Drugs

TOBACCO

Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves that are smoked, chewed, or sniffed for a variety
of effects. It is considered an addictive substance because it contains the chemical nicotine.
The tobacco plant is believed to have originated in the Western Hemisphere. The cultivated
species most often grown for North American and European tobacco products is Nicotine
Tabacum. The leaves of the plant are prepared for smoking, chewing, or sniffing. In addition
nicotine tobacco contains over 45 carcinogens and more than 4,000 chemicals. Prior to
European influence in the Americas, the Indians of Mexico and Peru used tobacco for the
ceremonies, medical purposes and to alleviate hunger pains during famines. Columbus is
credited with introducing tobacco into Europe. Tobacco use became widely accepted by the
Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, and Scandinavians. Explorers and sailors who became
dependent upon tobacco began planting seeds at their ports of call, introducing the product
into other parts of Europe and Asia. The colonist introduced tobacco on the American
continent in the early 1600\'s. It became a major crop and trading commodity of the Jamestown
Colony. Over the years tobacco has been claimed as a cure for a wide range of ailments with
varying forms of administration. Its social importance also grew over the years, even the point
of denoting the "modern women" during the 1st part of the twentieth century. It was not until
the 1960\'s, with the introduction of medical research related to cigarette smoking that the
adverse health effects of the tobacco became widely publicized. Unfortunately, most of the
health hazards were only associated with cigarette smoking. While the number of cigarette
smokers in the United States has continually decreased over recent years the number of
smokeless tobacco users has steadily increased. Since the 1970\'s a 15-fold increase in
smokeless tobacco has been noted in adolescents 17 to 19 years old. This has most likely been
related to the emphasis on smoke free environments, availability, increased advertising of
smokeless products, and the false belief that smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative for those
convinced they should stop smoking but who still want the nicotine effects of tobacco.
Although over 40 million people in the United States have quit smoking, about 50 million
continue to smoke (about 25% of the population). Each year, approximately 1.3 million
Americans quit smoking. In addition about two thirds of current smokers report they have
never tried to quit. About 30 to 40% of those who have not tried to quit say they do not believe
that the health risks of smoking will ultimately decrease their risks for disease. Young men are
at highest risk for using tobacco products but the incidence in women is increasing. Smokeless
tobacco use patterns are higher within the following occupations; athletes, ranchers, farmers,
fishermen, lumberjacks, and industrial workers, who have jobs requiring hand freedom.
Nicotine has both stimulant and depressant effects upon the body. Bowel tone and activity
increases along with saliva and bronchial secretions. Stimulation is followed with a phase that
depresses the respiratory muscles. As an euphoric agent, nicotine causes arousal as well as
relaxation from stressful situations. On the average, tobacco use increases the heart rate 10 to
20 beats per minute and it increases the blood pressure reading by 5 to 10 millimeters of
mercury (because it constricts the blood vessels). Nicotine may also increase sweating, nausea
and diarrhea because of its effects on the central nervous system. Nicotine\'s effect upon
hormonal activities is also present. It elevates the blood level of glucose and increases insulin
production. Nicotine also tends to enhance platelet aggregation, which may lead to blood
clotting. The positive effects of nicotine upon the body should also be noted. It stimulates
memory and alertness, enhancing cognitive skills that requires speed, reaction time and work
performance. As a mood-altering agent, it tends to alleviate boredom, reduces stress, and
reduces aggressive responses to stressful events. It also tends to be an appetite suppressant
specifically decreasing the appetite for simple carbohydrates and disturbs the efficiency with
which food is metabolized. People who use tobacco products frequently depend upon it to
provide these side effects to help them accomplish certain tasks at specific levels. With all the
information that is out today why do people continue to smoke? Since 1964, the Surgeon
General has warned that smoking is a health hazard this announcement promoted the U.S.
Public Health Service and The American Cancer Society to publicize the dangers of tobacco
smoking, and offer suggestions to those trying to quit. Cigarette packages were required to
carry the warning " may be hazardous to