your Doctor, use Nicotine substitutes such as gum or patch and quit smoking. If you’re a heart patient, smoking cigarettes is like putting a loaded gun to your head. No amount of medications can ameliorate or negate the effect of inhaled Nicotine. There are counceling programs available. In the State of California there is a stop smoking help line: 1-800-NO-BUTTS.
The harmful effects of cigarettes are not limited just to the one holding the cigarettes. Everyone around the smoker inhales the smoke. It’s the smoke in the cigarettes that contain the Nicotine, ammonia and other carcinogenic substances. Cigarette smoke affecting others around the primary smoker is termed Second Hand Smoking.
Don’t smoke around children especially because they are also adversely affected by the substances emitted from cigarettes. They can get premature asthma, bronchitis. Cigarette smoke can effect their brain and vascular tissue as well. Childrens’ organs are especially sensitive because they are still growing and developing. Children and others can be affected even if you don’t smoke in front of them. Consider this: the ventilation system blows cigarette smoke through your apartments ventilation duct into another apartment in which children and others are present. This cigarettes smoke penetrates other peoples’ lungs as well as furniture, clothing and anything else in the room. Have you ever walked into a room where a person was smoking? You instantly know with one breath that the room was occupied by a smoker. Everything reeks of cigarette smoke; the curtains, the bed linen, the carpet and even the towels. These toxic substances emitted from cigarette smoke penetrate every fabric and can thus emit them slowly over time long after the smoker has left the room. This is called Third hand smoking.
Here are some sobering statistics for you to consider before you consider picking up your next cigarette:
1 in 5: deaths are attributed to tobacco annually.
443,000 Americans are killed by tobacco per year.
$193 billion: is the annual cost in health care and lost productivity in the US due to cigarette smoking.
4,100 teenagers smoke their first cigarette each day.
85% of Lung Cancers are due to cigarette smoking.
In short, if you’re a heart patient, don’t smoke. If you are not a heart patient, don’t smoke around others: they could be heart patients.