Aspect of My Health that I Would Like to Change: Smoking
Published 22 Mar 2017
All of us are only entitled to live our lives only once. It is just ironic why many individuals have habits that shorten their lives, that is regardless if they are living depressed or happy lives. Out of the long list of life-shortening habits, smoking is the most resounding and notorious in the list. Even the smokers themselves view the habit of smoking as harmful. Smoking even belongs in the list of the top causes of death practically everywhere in the world. But despite of its reputation as a top unhealthy habit, most smokers find it difficult to withdraw from their addiction. Smoking’s grip is not just because of the addictive chemicals in cigarettes like nicotine. Addiction to smoking is a double-edged dilemma. The act itself is addictive for smokers, like holding a cigarette and puffing out smoke.
As a smoker trying to shake off the bad habit, I have come across three articles that would be of much help. All of the articles are focusing on the subject of smoking and its impacts. The selection that is complied and summarized in this paper does not have any biases. Most articles about smoking are advocates against the act of smoking in general. That is why there is an article here that is an article here that is laying out the benefits of smoking. The purpose of the inclusion of a pro-smoking article is for us to have a better understanding of smokers. That is in-line with the thinking that an unbiased approach to the topic at hand would lead us to a more favorable result.
Summary of the Articles
First Article: Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases
The article aims to show that smoking not only affects one’s respiratory system but other systems and parts of the body as well such as the heart. The American Heart Association then explains how smoking contributes to the build-up of fats in the arteries which is a common and leading cause of heart attacks and stroke. Smoking is also included in the six major factors that serve as an agent to increase the risk of getting a coronary heart disease, together with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol, and physical inactivity. In addition, inhaling cigarettes smoke also has bad effect in and damage to the brain and nerves in the body. It also helps in the formation of aortic aneurysm and peripheral arterial disease. Those women taking oral contraceptives and at the same time smoke are also included in the list of people who will be affected. Lastly, the article clears the issue regarding secondhand or passive smoking. According to the text, thousands of premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases were caused by primary smokers. Although these people do not smoke, they suffer through other people.(American Hear Association)
Second Article: Smoking and the Environment
The second article focuses on the relationship between smoking and the environment. In the said article, the effects of smoking in the environment were enumerated and explained. Growing and producing tobacco and cigarettes require large amounts of certain fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other substances that are proven to be carcinogenic and dangerous to one’s health. These chemicals are not only harmful to human health, but also to the well-being of the environment. These chemicals running off from the plantations can also contaminate water supplies. Growing tobaccos is also one of the leading causes for deforestation that can contribute to flash flood and soil erosion. In addition, the paper being used for cigarette and tobacco wrapping and packaging is too large which can cause forest problems. Finally, the article reiterates the problem of cigarette littering. Littering cigarette butts is a serious environmental problem which is clearly seen among countries nowadays. It directly affects the environment it takes five years for cigarettes butts to break down. (UNIONSAFE)
Third Article: The Benefits of Smoking
While the first two articles talk about the bad effects of smoking in one’s health and environment, the third article does the opposite. The article aims to provide the readers the good side of being a smoker. The article enumerates these benefits focusing mainly on the psychological aspect, rather the physical. According to the text, smoking helps a person to cope with stress, combat depression and loneliness, fight boredom, enjoy and relax, gain focus, and lose weight. Other useful information was also mentioned in the article. For example, the nicotine found in the cigarettes is an anti- depression and anti- anxiety agent. In simpler terms, nicotine is the active agent that is responsible of keeping smokers awake and active as it gives that extra boost. The nicotine in the smoke also contributes for one’s brain to feel better through a certain chemical reaction. In addition, the puffing of a cigarette serves as a breathing exercise. The article states that one cigarette a day can also burn three hundred calories. It appears that a potential benefits from smoking are what leads some individuals to smoke.
(the quit smoking center)
Similarities and Differences
Three articles all tackle about the effects of smoking. The first one relates how smoking affects the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular system, the second tells how growing, producing, and smoking tobaccos and cigarettes puts the environment in danger, and the last article imparts how smoking gives benefits and positive side effects to a person.
In addition, all three articles state facts and figures that were based on studies regarding smoking. The first article focus mainly on health studies while the second and the third one emphasizes environmental and psychological studies respectively.
The three articles also share the same target readers or audience. They all want to appeal to the smoking population. The first article was written to inform people who smoke about the effects of their practice to their health.
The second article also appeals to the smoking population, both users and producers of cigarettes and tobacco, that smoking is indeed highly dangerous to the environment. The last article, on one hand, informs them the benefits of it.
It is noted that all three articles were written and came from groups or organizations concerned with the issues in smoking, making it appear that nowadays, more and more people are beginning to take part and show their stand regarding the matter.
On the other hand, the three articles can also be viewed different from one another. In terms of purpose, the first and the second articles share he common objective—that is to provide the bad effects of smoking into one’s body and to the environment. As compared to them, the last article carries an opposite objective. It tries to enumerate the positive side of smoking and gives the readers, especially those people who smoke a feeling that cigarettes and tobacco is not really and purely dangerous to their health. It is rather helpful especially when one is having trouble psychologically.
All the three articles have laid out to us the effects of smoking, both negative and positive ones. Perhaps the next step that we have to take is to analyze the significance of those effects.
Although there are benefits that an individual can reap from smoking, does that mean that the irrefutable negative effects would be balanced out? At this point, we move back to the more broad discussion of an individual’s life. Shortening one’s life is never a good price to pay for the handful of benefits that an individual can reap from smoking. In a sense, smoking becomes a self-inflicted slow suicide.
We must all remember that all of us would never run out of reasons for living. There are countless reasons for living like family, career, art, science, a dog, the list just goes on. Individuals who are addicted to smoking are seeking benefits are just seeking alibis for doing something that is undeniably negative. But we should not view smokers in a negative manner. Negative stereotypes of smokers would range from being weak, the least, and at worst as bad people. As a person who is trying to quit smoking, I truly emphasize with all smokers. As a proposed solution to the dilemma, we should help smokers seek, not alibis, but cure. And just like the problem at hand, the solution would also need to be double-edged. The smokers should also be willing to accept the help that they would receive. And to somehow help with the global problem of smoking addiction, I would start to change that negative aspect of my health. I would try to quit smoking with the mentality that to change the world, I would first need to try change myself.
- American Heart Association. Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases.
- Union Safe. Smoking and the Environment.