Psychology & Psychiatry

Scaring smokers into stopping starts to pay dividends

Smokers once used to turn a blind eye to health warnings on cigarette packets. But now researchers at the University of Huddersfield have used eye-tracking technology to prove that new-style packs have shifted the focus so ...

Health

Smartphones: Are they just a pain in the neck?

A large majority of the world's 3.4 billion smartphone users are putting their necks at risk every time they send a text, according to new research involving the University of South Australia.

Health

Hookah smoking trendy, despite evidence of health risks

While cigarette smoking has hit an all-time low, another form of tobacco use is rising in popularity—hookah smoking—and researchers are concerned there's a new epidemic brewing, especially among young adults.

Immunology

Friends' vaping could pose danger to kids with asthma

(HealthDay)—Add another danger that e-cigarettes pose to teenagers: A new study finds secondhand exposure to vaping may raise the chances of asthma attacks in adolescents with the respiratory condition.

Addiction

Misperceptions about vaping common among UK smokers

Research from King's College London finds smokers and ex-smokers in the UK overestimate the harm from vaping, with fewer than 6 out of 10 accurately believing that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Misperceptions ...

Health

Q&A: Very little known about health effects of e-cigarettes

Dear Mayo Clinic: I've been a smoker for years. I'm thinking about switching to electronic cigarettes or to a nicotine inhaler because I've heard they aren't as bad for you as regular cigarettes. Is that true?

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Tobacco smoking

Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the vapors either tasted or inhaled. The practice began as early as 5000–3000 BC. Many civilizations burnt incense during religious rituals, which was later adopted for pleasure or as a social tool. Tobacco was introduced to the old world in the late 1500s where it followed common trade routes. The substance was met with frequent criticism, but became popular nonetheless. German scientists formally identified the link between smoking and lung cancer in the late 1920s leading the first anti-smoking campaign in modern history. The movement, however, failed to reach across enemy lines during the Second World War, and quickly became unpopular thereafter. In 1950, health authorities again began to suggest a relationship between smoking and cancer. Scientific evidence mounted in the 1980s, which prompted political action against the practice. Rates of consumption from 1965 onward in the developed world have either peaked or declined. They however continue to climb in the developing world.

Smoking is the most common method of consuming tobacco, and tobacco is the most common substance smoked. The argicultural product is often mixed with other additives and then pyrolyzed. The resulting vapors are then inhaled and the active substances absorbed through the alveoli in the lungs. The active substances trigger chemical reactions in nerve endings which hightens heart rate, memory, alertness, and reaction time. Dopamine and later endorphins are released, which are often associated with reward and pleasure. As of 2000, smoking is practiced by some 1.22 billion people. Men are more likely to smoke than women, however the gender gap declines with younger age. The poor are more likely to smoke than the wealthy, and people of developing countries than those of developed countries.

Many smokers begin during adolescence or early adulthood. During the early stages, smoking provides pleasurable sensations and thus serves as a source of positive reinforcement. After an individual has smoked for many years, the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms and negative reinforcement become the key motivations.

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