Essay, Research Paper: Tobacco Smoke

Alcohol and Drugs

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Did you know that most people are at the risk of dying from just breathing the
air around them? Every day at least ninety-five percent of American people
suffer from (E.T.S.) Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or more commonly known as
second hand smoke. For those that are not familiar with what second hand smoke
is let me explain it to you. Second hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke exhaled
by smokers and the smoke that comes from the burning ends of cigarettes, cigars,
and pipes. This smoke contains about 4,000 substances in which about fifty
percent of these toxic substances can cause cancer and other bodily problems.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke has been a problem for many years, but through
intense research from many physicians, non-smokers are finally getting the
respect they deserve. Smokers now have to smoke outside of public places. While
some non-smokers ignore the dangers involved with tobacco smoke others are
struggling to live another day. Environmental Tobacco Smoke is made up of both a
gas phase and a particulate phase. Together they include more than 4,000
substances. Automatic tobacco-puffing machines have been invented to collect and
to study the smoke. In recent years studies have shown us the most hazardous of
these chemicals. Tar is considered the deadliest of all the substances. Other
chemicals found in tobacco smoke that are hazardous to us are carbon monoxide,
carbon dioxide, carboxyhemoglobin, and nicotine (Mendelson and Mello 33-35).
During the burning process of tobacco the tip of the burning cone (the center of
the pipe, cigarette, and or cigar) reaches a temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees
Fahrenheit during a puff. This tiny blast furnace results in a miniature
chemical plant, which uses the hundreds of available materials to produce many
more. In fact, some of the most important part of tobacco smoke (including tar
and carbon monoxide) are not even present in an unburned phase of a tobacco
product, but rather are produced when a puff is taken (Mendelson and Mello
37-38). Other studies have shown that indoor environmental tobacco smoke changes
the tobacco substance in the gas phase. As tobacco smoke is discharged into an
indoor environment, diluted, re-circulated within and vented from the indoor
environment, changes occur in both its chemical makeup phases. Making the gas
phase substance more harmful than being in a outdoor environment (Ecobichon and
Wu 3-4). Tobacco products produce two kinds of smoke, mainstream and sidestream.
Mainstream smoke is the smoke that smokers inhale into their lungs. Sidestream
smoke is the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. The average smoker inhales ten
two-second puffs of mainstream smoke from the tobacco product they are smoking.
As the cigarette, pipe, or cigar sits it releases waves of sidestream smoke into
the air. According to some scientists, sidestream smoke is even more dangerous
than mainstream smoke. In a recent article produced by the Iowa Medical Society
it states that sidestream smoke contains five times the carbon monoxide, three
times the tar and nicotine, and up to fifty times the number of carcinogens
found in mainstream smoke. A study reported by the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences confirms that second-hand smoke contains up to
fifty times more carcinogens (Ling et al. 92). Carcinogens are described in the
Webster's dictionary as being a substance that produces a malignant tumor, or
cancer in a living cell (Landoll et al. 71). In today's society people are aware
that tobacco smoke is unhealthy, but most choose not to become concerned with
what this chemical does to their bodies. With the amount of smokers in today's
society, Environmental Tobacco Smoke has diluted are air with thousands of
chemicals that causes severe damage to both our inner and exterior body
components. Doctor Ameron of Atlanta Georgia writes that six out of ten
non-smokers will end up with reduced lung functioning and or upper or lower
respiratory problems. According to Ameron, secondhand smoke is even more
dangerous than mainstream smoke. He also states that breathing tobacco smoke can
aggravate the condition of people with allergies or with lung, heart, or
respiratory problems. Sufferers with chronic bronchitis and emphysema, for
instance, are made extremely uncomfortable by severe air pollution. Yet the
levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants in smoke-filled rooms may be as
high or higher than those that occur during air pollution emergencies (Berger
81-87). According to a Health Advocate Magazine, research from different
physicians show that Environmental Tobacco Smoke can cause severe heart
conditions, and assorted respiratory problems by being exposed to the smoke for
a period of time. Even perfectly healthy people are affected by second-hand
smoke. Their heart rate, blood pressure, and the level of carbon monoxide in the
blood increase when they breathe in air full of tobacco smoke. Also, even after
nonsmokers leave a smoky room, it takes hours for the carbon monoxide to leave
their bodies. Unlike oxygen, which is breathed in and then out again in minutes,
carbon monoxide remains in the blood for long periods of time (Smith 27-29).
Passive smoking, involuntary smoking, secondary smoking, second-hand smoking-all
are terms that refer to nonsmokers who are forced to breathe in smoke from
smokers in the same room. The Surgeon General's reports stressed the health
effects of second-hand smoke, which can be as serious, or even more serious than
the effects of direct smoking (Cain 189-195) The amount of smoke taken in by
non-smokers should be considered. Major research projects conducted in the
United States, Japan, and Greece found that nonsmoking wives of smoking husbands
each day inhaled cigarette smoke equivalent to smoking six tobacco products by
themselves. Another researcher placed twenty-one smokers and twenty-eight
nonsmokers in a room. The smokers lit a cigarette every fifteen minutes for an
hour and a half. The figures showed that, if extended to eight hours, the
nonsmokers would have had as much smoke in their lungs as from smoking five
cigarettes (Hammond 212-215). The American Cancer Society in 1996 developed a
scientific research that shows the cause and number of deaths to nonsmokers in
one year for twenty-five different states. The calculations yield an estimated
United States annual total of 3,000 lung cancer deaths, 11,000 deaths from other
cancers, and 32,000 deaths from heart disease, giving a combined total of 46,000
deaths. Other research from the American Cancer Society estimate that a total of
sixty-one percent of male nonsmokers and seventy-six of female nonsmokers were
exposed to Environmental Tobacco smoke. Among these percentages the overall
exposure fractions were adjusted to give higher fractions at younger ages and
lower fractions at older ages. This indicates that younger individuals are more
exposed to Environmental Tobacco Smoke than older adults (Bender 58-76). During
a research that I created, I asked fifty nonsmoking adults (males, females) a
series of questions. The questions I asked were: When you are around second hand
smoke do you notice any discomforting problems? Do you find that the problems
you have due to secondhand smoke are worse in an indoor or outdoor environment?
Do you try to avoid associating yourself with smokers? Why? The majority
answered that second hand smoke causes their eyes to burn and they notice some
discomfort in their breathing to the first question. On the second question the
majority answered that second hand smoke effects them more when they are in a
secluded building. On the third question they all answered that they do try to
avoid smokers, but it is hard especially when the majority of people they deal
with at work, or in public places smoke. In the last question the individuals I
interviewed said that they do not want to die because of someone else's dirty
habits. I learned that people in some degree do understand the cautions involved
with second hand smoke. Nonsmokers find it to be disturbing when a smoker feels
comfortable to "light up" their cigarette without being respectful to
those that do not smoke. Study's show that Environmental tobacco smoke can cause
sever damage to adults, but the results to children are far more serious.
Research from the American Cancer Society show's the damages to an unborn baby
exposed to involuntary tobacco smoke. During pregnancy the number of heartbeats
per minute in the mother increases from approximately seventy to around ninety.
The rise in the number of contractions of the heart places an extra demand on
the heart muscle, thereby increasing its need for oxygen. The heart of the
fetus, which starts beating approximately ten weeks after conception, also has a
high rate of contraction at about one hundred and forty beats per minute. This
shows that a baby requires a lot of oxygen as well. Second-hand smoke as stated
in the same article can raise the number of heart beats to both the mother and
the unborn child. The result to this situation puts the fetus in great danger.
The fetus could die in the mother's womb, or the unborn child could be born with
serious birth conditions. For example, the newborn child could develop heart
problems, asthma, allergies, reduced lung functioning, spinal meningitis, or
emphysema. These problems a child could develop may only be short or a long-term
problem. Other studies show that a child under the age of three could die from
sudden infant death syndrome if exposed to environmental tobacco smoke for long
periods of time. Sudden infant death syndrome also called crib death is a
frightening condition in which apparently healthy, normal infants suddenly stop
breathing and die. Although scientists have not yet been able to pinpoint the
cause, they have found that a much higher percentage of babies of mothers who
smoked (seventy percent) died from crib death than did babies of nonsmoking
mothers (Fried 24-25). Another research formed by the American Heart Society
states that children of smoking parents are subject to an increased incidence of
all types of disease. According to one major study, in their first year of life,
babies of parents who smoke at home have a much higher chance of developing a
lung disease, specifically bronchitis and pneumonia (an inflammation caused by
bacteria, virus of the lungs, or irritation), than babies with nonsmoking
parents. In comparison with older children and adults, babies have fewer
defenses against substances they inhale, including pollutants and germs (Oxhorn
55-57). A recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed
reduced lung functioning in children whose mother smoke cigarettes. There is
also evidence that once lung disease begins in childhood, it can continue and
even worsen over a lifetime. Other Scientific discoveries show that sixty-five
percent of children that live with parents who smoke have chronic learning
disabilities, and abnormal growth patterns. Researchers have recognized such
problems as these to be a leading cause of depression amongst teens; leading to
suicide (Lebowitz 171-172). In this research I have discussed the make up of
environmental tobacco Smoke and the damages it can cause to non-smoking adults
and children. It is clear that this deadly chemical is unhealthy to our everyday
lives. Second-hand smoke is harmful to our society, and will continue to be
unless we as people take a stand for our children and ourselves. Do not let this
hazardous material control your life. Avoid all types of tobacco smoke to assure
a healthy life for you and your families. This is one major step in making our
world a healthier place to live.

Bender, David et. al. Smoking: Current Controversies. Bender David. San Diego
California. September 23, 1995. 362.29. Berger, Gilda. Smoking Not Allowed: The
Debate. Business Week. "Office Smokers Feel the Heat," November 29,
1982. Daily News. "Smoking Bill Clouds the Issue," March 26, 1986.
Journal of the American Medical Association. "Nonsmokers' Rights," May
19, 1978. Journal of the Israel Medical Association. "Passive
Smoking," April 1, 1981. 362.29. Cain, W. et. al. Environmental Tobacco
Smoke: Sensory Reactions of Occupants. Atmospheric Environment. Massachusetts.
July 03,. 1988. 347.35. Ecobichon, Donald and Wu, Joseph. Environmental Tobacco
Smoke: Proceedings of the International Symposium at McGill University 1989.
McGill University: Montreal, Canada. November 3 and 4 1989. 616.86. Fried, Peter
and Oxorn, Harry. Smoking For Two: Cigarettes and Pregnancy. The Free Press.
"A Division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc." New York, New York.
Collier Macmillan Publishers. Canada. April 05, 1980. 618.32 Hammond, s. et al.
Collection and Analysis of Nicotine as a Marker for Environmental Tobacco Smoke.
New York, New York. October 15, 1992. 457.46. Landoll, Inc et. Al. Webster's
Dictionary: New Revised and Expanded Edition. Landoll Inc. Ashland, Ohio. 1993.
71. Lebowitz, M.D., and Holberg C.H. Effects of parental smoking and other risk
factors on the development of pulmonary function in children and adolescents.
Am. J. Epidemiol. Massachusetts/ Toronto. February 24, 1988. 982.47 Mendelson,
Jack and Mello, Nancy. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs: Nicotine an
Old-Fashioned Addiction. Chelsea House Publishers. New York, New York. 1985.
613.85. Sullum, Jacob. For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the
Tyranny of Public Health. The free press: New York, New York. April 12, 1998.

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