HEALTH CARE

Smoking Has Immediate Effects, Surgeon General Warns

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Althea Fung
Dec. 9, 2010, 6:14 a.m.

To­bacco smoke ex­pos­ure has im­me­di­ate ef­fects on the body that could lead to death, ac­cord­ing to the latest sur­geon gen­er­al’s re­port on to­bacco.

The re­port on how to­bacco causes dis­ease found that cel­lu­lar dam­age and tis­sue in­flam­ma­tion from to­bacco smoke are im­me­di­ate, and that re­peated ex­pos­ure weak­ens the body’s abil­ity to heal the dam­age.

“The chem­ic­als in to­bacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you in­hale, caus­ing dam­age im­me­di­ately,” Sur­geon Gen­er­al Re­gina Ben­jamin said. “In­hal­ing even the smal­lest amount of to­bacco smoke can also dam­age your DNA, which can lead to can­cer.”

The re­port also found that ci­gar­ettes man­u­fac­tured today de­liv­er nicot­ine faster than ci­gar­ettes made years ago, mak­ing them all the more ad­dict­ive. The study in the journ­al Ad­dic­tion, com­mis­sioned by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, found menthol ci­gar­ettes were the most ad­dict­ive kind of ci­gar­ette on the mar­ket. The agency is con­sid­er­ing ban­ning the ci­gar­ettes due to the health risks.

The neg­at­ive health ef­fects are not lim­ited to smokers — the re­port warns brief ex­pos­ure of second­hand smoke could cause car­di­ovas­cu­lar dis­ease and trig­ger car­di­ac events. Ci­gar­ette smoke could also make it hard for dia­bet­ics to con­trol their blood sug­ar; it could also make it harder for wo­men to get preg­nant, and cause pre­term de­liv­ery and low birth weight.

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