A man smoking and selling Tobacco at an Auction floor. Image credit voanews.com

A man smoking and selling Tobacco at an Auction floor. Image credit voanews.com

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Substance Abuse: Smoking

  • In most countries including smoking is legal
  • It is also socially accepted
  • Cigarette smoke(tobacco smoke) contains a poison called nicotine
  • Smoking is addictive
  • Cigarette smoke has particles which when inhaled irritate lung tissue
  • and reduce the diffusion of oxygen in lungs
  • These particles (tar) collects in air sacs and microscopic tubules over period and may lead lung cancer
  • Cancer is a terminal illness i.e. it usually leads to death
  • Smoke particles may also cause fluids to build up in lung tissue
  • This sort of disease is called emphysema
  • It leads to breathing (respiratory) problems
  • People with the disease cannot get as much oxygen as they need
  • Smoking can also lead to bronchitis
  • It is a disease where the bronchioles become irritated and inflated
  • This is a life threatening disease
  • When pregnant women smoke it leads to them giving babies with low birth weight
  • Babies of smoking mothers are born with below average weight
  • Smoking also contributes to heart disease
  • This is because smoke substances build up and block blood vessels
  • This leads to increased stress on the heart as it pumps blood
  • One such heart disease is called coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • This is when the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood become blocked
  • This can lead to heart attacks
  • Smoking reduces life expectancy
  • It also causes passive smoking
  • The effects of passive smoking are the same as those of smoking in the long run

Summary of smoking problems

  • emphysema
  • bronchitis
  • lung cancer
  • low birth weight in babies of smoking mothers
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Turning those around the smoker into passive smokers
  • Reduced life expectancy

Possible solutions to smoking

  • Passing anti-smoking laws such as:
  • Laws that prohibit public smoking/smoking in public or crowded spaces
  • Laws that prohibit the sell of cigars and cigarettes to those under 18
  • Mandatory health warning labels on cigarette packs
  • Smoking tax to make cigarettes expensive
  • Sell cigarettes in un-attractive packs so as to dissuade people from buying
  • Educating people about the dangers of smoking

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page