Men's Articles

Smoking Tobacco

Smoking tobacco is so common that it is almost impossible to see how odd it really is. The leaves of the plant are picked, dried, chopped up, and rolled into paper tubes. The tubes are then stuck into the mouth, lit, and the poison-laden smoke is taken into the lungs.

Each time a person smokes a cigarette, they take an average of five minutes off their life. This is about the same time it takes to smoke the cigarette. Smoking cigarettes causes hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Nicotine no longer has any medicinal uses. Taken in the form of tobacco-cigarette, cigar, pipe, chewing, or snuff-its effects are variable.

It can act as a stimulant, depressant, or tranquilizer. Tobacco is one of the most physiologically damaging substances used by man. Since nicotine is one of the most addicting drugs in common use, most tobacco users are hooked or locked on to the damaging effects of the tobacco.

Columbus and other early explorers who followed him were amazed to meet the Indians who carried rolls of dried leaves that they set on fire. They then "drank" the smoke as it emerged from the rolls in the fire. Other Indians carried pipes in which they burned the same leaves and "drank" the smoke.

Accordingly, when the sailors returned home they carried abundant supplies of tobacco and seeds with them. They also carried leaves and seeds with them on their subsequent expeditions to other parts of the globe. Within a few decades, the plant had been effectively spread around the world.

Settlers in the Americas learned to smoke and tobacco smoking spread through England like wildfire. The demand often exceeded supply and prices rose accordingly. From those days until today, it is important to note that no country that learned to use tobacco has given up the practice. Even to this day, there has been no substance able to replace tobacco.

Through the centuries since Columbus, countless millions of smokers have tried to stop smoking. Some have succeeded, many others have failed. Among the frequently noted consequences of cessation are compulsive overeating, social discomfort, and depersonalization. Common initial effects are craving for foods, sweating, tremors, and nervousness.

It is the nicotine in tobacco that produces that craving. It is not definitely known why, but it is likely that nicotine affects the parts of the brain called pleasure centers. These are very small areas that are active during pleasant sensations. Smokers seem to give themselves pleasure by taking nicotine into the body where it is passed onto the brain's pleasure centers.

Unfortunately, the feeling of pleasure is very short lived. After smoking, half of the nicotine taken in is gone within half an hour. As the nicotine level drops, the smoker begins to feel worse and a new craving for nicotine is initiated. The body also develops a tolerance to the nicotine.This requires more of it to reach the same levels of satisfaction or pleasure.

Herein starts the vicious cycle of need and craving known as addiction. Today there are more options to stop smoking while slowly reducing the need or craving for the nicotine. Doctor's can now prescribe patches, gums, and a number of alternate therapies to slowly reduce the dependence on the nicotine. It is still not an easy road but holds great potential for many.


Copyright � 2005 - 2006 Men's Articles. All rights reserved.