We see at least 5-10 people smoking (in the office, in a train, on the road, outside the grocery stores, at the movies and where not!) a cigarette or a cigar in a normal day. There were reportedly 46 million people smoking in 2008 only in USA. That’s about 1 in every 5! These numbers were reported by Center for Disease Control and Prevention which is a huge organization that maintains many departments concerned with safety and health.
If about 20% of the population is addicted to something, it is actually very much mandatory for everyone to learn about what is smoking? How people get addicted to smoking? What are the health and psychological effects of smoking? How people try to get rid of smoking? What are the side-effects of quitting smoking? There are many other things that we need to know like these. Today’s post discusses what smoking is? What gives smoking its addictive nature? and What are the social impacts of smoking and a very brief history of smoking.
What is smoking?
Smoking is an act in which tobacco or other forms of it are is burned and then the smoke is inhaled. Some people also directly chew tobacco. But that falls into a different category of tobacco usage. Tobacco is nothing but a processed product of the leaves of plants that fall into the genus of Nicotiana.
What makes smoking addictive?
The main product in Tobacco that makes smoking so addictive is the compound called Nicotine. A variety of plants have Nicotine which is a neurotoxin that is supposed to only affect insects. But, because of the higher concentrations of nicotine present in Tobacco, it is poisonous to humans.
Brief history and social impact of cigarette smoking
Smoking is something that has been prevalent since 5000 BC. The exploration of various sailors and invasions of various countries and kingdoms has made the diversification and much rapid expansion of the ‘smoking empire’. While some countries were chewing on tobacco, some smoked it. Wars, trade routes, cultural or traditional expansions between countries made it possible for the habits to be shared. Then both forms of usage of tobacco prevailed, specific sects favoring one form to the other.
Some believe smoking to be sinful and a hideous act while some believe smoking to be something only high class, rich, and affluent people could habituate. Until late 19 to early 20th centuries, smoking was considered only to be done by men in many countries. Slowly high class women started smoking and since, it has affected a wide range of ages and sex. Adolescents fall prey thinking that it is stylish or posh to smoke and slowly get addicted.
Even though there has been an ever-increasing awareness as to what are the health effects of smoking, there are still more than a billion people as of today that are slaves to this smoking.