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An Outstanding Sample Research Paper About Smoking

Jean Nicot was ecstatic for two reasons! First he was returning to Paris after his tenure at the Spanish court as the French ambassador. Second, he was carrying a special gift for the royalty. The special gift was a wonder plant which the Spanish brought from the new found shores of America. They called it ‘Tab ac’! He couldn’t wait to introduce the plant with miraculous curative properties.

Jean Nicot became famous in France as the plant’s use spread like wildfire. Initially the plant was called Nicotina after him. Little did he know that the plant will be the cause of death for more than 7 million people every year, after a few centuries.

Nicotine (named after Jean Nicot) is the main component of cigarette smoke. It is a class of alkaloid found in tobacco leaves. It acts as a stimulant to the parasympathetic nervous system of our body. The chemical is also found in traces in other plants like eggplant, potato and tomatoes

Nicotine is highly addictive. It affects our body mainly as a stimulant and a relaxant. Its dual role induces a feeling of relaxation, calmness and also sharpness and alertness to the users. It increases the metabolism but curbs the appetite thus reducing body weight. An interesting feature of nicotine is that it changes from stimulant to sedative in high doses. Nicotine is lethal in very high doses.

Nicotine alone is least of our worries. Extensive studies on Nicotine couldn’t relate it directly with cancer or cardiovascular diseases, which are associated with smoking. The finger now points at the other components in a cigarette smoke.

Cigarette smoke contains about 4000 chemicals and at least 70 of them are carcinogenic. Apart from nicotine, the list includes deadly chemicals like:

  • Hydrogen cyanide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Ammonia
  • Radioactive elements like Uranium
  • Benzene
  • Nitrosamines
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

When a cigarette is lighted, all the chemicals present are inhaled to the lungs. There they mix with the blood and spread to the brain and rest of the body. An additional hazard is the chemicals which releases while burning the cigarette paper like Tar and Carbon Monoxide. Carbon Monoxide reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Tar stays in the lungs in the form of a sticky mass.

Alternatives like ‘E cigarettes’ and ‘Electronic Nicotine delivery Systems’ (ENDS) are more harmful. They don’t contain nicotine and other chemicals found in a normal cigarette but the aerosol contains several carcinogenic chemicals.

Smoking is addictive due to nicotine present and also because it is a dissociative activity. The act of getting a cigarette out, lighting it and inhaling becomes a behavior pattern which relaxes us in moments of stress. These two factors make it extremely difficult to quit smoking.

While the government can impose restrictions and taxes on cigarettes, quitting this deadly habit is actually in our hands. As responsible adults we really have two options – quit smoking and inspire the younger generations for a healthy living or die!