|Why Is Smoking Unhealthy?|
Smoking may be legal in Canada, but that doesn't mean it's good for us! In fact, it's just the opposite: smoking is the only legal consumer product that kills you when you use it exactly how it's meant to be used! That's pretty scary, isn't it?
Cigarettes are made from tobacco. The tobacco plant is the only plant ever discovered to contain the drug called nicotine. Nicotine is a very strong poison that can kill a human in less than an hour if even a small amount is injected into the blood-stream. Tobacco smoke contains very tiny amounts of nicotine that aren't deadly, but are still very bad for our health.
Tobacco smoke also contains many other chemicals. In fact, it contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are very harmful to our bodies. All of these chemicals mix together and form a sticky tar . It's the tar that gives cigarette smoke it's smell and colour. The tar sticks to clothing, skin, and the insides of our lungs!
Tar is very dangerous inside our lungs. It sticks to the cilia in our lungs that are responsible for cleaning out germs and dirt. If the cilia are covered in tar, they can't work right, and germs and dirt can stay in the lungs and cause diseases.
The damage tar does to your cilia is only the beginning. The tar and smoke are made up of many chemicals that are known to cause cancer, as well as many chemicals that are just plain bad for you. Just a few of these chemicals are:
With the nicotine and tar working together, there are a lot of bad diseases linked to smoking cigarettes. Diseases like throat cancer, mouth cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, COPD (includes two major breathing diseases: chronic broncitis and emphysema), and heart disease are all caused by smoking.
In fact 38,000 Canadians die each year from diseases caused by smoking. Each cigarette you smoke takes 5 to 8 minutes off your life. Is it worth it? The following famous people died from smoking:
Unfortunately, even if you don't smoke, you can still get sick from tobacco smoke. If you breathe the smoke from another person's cigarette, it's as bad as if you were smoking the cigarette yourelf! This smoke is called second-hand smoke and it kills hundreds of people each year in Canada. If your parents smoke, you have a greater chance of getting ear infections, asthma, bronchitis, and tonsillitis.
Children who are exposed to smoke all their lives have underdeveloped lungs, and they are two to four times as likely to have allergic reactions and asthma than children of non-smokers. Smoke-free public places is the norm now!
Look around outside. There are cigarette butts everywhere! Do you know that it takes more than 5 years for a cigarette butt to biodegrade? That means that it takes at least 5 years for the cigarette butts to break down, unless someone cleans them up. Gross!
People are starving all over the world. If the land used to grow tobacco was used to grow food instead, we could feed another 10 to 20 million people! What do you think is the better thing to grow?