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Smoking refers to the process of burning a substance and inhaling the smoke into the lungs. The smoke of a cigarette contains not only volatile parts but also liquids and micro-particles. In total 4.800 different compounds are in the smoke and many are classified as dangerous to human health. A closer look shows that smoke consists mainly of nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon monoxide is very toxic due to its high affinity to haemoglobin, which is a protein in our blood. Normally it is responsible for carrying oxygen molecules to all parts of our body, but since the affinity to carbon monoxide is higher, it will carry less oxygen. This leads to a shortage of essential O2 and subsequent damage to other tissues such as the brain.
The harmful effect of tobacco smoke cannot be attributed only to the gas phase but also to the micro particles. For example, aromatic particles appear to be the reason for smoking related bladder cancer. Even non-pathogenic particles can harm our lungs, since they irritate the alveoli, making them more susceptible to infection.
In addition, tobacco smoke is considered dangerous because of the component nicotine, to which people become addicted. It binds to a receptor in our nerve-system and is highly addictive. Hence, it is making it difficult for people to quit.
Laws: Smoking kills 6 million people every year. Hence, laws that prohibit smoking would save not only smokers but also 500.000 people that die because of exposure to second-hand smoke. People affected by smoking-related illnesses cost health authorities millions of euros per year. Some people think that smokers should be treated differently regarding their entitlement to medical treatment.
Marijuana Smoke: Although marijuana does not contain nicotine, it is still very harmful due to many pathogenic substances. For example, levels of certain aromatic amines are found to be at least three times higher than in tobacco smoke.
Help For Quitting Cigarettes: Nicotine triggers an addiction and makes it difficult to quit. Therefore people need often help to completely quit smoking.

Tobacco smoke, Cigarettes, Smoking related health problems, Marijuana smoke, Addiction, Lung cancer, Smoking laws and bans, Nicotine substitutes