Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Smoking and Health
Alistair Woodward & Anthony Hedley
People smoke in order to obtain a “hit” with nicotine. The reward from smoking occurs when nicotine, absorbed into the general circulation from the lungs, meets nicotine receptors in the brain. Smoking tobacco in the form of cigarettes provides a very efficient drug delivery system for nicotine. The problem is that more than 4,000 other compounds enter body tissues, many of them extremely toxic. Smoking is the most common cause of preventable death worldwide. In developed countries where the smoking epidemic took hold early, roughly a quarter of male deaths and about 7% of female deaths are due to smoking (Peto, Lopez, Boreham, Thun, & Heath, 1994). Elsewhere information on tobacco and health is less reliable, but it is estimated that there are currently around 4 million deaths a year worldwide due to smoking. As the effects of growing numbers of smokers in countries such as China become apparent, attributable ...