Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly the substance is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant which have been rolled into a small square of rice paper to create a small, round cylinder called a “cigarette”.
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1. Smoking is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drug use because the combustion of the dried plant leaves vaporizes and delivers active substances into the lungs where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach bodily tissue.
2. In the case of cigarette smoking these substances are contained in a mixture of aerosol particles and gasses and include the pharmacologically active alkaloid nicotine, the vaporization creates heated aerosol and gas to form that allows inhalation and deep penetration into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream of the active substances occurs.
3. In some cultures, smoking is also carried out as a part of various rituals, where participants use it to help induce trance-like states that, they believe, can lead them to “spiritual enlightenment”.
4. Smoking generally has negative health effects, because smoke inhalation inherently poses challenges to various physiologic processes such as respiration.
5. Diseases related to tobacco smoking have been shown to kill approximately half of long term smokers when compared to average mortality rates faced by non-smokers. A 2007 report states that, each year, about 4.9 million people worldwide die as a result of smoking.
6. Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use.
7. Tobacco smoking is the most popular form, being practiced by over one billion people globally, of whom the majority are in the developing world.
8. Less common drugs for smoking include cannabis and opium. Some of the substances are classified as hard narcotics, like heroin, but the use of these is very limited as they are usually not commercially available.
9. Cigarettes are primarily industrially manufactured but also can be hand-rolled from loose tobacco and rolling paper. Other smoking implements include pipes, cigars, bidis, hookahs, vaporizers, and bongs.
10. Smoking can be dated to as early as 5000 BC, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world. Early smoking evolved in association with religious ceremonies, as offerings to deities, in cleansing rituals or to allow shamans and priests to alter their minds for purposes of divination or spiritual enlightenment.
11. After the European exploration and conquest of the Americas, the practice of smoking tobacco quickly spread to the rest of the world. In regions like India and Sub-Saharan Africa, it merged with existing practices of smoking (mostly of cannabis).
12. In Europe, it introduced a new type of social activity and a form of drug intake which previously had been unknown.
13. Perception surrounding smoking has varied over time and from one place to another: holy and sinful, sophisticated and vulgar, a panacea and deadly health hazard.13.
14. In the 20th century smoking came to be viewed in a decidedly negative light, especially in Western countries.
15. This is due to smoking tobacco being among the leading causes of many diseases such as lung cancer, heart attacks, COPD, erectile dysfunction, and birth defects.
16. The health hazards of smoking have caused many countries to institute high taxes on tobacco products, run ads to discourage use, limit ads that promote use, and provide help with quitting for those who do smoke.
17. Cigarettes are the single-most traded item on the planet, with approximately 1 trillion being sold from country to country each year. At a global take of more than $400 billion, it’s one of the world’s largest industries.
18. The nicotine content in several major brands is reportedly on the rise. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Health Department revealed that between 1997 and 2005 the amount of nicotine in Camel, Newport, and Doral cigarettes may have increased by as much as 11 percent.
19. In 1970, President Nixon signed the law that placed warning labels on cigarettes and banned television advertisements for cigarettes. The last date that cigarette ads were permitted on TV was extended by a day, from December 31, 1970 to January 1, 1971 to allow the television networks one last cash windfall from cigarette advertising in the New Year’s Day football games.
20. U.S. cigarette manufacturers now make more money selling cigarettes to countries around the globe than they do selling to Americans.
21. The American brands Marlboro, Kool, Camel and Kent own roughly 70% of the global cigarette market.
22. More than 16 million people already have at least one disease from smoking.
23. More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since 1964, including approximately 2.5 million deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
24. 6 million people live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
25. On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
26. Cigarettes contain arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 known carcinogens.
27. In the early 1950s, the Kent brand of cigarettes used crocidolite asbestos as part of the filter, a known active carcinogen.
28. Urea, a chemical compound that is a major component in urine, is used to add “flavor” to cigarettes.
29. The ‘Cork Tip’ filter was originally invented in 1925 by Hungarian inventor Boris Aivaz, who patented the process of making the cigarette filter from crepe paper. All kinds of filters were tested, although ‘cork’ is unlikely to have been one of them.
30. In most countries around the world, the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products is now 18, raised from 16, while in Japan the age minimum is 20 years old.
31. Nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking. Smokers today are much more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers were in 1964.
32. Nearly 8 out of 10 COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) deaths are a result of smoking. Currently, there is no cure for COPD.
33. Women smokers are up to 40 times more likely to develop COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) than women who have never smoked.
34. Smoking increases a person’s risk of getting tuberculosis and dying from it.
35. More than 11% of high school students in the United States have asthma, and studies suggest that youth who smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
36. Smoking slows down lung growth in children and teens.
37. An estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans, including 54% of children aged 3–11 years, are exposed to secondhand smoke.
38. Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer,
39. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.
40. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25–30%.
41. More than 33,000 nonsmokers die every year in the United States from coronary heart disease caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
42. Contrary to popular social belief, it is NOT illegal to smoke tobacco products at any age. Parents are within the law to allow minors to smoke, and minors are within the law to smoke tobacco products freely. However, the SALE of tobacco products is highly regulated with legal legislation.
43. Smoking bans in many parts of the world have been employed as a means to stop smokers smoking in public. As a result, many social businesses have claimed a significant drop in the number of people who go out to pubs, bars and restaurants.
44. Scientists claim the average smoker will lose 14 years of their life due to smoking. This however does not necessarily mean that a smoker will die young – and they may still live out a ‘normal’ lifespan.
45. The U.S. states with the highest percentage of smokers are Kentucky (28.7%), Indiana (27.3%), and Tennessee (26.8%), while the states with the fewest are Utah (11.5%), California ( 15.2%), and Connecticut (16.5%).
46. Cigarettes can contain more than 4,000 ingredients, which, when burned, can also produce over 200 ‘compound’ chemicals. Many of these ‘compounds’ have been linked to lung damage.