If you smokedn 18th-century Arabia or Turkey, you could expect two results: torture and death. Today smoking cigarettes doesn't lead to torture, butt most certainly
promotes death. Approximately 350,000 people per year die from tobacco-relatedllnessesn the United States-that's about 1,000 people a day. The statisticsndicate that
about 32 percent of men and 26 percent of women still continue to smoke despite extensive warnings about the dangers of tobacco.
According to an article publishedn the Journal of the American Medical Associationn 1987, habitual smoking causes more premature deaths than AIDS, cocaine, heroin, alcohol,
fire, automobile accidents, homicide and suicide combined.n a tobacco-free society the life expectancy gain would be equal to that which we would experiencef all cancers
not caused by smoking were completely eliminated.
In addition to lung and other kinds of cancers, smokings a well-known risk factor for atherosclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as emphysema. Pregnant
women who smoke cut off the oxygen supply to their developing fetuses, which resultsn growth retardation. The effects like that of strangling an unborn baby-the most subtle
form of child abuse.
Of the 4,000 known constituents of cigarette smoke, the most activen terms of behavioral effectss the alkaloid nicotine. Recent studies show that nicotines one of the
most addicting substances known, and smokers light up to maintain a constant nicotine leveln their blood. The substance exerts both stimulant and depressive effects. Smokers
citencreased alertness, better memory, relaxation, elimination of anxiety and relief of boredom as some of the effects they seek from smoking.
Those who try to quit face a withdrawal syndrome featuring such symptoms as tobacco craving,rritability, anxiety, restlessness, concentration difficulties, gastrointestinal
problems, appetite changes and weight gain. The last two factors are of greatnterest to some people. Besides the slight ergogenic-stimulant effect of smoking, many people
continue to smoke because they are afraid of gaining weightf they quit. Bodybuildersn Europe sometimesnclude smoking as part of a precontest regimen, the rationale being
that smokingncreases resting metabolic rate while reducing appetite, thus aiding the quest for definition.
Studies show that smoking doesncrease resting metabolic rate by about 12 percent. This happens becauset causes a stress syndrome, which resultsn the release of stress
hormones, such as norepinephrine and epinephrine. These substances,n turn, cause fat to be released from storage sitesn the body. A secondary effects the fact that smoking
stimulates a thermogenic effect, whichnvolves calories burned off as body heat.
Offsetting these beneficial effects, however, are a host of other liabilities associated with habitual smoking. For example, a Stanford University study showed that chronic
smokers have a waist measurement that's greater than average.n simple terms, this means that they tend to store fat around their waists more often than nonsmokers. Besides the
obvious aesthetic disadvantage fatn the abdominal areas associated with a fivefoldncreasen cardiovascular disease, particularly heart attacks.
The resistance to breathing during exercisencreases threefold following just 15 puffs on a cigarette, and the effect lasts about 35 minutes. There are also decreasesn maximum
oxygen uptake, which leads to decreased endurance. A major component of cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide, has a 200 percent greater affinity for oxygen than the hemoglobin that
transports oxygenn the blood. Son effect, people who smoke are choking themselves.
A recent study reportedn the May 9, 1992ssue of the British journal Lancet found that regular smokers arensulin resistant and show elevatednsulin levelsn their blood.
Thiss a metabolic picture thats usually seenn both obesendividuals and type-2 diabetes patients. The significance heres that excessivensulin not only damages arteries,
but also promotes bodyfat. Bodybuilders who smoke toncrease their metabolisms mayn fact bencreasing their tendency to store fat. Thiss particularly truef the smokings
combined with a high-calorie or high-fat diet.
Considering all the health consequences associated with smoking,t just doesn't make sense to look to cigarettes as any kind of ergogenic aid. There are easier, far more healthy
ways to boost your metabolism. Aerobicss one way. You can get a 40 percent or more boostn metabolism from aerobic exercise, which makes the measly 12 percent averagencrease
derived from smoking palen comparison.
And with aerobics your biggest health risks saddle soreness or shin splints. So toss that cigarette wheret belongs-in the garbage.