Medical research

How to make anti-smoking campaigns more persuasive

The damaging effects of smoking on our health are well known, and governments are curbing tobacco advertising to reduce the number of smokers. But, in Indonesia, the number of teens and adults who smoke continue to grow at ...

Health

WHO praises Brazil lawsuit against tobacco giants

The World Health Organization has praised Brazil's move to sue two global cigarette makers and their local units for costs of treating tobacco-related diseases, but the firms said Friday they were still waiting for details ...

Health

In Greece, smoking is alive and kicking despite bans

When George Balafoutis returned home from New York two years ago, he was shocked to see what little impact nearly a decade of anti-smoking laws had made on stubbing out Greece's favourite guilty pleasure.

Health

Diabetes drug could help smokers kick the habit

Phillip Robinson has gone from 10 cigarettes a day to one or two every other day after enrolling in a smoking cessation clinical trial launched by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). ...

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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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