Monday, August 4, 2008


Alcohol and tobacco have become very popular in the 21st century. This is the time when people from secondary school students to working class people believe that alcohol and tobacco are one of the few things that will make them fulfilled. But the effect of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs cannot be over emphasised. According to the World Health Organisation, 26% of female deaths were attributed to smoking. In developing countries, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year.

The commonly used drugs are cannabis which is popularly known as Indian hemp, ecstasy which is commonly used at clubs and parties, cocaine and heroin. What actually leads to problem with alcohol, tobacco and drugs is the fact that it is addictive. It can make an individual feel good for a while and then leave the individual wanting more. People also use it to forget their problems and most youth get hooked because of peer pressure. Most times to feel cool with their friends.

But the effects of alcohol, drugs and tobacco are more disastrous than the actual cause of the addiction. Statistics have shown that regular smokers are estimated to live to 2.5 to 10 years less than non-smokers will die of illness due to smoking. Also the United States Department of Health and Human Services have linked alcohol to two-thirds of all sexual assaults and have said it greatly increases the likelihood of contracting HIV or sexually transmitted diseases. Some effects are:

  1. When drugs and alcohol are mixed they each may increase the effect of the other substance. E.g. ecstasy and alcohol may lead to dehydration (overheating) and can cause coma and death.
  2. Infection can be spread through the sharing of needles through the use of cocaine and heroin addiction. For example HIV and hepatitis.
  3. It leads to mental diseases such as psychosis or mental depression.
  4. Tobacco stains and wears down your teeth causing your gum to recede and produce mouth sores.
  5. Tobacco raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels and can raise the symptoms of heart attack.
  6. Alcohol breaks down brain cells, blurs vision, poisons the liver and reduces your body’s ability t produce blood cells.
  7. Cigarette smoking causes many types of cancer; lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix.
  8. Cigarette also causes common cold and bronchitis.

With this it has been shown that one of the ways of reducing the use of psychoactive or addictive substances is to control their availability. Also in developed nations, bupropion and varenichine are prescribed medications that can help smokers quit. Finally, educating the members of the populace is to inform them of how harmful and the dangers of these substances.

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