The period of adolescence is exciting yet evolutionary part of every individual’s life. Young people experience enormous progress in development of unique identity and stages of maturation. The process is influenced by exploring in new decisions and behaviors to discover one’s character. Therefore, teenage hood is a vulnerable duration due to exposure of peer pressure, cognitive critical thinking and the nature of committing irresponsible decisions. This report identifies the smoking effects on adolescences health and early consequences. The findings are focused on development alterations of the brain due to nicotine exposure, the impairment to function of respiratory system and lung growth, the damage of smoking to muscles and bones performance.
The increasing severity of the diseases and smoking related illnesses are discovered and analyzed in adults with long term smoking history. This report will discuss effects of short-term smoking duration and identify the health alteration of adolescence and how does smoking weakens the physiological development and what does it mean for body’s future performance in adulthood.
Adolescent brain maturation regarding nicotine consumption
The human brain does not complete its full maturation until the age of 25, therefore complex development of the brain occurs during adolescence.
The adolescent brain is exposed to heightened biological sensitivity at this phase, furthermore, engaging in smoking consequences the brain’s development and increases the chances of psychiatric disorders and a lack of maturation of the prefrontal cortex. It is responsible for significant functions of behavior, personality, critical thinking and decision making(coldspringharbperspectmed,2012)
Nicotine is associated as a dangerous and highly addictive stimulant. It is consumed by inhaling enlightened cigarette and enters the blood steam where it targets the brain within 10-20 seconds. (coldspringharbperspectmed,2012) Once nicotine reaches the brain it binds to neuron’s nicotinic acetylcholine receptors that promote the release of dopamine, a hormone which is responsible for pleasure response. Since the rewarding function is matured before the prefrontal cortex in the brain, adolescences are exposed to smoking addiction at low levels of cigarette consumption. It causes the risk of nicotine dependence in early stages, progressing the chances of transitioning into smoking practices in adulthood. (Anon,2019)
Studies have proven that adolescent smokers are exposed to reduction of neuronal activity, which is a repetitive, rhythmic electrical message transition between neurons. Neural development is an important factor during maturation phase as it forms synaptic strength and connectivity. Nicotine alters the communication between brain regions by inducing the axon damage, causing an impaired synapse transmission. Synapse is a transition of an electrical message into a chemical between the gap of the delivering and beginning of a receiving neuron.
According to research conducted by Dr Chaarani smoking in adolescence greatly impacts to decreasing of the grey matter volume and neuronal connectivity. The process undertook 2 types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of each adolescent participant’s brain. The results were analyzed based on the individual’s smoking engagement and their measure of grey matter volume. The grey matter is a tissue surface of the brain which consists of neural cell bodies and synaptic connections. It is contained in the regions of the brain responsible for memory, speech, hearing, emotions, decision making and self-control. The outcome of the research concluded the more adolescence engage in smoking the more grey matter decreases in at the prefrontal cortex and communication in corpus collosum (a part of the brain which connects right and left hemisphere) losing the ability to function and experience problems in learning and focusing. (Anon,2019)
Impairment of respiratory system and its functions
Respiratory system performs significant function in supplying the body oxygen from the air in order to produce energy and has a vital role of filtering the impurities that enter the body via mouth and nose. (Kidshealth.org.2019) Smoking has a direct impact on adolescent respiratory system as the intensity and smoking duration is more powerful on lung function due to its growth stage. Respiratory system is most highly exposed organ to concentration of the toxins from cigarette smoking. To avoid the infections and illness, the respiratory system performs a protective process called mucociliary system for clearance of the impurities from delicate tissue in the lungs. The particles become caught in the mucus layer on the surface of the airways lining. They are swept out of the lungs by a cilia movement which are micro hair a like follicles on the surface of airways. (Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au, 2019) Cigarette smoking impairs the defensive functions which trigger the chronic diseases. Around 60% of pollutants from cigarette are trapped in lungs. Smoking results cilia motion to slow down, causing to maintain the impurities in lungs, however respiratory system attempts to recover, forcing the pollutants and mucus to exit the lungs and expelling the substance by coughing, this is known as ‘smokers cough’. (Nuecleausmedicalmedia,2019)
Underneath cilia the epithelium cell lining is located which is a thin protective layer of tissue in the airways. Exposure to smoke damages the protective layer which leads to inflammation. Long period of smoking causes loss of cilia movement and thickness of mucus, progresses bronchitis, which is a blockage of airways, triggering breathing difficulties. (Nuecleausmedicalmedia,2019)
A set of lungs consist of 480 million alveoli which is a tiny air sac which allows the gases to exchange rapidly and are held by branching bronchi. Alveoli are contained within capillaries and both share membrane that allows inhaled oxygen to enter through alveoli and reach the blood stream through capillaries blood vessels. Simultaneously the carbon dioxide exits the alveoli in the same pathway while exhaling. (Verywell Mind, 2019)
As a result of smoking, the inhaled toxins from cigarette damage the bronchioles causing them to narrow and produce mucus. The membrane barrier of alveoli breaks, losing the air sac function and ability to absorb oxygen to nutrient blood and expel carbon dioxide. A breakage in the sac cannot be recovered, however quitting smoking in early stage will prevent the damage of alveoli and chronic lung diseases. (Verywell Mind, 2019)
Adolescence who engage in cigarette smoking actively, reduce healthy lung function and impair its growth process which prevents respiratory system from maturing into efficiently function set of lungs. The lung’s immune systems gradually damages, losing its ability to remove viruses and bacteria, also causing inflammation as a reaction response and progressing exposure for infections. (Nuecleausmedicalmedia,2019)
Common respiratory system symptoms of beginning of smoking illnesses are coughing, wheezing, coughing up phlegm from inflammation, chest pain and dyspnea (shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing). Those signs are associated with cigarette smoking related illnesses which lead to exposure of chronic diseases development and lung injury.
Rapid effect on cardiovascular system
Cardiovascular system is defined into heart and the blood vessels that transmit blood to organs. The blood vessels contain of arteries, veins and capillaries that are bind to alveoli, they unit a cardiovascular system along with lungs to supply oxygen to vital organs such as the brain.
Cigarette smoking during adolescence provokes the damaging process of cardiovascular system which leads to early sings of diseases. Nicotine in cigarette smoke increases blood pressure and tention on the arteries walls. It impairs the function of systolic and diastolic pressure; systolic blood pressure is the highest pressure in arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle. Diastolic pressure is the minimum arterial pressure that occurs during relaxation of the heart. A higher blood pressure demands the heart to pump blood harder and faster to come into a rhythm with the opposite arterial pressure. Therefore, it raises heart rate and stress on the organ making it wear out quicker. It also increases possible damage to organs such as kidneys which function to filter the blood. (Tobaccofreekids.org, 2019)
Heart rate is the speed of heart pumping the blood around the body which is measured by the amount of contractions per minute. (MacGill and Carissa Stephens, 2019) It is proven that nicotine increases the resting heart rate of youth smoker by 2-3 beats per minute than a non-smoker. Nicotine consumption by cigarette smoking increases heart rate 30 minutes to a higher pace, specially by the number of cigarettes smoked. A smoker’s heart is required to work harder which progress the chances of heart attack or stroke in early adulthood. (Tobaccofreekids.org, 2019)
It is proven that smoking and even light, occasional smoking results in blood vessels to narrow. It occurs from smoke reducing nitric oxide (NO2), that causes blood vessels to expand and maintain open, and increase endothelin (ET-1), which constricts blood vessels. This effect begins rapidly in vessels after smoking, temporarily reducing blood supply and restriction in blood flow. (Tobaccofreekids.org, 2019)
Cigarette smoking during adolescence and early adulthood is causes the development of atherosclerosis which is a main cause of coronary heart disease. (Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au, 2019) Atherosclerosis occurs by fat and cholesterol forming plaques which bind to the artery walls and cause reduction of blood flow. Nicotine and other harmful substances in tobacco smoke are absorbed by lungs and are distributed around the body through blood stream. The toxins damage the vessel walls, allowing the plaques to develop faster. (Tobaccofreekids.org, 2019) This reduces blood supply to organs and decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to organs. Smokers are exposed to rapid progression of atherosclerosis, leading to a higher chance of stroke and coronary heart disease. (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019)
Thrombosis caused by cigarette smoking is a major factor of severe cardiovascular diseases. An MI of younger smokers are presented with fewer cardiac disease risks and less acute coronary events than non-smokers however, even occasional smoking contributes to exposure of coronary thrombosis into adulthood regarding smoking duration in adolescence. (Metz and Waters 2003)
Thrombosis is developed in smokers as a result of clots in a blood vessel. Clots are originally produced inside blood vessels to prevent bleeding, when a vessel received damage. The substances in tobacco smoke progresses a dangerously large quantity of clot formation. (US,2019) Smokers develop increased level of thrombin, especially after smoking. Thrombin is an enzyme that converts into fibrin clots. Fibrin is a protein which strengthens the clot by forming a mesh that tightens the object that obstructs the flow of blood in circulatory system. This progresses the blockage in vessels delivering the flow of blood to vital organs. (Khan Academy, 2019) Thrombosis development provokes the presence of plaque (atherosclerosis), this combination spikes the risk of heart attacks then in non-smokers by 4 times furthermore, young male smokers are more likely to have sudden death than female smokers.
Tobacco is illegal to consume below the age of 18 in Australia, however many underage adolescences commit to smoking, therefore education in school and social media publicity can reduce smoking rate and set a healthier choice environment by informing the harmful side effect it progresses. Both male and female smokers receive relatively equal damage from smoking to their organisms. Nicotine in cigarette is a harmful chemical that spikes addiction through the pleasure response in the brain and impairs the maturation of frontal cortex that controls critical thinking, judgment, memory and behavior. Cigarette smoking in adolescences reduces and impairs lung function and its growth, additionally developing early symptoms of coughing, phlegm and shortness of breath which leads exposure to diseases. Smoking damages cardiovascular system due to tobacco substances intoxicating blood vessels which increases the risk for coronary heart diseases. Overall cigarette smoking during adolescence reduces proper body maturation and its functions into adulthood and sets up vulnerability for variety of diseases and irreversible illnesses, based on smoking duration.