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Start Again in 2010 - Effects smoking has on body

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The week of the 11th of Jan we started our "Start Again in 2010". We have chosen two groups of people to focus on. We have taken 3 Mum's who are hoping to shift some of their baby weight and we are taking 3 smokers who have tried everything to stop and really want to. We will follow them for 10 weeks and join them on their journey as they try to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. With the help of a panel of experts we hope to make this happen for them.

Today we hear the story of James Wells who is currently undergoing nose reconstruction after contracting a rare nasal cancer due to his 50-a-day habit.

Dr Fenton Howell from the HSE will also be in studio to talk about the other diseases that smoking causes to the body and how after stopping smoking the body can rejuvenate itself.

They are all 52 days smoke free today.

. Dr Fenton Howell (HSE) and is on the board of ASH and Tobacco Research Institute.
. Billy (William) Salinger (46) Dublin - He used to smoke about 50/60 a day. Billy has been in and out of hospital with lung problems. He has chronic Asthma. He is paired up with Pharmacist Kathy Maher.

. Veronica O'Donnell (48) Co. Tipperary - Veronica around 25 a day and more when she is out. She is paired up with EFT Practitioner Norah Sweetman.
. Rosie Carroll (45) Co. Roscommon - She smokes between 25 to 30 a day and is paired up with Hypnotist Joe Duffy.

Dr Fenton Howell:

How smoking affects your health. It does is in basically three ways

1. Firstly, and the one that causes most of the harm - is the way it damages blood vessels, it does this by carrying carbon monoxide and nicotine into the blood stream which then goes on to damage and narrow the arteries and to make them more "sticky". As a result key arteries to the heart get blocked causing angina and heart attacks, key arteries to the head/brain get blocked causing strokes and key arteries to the legs get blocked leading to the development of ulcers and gangrene in the leg. This damage to the arteries also causes the problems we see with "skin aging"- more carbon monoxide and less oxygen gets carried to them and hence they are less nourished. Every organ of the body can thus be affected but it the crucial organs of the heart and brain that we see the real big health effects.

2. Next up are the cancers - in addition to the problems with blood supply, less oxygen and more carbon monoxide, there are up to 4,000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke. The direct effect of this smoke on the lining of the airways passages from the nose right down into the lungs, including the mouth, is that these chemicals are absorbed into the cells and overtime there is a build up of toxic chemicals which eventually cause cancer. Because the lungs take the greatest amount of toxic smoke, they are much more likely to develop cancer cells in them. Some other non- airway organs - bladder, kidney, pancreas get toxins via the bloodstream which damages these cells and cancer develops

3. Next up is the non-cancer impact of the toxins from the tobacco smoke on the lining of the lungs. The cells on the surface of the lungs have little hairs, cilia, that waft nasty stuff away, the smoke sort of kills them and the "gunge" just stays there- and causes damages to the lungs so that they don't work as well anymore- as a result, over time you get chronic bronchitis and emphysema with shortness of breath because the lungs cannot take the oxygen it needs.

We are going to use the graphic below to talk about some of the other disease apart from cancer that smoking can cause to the body. It will be split into 2 graphics.

How the body rejuvenates itself when you stop smoking:

. Within 20 minutes your circulation will improve, your heart rate and blood pressure will get lower. This reduces your risk of heart attack straight away. - Graphic of this.
. Within 8 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop and the oxygen level will go up.
. Within 24-48 hours all the carbon monoxide will have left your body.
. Within a few days your sense of smell and taste will start to improve.
. After 72 hours your breathing will improve and your energy levels will increase.
. Within 2 or 3 months your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%. - Graphic of this.
. Within 1 year your chance of heart attack drops by half and within 10 years the risk drops to almost the same as a non-smoker.
. Within 5 years the risk of smoking related cancers will be greatly reduced.
. Once you give up, your lungs start to fight back by coughing up tar. A mug full of tar builds up in the lungs of a 20 a day smoker over the period of a year. It is the toxic chemicals in tar that cause cancer.

These are some of the chemicals that are found in cigarettes:

There are around 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, here are just a handful of them.

Nicotine: Nicotine is a colourless, poisonous alkaloid, derived from the tobacco plant. It is a powerful drug, which affects the brain and quickly becomes addictive. It can also be found in weedkiller.

Tar: "Tar" is the term used to describe the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes. This is a sticky brown substance that forms when tobacco cools and condenses. It collects in the lungs and can cause cancer.

Carbon Monoxide: An odourless, colourless gas that is released from burning tobacco. When it is inhaled it enters the blood stream and interferes with the working of the heart and the blood vessels. Up to 15% of a smoker's blood can be carrying carbon monoxide instead of oxygen.

Arsenic: Arsenic-containing pesticides used in tobacco farming occur in small quantities in cigarette smoke. Arsenic is commonly found in rat poison. (PROP of Rat Posion)

Ammonia - floor cleaner: Ammonia is a toxic, colourless gas with a sharp odour. Ammonia compounds are commonly used in cleaning products and fertilizers. Also used to boost the impact of nicotine in manufactured cigarettes. (PROP of cleaning product)

Acetone - Nail polish remover: Fragrant volatile liquid ketone, used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover. (PROP of Nail polish remover)

Toluene - Explosives: Toluene is a highly toxic chemical. The main uses of toluene in industry include rubbers, oils, resins, adhesives, inks, detergents, dyes and explosives.

Methylamine - tanning lotion: A chemical found in tanning lotion.
Pesticides - DDT: A number of pesticides (chemicals used to kill pests, usually insects) are present in cigarette smoke. - pesticides are toxic. These pesticides find their way into cigarettes because they're used on tobacco plants as they are growing.

Polonium -210: A radioactive element - used in nuclear weapons, also used as an atomic heat source.

Methanol : A fuel used in the aviation industry.

Formaldehyde: It causes cancer, and can damage your lungs, skin and digestive system. Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies.

Lead: Lead poisoning stunts your growth, makes you vomit, and damages your brain.


Additional / Misc' Info:
James Wells (45) married to Marie with 2 kids Aaron and Sarah started smoking aged 11 by the time he was 30 he was smoking 50-a-day but never thought anything would happen to him. Due to his smoking he contracted a rare nasal cancer that affects only 12 people a year in Ireland. In Sept 2007 he underwent surgery to remove the cancer which left him disfigured. They took half of his nose. He had to wait over 2 years before he could start the reconstruction process as they had to make sure that all the cancer was gone. He is currently in the process of reconstruction.