Tobaccousage is a very controversial issue in the modern society. This isbecause it is associated with various harmful effects yet themanufacturing companies have never come out to agree despite thestrong scientific conviction. Today, tobacco usage is a globalepidemic affecting both the young and old generations. It posesserious health, economics and environmental effects. In the UnitedStates alone, treatment of smoking-related conditions accounts forabout 75% of the country’s national healthcare spending (Samet,2013). This research paper describes the history of tobacco, itseffects and the company’s knowledge and use of nicotine despite itsharmful effects.
Tobaccohas a very long history. The Spanish for instance, introduced it toEurope in 1528. It was initially referred to as the “sacred herb”because it had medical impacts. Anthony Chute is accredited forhaving published the first book outlining some of the benefits if theplant. Actual importation of Tobacco began in the 17thcentury (Samet, 2013). The first tobacco was brought to America bySir Walter Raleigh in 1578. In the United States, Tobacco farming hadgreat impacts on its economic history. For instance, there were timesit was used as a currency and people would be fined using Tobaccopounds. With the increasing demand for the commodity globally, itresulted in increased slavery since they provided cheap labor in theplantation. People consumed the product using various routes, themost common ones were chewing and smoking. After the American CivilWar, cigar rolling and the idea of piped tobacco was introduced(Samet, 2013). Significant innovations took place during this timebecause of lack of workforce following the abolishment of slavery.Throughout the ages, Tobacco farming has undergone a lot oftransformation. It is now managed by large corporates who advertiseit across Europe and the United States and other areas around theworld.
Mostof the effects of Tobacco are associated with the active ingredientknown as Nicotine. Tobacco affects various body parts such as thebrain, mouth, heart, lungs and the skin. In the central nervoussystem, it is very effective because it can reach the brain in fewseconds overcoming the blood-brain barrier. It acts as a stimulantmaking one to feel energized (Benowitz, 2014). Some of the adverseeffects are that it increases the risk of muscular degeneration whichresults in reduced sense of smell and touch. In the lungs and otherrespiratory organs, it causes emphysema whereby the air sacscontained in the lungs collapse and are destroyed.
Researchhas also shown that prolonged smoking habits increase the risk oflung cancer. Children from chain smokers are more susceptible toconditions such as pneumonia. In the heart and the rest of thecardiovascular system, nicotine causes vasoconstriction and thusresulting in atherosclerosis and extreme cases can even cause astroke. It has been established that smoking can cause skindiscoloration, premature aging, and wrinkles (Benowitz, 2014).Smoking habits can cause gum inflammation and other dental conditionsthus leading to rapid tooth loss and decay. Recent research has alsoshown that chain smoking affects sexuality and reproductive health.Apart from the above health effects, there are also others such asenvironmental population and discomfort as is seen in passive smokingamong others.
Tobaccocompanies’ knowledge and use nicotine
Theaddictive substance in Tobacco is known as nicotine. In major courthearings and public announcements, the industry has always maintainedthat nicotine is not addictive (). According to the producers,Nicotine is basically a flavoring agent. Additionally, the firms haveoften argued that people have free choice. Nicotine is a drug, andits mode of action involves binding to the nicotinic cholinergicreceptors resulting in increased release of neurotransmitters(Rahman, 2013). This, in turn, mediate complex action as is seenamong the users. Dependence on the drug is usually caused byneurotransmitters such as GABA, glutamate and dopamine and thecorticotropin-releasing factor.
Basedon this explanation, it evident that the product is highly addictiveand by refuting this evidence-based knowledge, it affirms that theindustries are only concerned about making huge profits at theexpense of its customers who continue to suffer physiological,psychological and economic trauma. It is evident that the companiesknow that without nicotine in the cigarettes, their products will notbe viable. Additionally, regulatory bodies such as the FDA would stepin to regulate the item as a drug and hence took part in determiningthe content. Another fact that has encouraged many of the producingfirms is that even with this knowledge and controversies, more than70% of the smokers are still not able to quit (Rahman, 2013). Thisaffirms that smokers have been compelled to smoking by the addictivenature of nicotine.
Despitethe rich history of tobacco, it is evident that it is associated withvery severe health effects such as cardiovascular, lungs andintegumentary system’s damages. However, major tobacco industriesare only concerned about the profit aspect of the business to theextent that they do not acknowledge the addictive nature of nicotine.
Benowitz,N. L. (2014). Emerging nicotine delivery products. Implications forpublic health. Annalsof the American Thoracic Society, 11(2),231-235.
Rahman,S. (2013). Nicotinic receptors as therapeutic targets for drugaddictive disorders. CNS& Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets (Formerly Current DrugTargets-CNS & Neurological Disorders), 12(5),633-640.
Samet,J. M. (2013). Tobacco smoking: the leading cause of preventabledisease worldwide. Thoracicsurgery clinics, 23(2),103-112.