This is the damage that tobacco produces on our cells

My father smoked a pipe for a while and I clearly remember that sticky black substance that stuck to the filter of the contraption: tar. Now think of that substance going into your lungs and sticking to your walls. Disgusting, right?

With the countless studies available on the effects of tobacco consumption at hand, convincing us of the damage it produces should be a piece of cake. The cells that make up our tissues, organs and systems are sensitive to the effects of toxic external agents. And everyone knows that tobacco contains many, apart from tar.

The worst thing is that many smokers not only assume it, but also forget that their consumption seriously affects the people around them.

I then propose to take a trip accompanying the tobacco smoke that enters our body to see its effects –proven by science– on our cells.

First effects in the mouth and pharynx

When tobacco smoke enters our body, the first cells to receive it are those in the mouth, nose and throat. The up to 50 carcinogenic substances contained in this smoke are quickly diluted in saliva and nasal fluids. In this way they reach practically all the cells of the epithelium of the mouth, nose and throat.

Among other effects, these substances cause oxidative damage, cell death and, in the worst cases, enter the DNA causing breakage and other damage that, when repaired, give rise to mutations that can trigger cancer.

It is therefore not surprising that tobacco use is one of the most important risk factors in the eighth deadliest type of cancer: oral cancer.

In addition, tobacco induces changes in the functions of the immune system that aggravate the response to infections by various microorganisms. These effects on the immune system are also related to a greater predisposition to cancer.

To all this we must add that tobacco makes us lose our olfactory and taste abilities, maintaining an almost continuous bitter taste in the mouth. Why? Everything indicates that it has to do with the loss of the nerve transmission capacity of the sensory organs.

Lung damage

It has long been known that tobacco smoke causes a series of symptoms in the lungs that are grouped in the so-called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. In this disease, the imbalance caused by tobacco on the epithelial cells causes them to generate more mucus and make it denser. In addition, due to the direct damage of tobacco on the tissue that maintains the structure of the lung, the bronchi and bronchioles are obstructed, generating symptoms of suffocation.

As if that were not enough, people with COPD are more predisposed to suffering from cardiovascular diseases and, again, lung cancer.

tar black macrophages

I have already evoked at the beginning the image of my father’s pipe, black and sticky with tar.

It happens that the lung is rich in macrophages that react to attacks by generating inflammatory responses. Well, these macrophages end up ingesting the tobacco tar and die loaded with this substance, accumulating and giving that characteristic black appearance of the smoker’s lung.

Tobacco smoke also disrupts the activity of macrophages. Specifically, it reduces its ability to defend the body against different agents, especially viruses, but also cancer cells. And we return to the same thing again: in the end, the risk of lung cancer increases.

Seen what has been seen, there is no doubt that there is a direct relationship between tobacco consumption and lung cancer, one of the most aggressive. Its 5-year survival varies (depending on the type of cell affected) between 60% and 25% and it causes more than one million deaths a year worldwide.

Nicotine: effect on neurons and dependence

That smoking has pleasurable effects we owe to nicotine, an alkaloid present in tobacco. It works by stimulating nicotinic receptors in neurons, ion channels that respond to substances that transmit information between neurons.

As in any other compound that stimulates neurotransmitter receptors in neurons, permanent stimulation leads to a process of desensitization of neurons. It implies that neurons reduce the number of receptors or change their sensitivity to the stimulant, so that to obtain the same response, more and more stimulus is needed. When this happens, we are facing a case of dependency.

The worst thing is that the desensitization process can lead not only to nicotine dependence but also to other diseases such as memory loss or myasthenia gravis, a disease characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue due to a lack of effective communication between nerves. and muscles.

Other problems such as an increased risk of schizophrenia or psychosis, depression and anxiety have also been associated. To all this is added that the neuronal condition can cause neuropathic pain, that is, pain related to the nervous system.

In short, the benefit of tobacco consumption is practically zero compared to the multiple damage it causes to cells and the serious health problems it triggers. And yet, many people voluntarily introduce all the harmful compounds that tobacco brings into their bodies. At least not for lack of information.

Related articles

Renowned fashion designer was found dead in strange conditions, Police investigate

The authorities of New York (United States) investigate the strange death of a Brooklyn designerwho was found dead in a room in her house...

With a devilish Echeverri, River beat Belgrano 3 to 0 and is the leader...

River won tonight 3 to 0 to Belgrano de Córdoba, at home, for the second date of the Professional League, in a match played...

‘The Guardian of the Monarchs’: the Netflix documentary that shakes environmentalists due to the...

“The Guardian of the Monarchs” is a documentary directed by Emiliano Ruprahwhich portrays Homero Gómez, a Mexican activist and environmental defender, who fought for...

José Luis Villarreal and his historic goal in the land of Fidel Castro

There are events that mark a historical milestone, but that remain lost in oblivion. One of those significant events occurred in August 1988,...