Harmful Inhale


Sophia Reider, Senior Editor-Features

Washington Duke invented the first ever cigarette in 1865 on his 300-acre farm in Raleigh, North Carolina. Duke’s hand-rolled cigarettes were sold to soldiers towards the end of the Civil War. In time, cigarettes gained popularity and became a widely used product across the country. By the 20th century, cigarettes became a staple item in American society that symbolized status and glamour. Because people did not have the resources or desire to discover the harm of smoking cigarettes, the smokers of the country continued to do so as a social activity and for personal enjoyment. In modern society, extensive research on cigarette smoking has been done and the hazard and effects of smoking cigarettes are known by all of society. Though there are some who still smoke cigarettes to this day, the number of cigarette smokers in today’s society is significantly less than it was in previous decades. However, what is it that makes these cigarettes both harmful and addictive?

There are many different chemicals that can be found in cigarettes, and these chemicals may vary from one cigarette to the next. Nicotine is the harshest chemical omitted with tobacco smoke because it is the addictive drug that produces the effect that people seek when smoking (American Cancer Society). It acts as a stimulant in small doses, but in larger amounts blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells (Oxford Dictionary). Nicotine is not the sole killer within the cigarette; the chemical drug is accompanied by hydrogen cyanide formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, ammonia, radioactive elements, benzene, carbon monoxide, nitrosamines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons according to the American Cancer Society. The common trait among these substances is that they cause cancer. They can also cause fatal heart and lung diseases. Despite this, most of the harmful chemicals released with cigarette smoke come from the burning tobacco leaves themselves over the additives within the cigarette.

In today’s society, cigarette smoking is nowhere near as common or accepted as it was in previous decades. However, e-cigarettes and vaping products have taken over. People assume that such products are harmless because they are mostly tobacco-free. Despite this, there is a severely unhealthy amount of nicotine within these products. A single JuulPod has the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes; which is roughly 5% nicotine. Although these alternatives may be advertised as a solution to an addiction or a beneficial alternative, they ultimately have the opposite effect upon its users. At the end of the day, a nicotine inhale is the most harmful inhale.