Before the first research papers in the 50s linking smoking to illness,
smoking was considered safe, and some advertisements even tried to suggest that it is good for you (see photo).http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC437141/?tool=pmcentrez
Although over 60 years of research has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that smoking is, in fact, bad for you and directly causes cancer, smoking continues to be a part of our daily lives. It directly kills first-hand smokers, and indirectly (or directly) affects non-smokers through exposure to second-hand smoke. Though it is sometimes hard to draw a link to cigarettes as the direct cause of a death, with all of the information we have about smoking’s effects on the human body, it seems reasonable to say that those who escape its effects are just “lucky”.
Smoking first enters the body though the mouth or nose, where it passes over the pharynx, through the trachea, and into the lungs. We know that smoking first affects the trachea, and the cilia in the lungs. It also slowly burns the throat and voice box as the chemicals flow down into the lungs, which, over time results in a rough smoker’s voice. The cilia of the lungs are designed to carry out the toxins, but as they are slowly burned away, the toxins in the smoke can easily enter the body where they cause cancer, among other things. As the cilia cannot stop the chemicals, the bronchi and alveoli are next in line to be targeted. With weakened and burned alveoli, the lungs’ capacity for oxygen and gas exchange is compromised, thus leading to emphysema.
A person with emphysema has shortness of breath, and they have great difficulty exhaling as air is trapped in the lungs. This type of failure of the lungs to function properly is considered to be part of the family of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emphysema
The circulatory system is first affected by the lungs reduced ability to exchange oxygen and gasses. However, more than simply the lungs being destroyed, the effect on blood vessels causes more systemic damage. One reason major blood vessels are damaged is because carbon monoxide causes a break-down in the thin inner layer of the blood vessel, which allows fats and plaque to stick to the vessel walls. http://whyquit.com/whyquit/LinksJBlood.html
In addition to nicotine being highly addictive, other negative effects include the stimulation of new blood vessel formation in tumors, and the promotion of atherosclerosis.
Other major direct effects of the prolonged smoking of cigarettes include increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and reduced blood to extremities. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Smoking_effects_on_your_body?OpenDocument
It looks cool in movies, and you can blow smoke into the air, but after knowing the effects… would anyone really like to have a cigarette…anybody?