About Tobacco

Tobacco products, like chew, cigars and the most commonly abused cigarettes are made from the tobacco plant, which is grown in the south. Tobacco contains the highly addictive drug, nicotine. According to a recent study by the department of health and human services, Smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year. That is more death than aids, car crashes, suicide, homicide, fires and illegal drugs combined! On average, men who smoke cut their lives short by 13.2 years, and female smokers lose 14.5 years. Yet 50 Million Americans still smoke today. Even scarier is that the fastest growing generation of smokers is teens. Today in the U.S. 6,000 teens will light up for the first time, 3,000 will become regular smokers, and 1,000 of them will die early due to smoking. This is all in one day! Even knowing all of these statistics, people give in to peer pressure and start, and then they can't quit.


The short-term effects of smoking include:

  • Bad breath
  • stained teeth
  • coughing, harder to breath
  • clothes, hair and body smell
  • higher risk of hypothermia (if its cold out)
  • easy to become addicted

The long-term effects include:

  • Many types of cancer
  • Damaged lungs. Lungs take 25-30 years to completely heal (depending on how much you smoked)
  • Asthma
  • Trouble breathing
  • Higher risk of catching respiratory infections and diseases.
  • Mouth or throat rot
  • Yellow, wrinkly skin
  • Early sings of aging
  • Shorter overall life span
To the left is a healthy human lung, to the right a smokers lung.

Nicotine is a stimulant that increases blood pressure, and speeds the central nervous system. With every puff of a cigarette the smoker breathes in 43 known cancer causing chemicals, directly to the blood stream. When tobacco products are burned they produce a black, sticky fluid called tar. Tar is what gives cigarettes and cigars their flavor, but it also kills the cilia in the lungs. The cilia are little hairlike projectiles that wave back and forth to clean the inside of the lung. Without them the tar can't be removed and it stays in the lungs. It can't be removed until the cilia regenerate, and the cilia can't regenerate until the smoker quits. Carbon monoxide, is a poisonous chemical found in car exhaust. It is so poisonous that many people use it for suicide, by running cars in enclosed areas for a period of time, breathing the deadly fumes. Carbon monoxide is found in cigarette smoke. It attaches to red blood cells, and oxygen can't, to the body is deprived of oxygen while smoking.

Smokeless Tobacco or chew isn't smoked, but is chewed. It is less dangerous then cigarettes of coarse but you are sill carries many of the same risks. It still has nicotine and is addictive. It rots teeth, gums and the lips and mouth, and has a high risk of mouth cancer. Chew also contains tiny shards of glass in it. The glass cuts the lower lip, where you put the pinch. This allows the tobacco to be absorbed faster, straight to the blood stream.

Beware of adds that advertise low tar or low nicotine. All cigarettes have about the same amount of tar, and other poisons. Because the low nicotine have less of the drug in them, you need to smoke more that usual to get the same effect, so in the long run its even worse for you. There is no safe way to use tobacco.


Here are some sites with more info about tobacco and how to quit. Smokefree.gov www.quitsmoking.com