Maris Stella High School Sec 4 Pure & Sc Biology Topic 6.

5: Additonal Notes

Class : Sec 4 ( ) No: _______ Name: ___________________ Date: _____________

SMOKING
You should be able to: 8 (e) describe the effect of tobacco smoke and its major toxic components nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide, on health
1. Introduction People may start smoking for different reasons. Some believe that smoking is a symbol of adulthood. Some started out of curiosity. Some may like to imitate their parents who smoke. Many smoke because they want to be accepted as members of a group of friends who smoke. Their friends’ persistent teasing and urging may make them feel that they are not “sporting” enough if they do not smoke (‘peer group’ pressure). When someone needs to smoke a certain number of cigarettes in a day at particular times, e.g. after a meal, they have already formed a habit. If they do not smoke at those times, they feel that something is missing.

A cigarette is also considered a drug. One can become addicted to it. But it is no more considered a socially-accepted drug since it is detrimental to health. Recent studies have suggested that breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke (passive smoking) can also cause smoking related diseases. It contains nicotine that is highly addictive. This is the reason why a person becomes addicted to cigarettes – cigarette smokers crave for nicotine.
Bio T6.5 Additional Notes.doc

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Maris Stella High School Secondary 4 Biology

Smoking Topic 6.5 Notes

People who try to stop smoking may develop withdrawal symptoms if they have smoked heavily for a long time. These symptoms include craving to smoke, becoming sleepless and irritable, numbness in the arms and legs, an inability to concentrate on their work and coughing more than usual. These unpleasant symptoms make some continue to smoke, even though the symptoms usually disappear within a relatively short time. 2. Facts about Smoking Nicotine This is the addictive drug present in tobacco. • It stimulates the brain at first making the smoker feel alert, and relaxes the muscles. Later, it dulls the brain and senses. • It causes the release of adrenaline. This increases the rate of heartbeat and blood pressure. • It makes blood clot easily. Therefore, it increases the risk of blood clots blocking blood vessels. If such clots block the coronary arteries, a heart attack may occur, or if they occur in capillaries of the brain, a stroke may result. • It can also constrict blood vessels. The narrowing of blood vessels can lead, after many years, to damaged circulation. This is especially so in the legs, which in extreme cases may have to be amputated. Carbon monoxide • It increases the rate at which fatty substances are deposited on the inner walls of arteries, causing their lumen to become narrower. This increases the risk of atherosclerosis. • It damages the lining of blood vessels, thus increasing the tendency of the blood to clot and so block blood vessels. • It reduces the efficiency of red blood cells to transport oxygen. Tar This is the brown, sticky substance that accumulates in the lungs during smoking. • It contains many cancer-causing (carcinogenic) chemicals. Normally, cell division occurs continuously in the lungs to replace the epithelium or membrane of the air sacs. Tar induces these cells to divide at an abnormal rate. Such uncontrolled multiplication of cells results in outgrowths or lumps of tissue (cancers). These block off the air sacs, reducing the efficiency for gaseous exchange.

Bio T6.5 Notes.doc

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Maris Stella High School Secondary 4 Biology

Smoking Topic 6.5 Notes

Irritants Examples include hydrogen cyanide & acrolein. • These substances paralyse the cilia in the air passages and weaken the walls of the alveoli. • They irritate the cell lining the air passages, causing them to produce mucus. The smoker coughs to bring up the excess mucus. The coughing bursts the weaken walls of the alveoli (emphysema). This process greatly reduces the gaseous exchange surface in the lungs.

3. Smoking-Related Diseases in Singapore Lung cancer (must read note on ‘tar’) In lung cancer, uncontrolled division of cells starts in the lung tissues and forms a tumour which takes up more and more space and prevents the normal lung tissues carrying out its function of gaseous exchange. In Singapore, lung cancer is the most common cancer in the last 30 years. More than 85% of the lung cancer victims are smokers. The cure rate of this type of cancer is 5%. Life expectancy after the symptoms appear is less than 6 months.

Bio T6.5 Notes.doc

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Maris Stella High School Secondary 4 Biology

Smoking Topic 6.5 Notes

Chronic bronchitis (must read notes on ‘irritants’) The inner lining and the cilia of the air passages constantly remove small particles from the air we breathe in, to the back of the throat (pharynx), where it is swallowed without being noticed. Cigarette irritants increase mucus production and slow down or stop the wafting of the hairs/cilia. This reduces the airflow in the air passages, and so breathing becomes difficult. The smoker coughs and wheezes persistently to clear his air passages. Coughing and bringing up excess mucus (phlegm) are often the first stage of bronchitis, so called because of the irritation in the bronchi & bronchioles.

Chronic, which means long-lasting, bronchitis (with constant coughing) damages the thin dividing walls between the alveoli (emphysema), with the result that the area for gaseous exchange is greatly reduced.
Emphysema Emphysema is commonly associated with chronic bronchitis and cigarette smoking. The partition walls between the alveoli break down because of intense coughing, enlarging the air spaces and decreasing the surface area of the lungs. This reduces the absorption of oxygen. An infected person suffers breathlessness even on slight exertion. At a later stage, viruses and bacteria infect the damaged lungs and can lead to fever. Scar tissue forms in the lungs and the bronchioles leading to the alveoli becoming narrower. When a person has both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, he is said to suffer from chronic obstructive lung disease. Summary of the Effects A smaller area for gaseous exchange means that less oxygen can be taken into the blood, with the retention of carbon dioxide. Together with the narrowing of air passages, this causes shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing at the least exertion. Coronary Heart Disease Must read notes on T5 CHD / Risk factors of CHD.
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Maris Stella High School Secondary 4 Biology

Smoking Topic 6.5 Notes

4. Smoking and Pregnancy (no more in syllabus) The carbon dioxide and nicotine in cigarette smoke affect the development of the foetus. The carbon monoxide combines with the haemoglobin in the mother’s red blood cells to form a new compound, carboxyhaemoglobin, which cannot transport oxygen. Thus, it reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the foetus through the placenta. Nicotine causes the arteries that bring blood to the placenta to narrow. Therefore, the amount of food substances reaching the foetus is also reduced. The mother’s health is also affected. She may suffer from lack of oxygen or chronic bronchitis. Evidence has shown that women who continue to smoke during pregnancy put their babies at risk in the following ways: • The brain development of the foetus is affected. The child may have learning difficulties in later life. • The foetus grows more slowly. The oxygen available to the foetus is reduced, less energy is released by the foetus to make his cells and tissues. We know this from the lower average birth weight of babies whose mothers have smoked during pregnancy. There is a higher risk (2 or 3 times higher) of the baby being born prematurely. There is a greater risk of miscarriage. The baby has greater risk of being born dead (stillborn).

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