The Detrimental Effects of Smoking



Sophie Marcus, Writer

“Just one more puff,” you tell yourself as you inhale the chemical that is supposed to exit your body, carbon monoxide.

The effects that nicotine, THC, marijuana, tobacco, and other smoking drugs can have on a person are awful. Many people who start smoking at a party or hanging out with those associated with taking drugs assume they will go from taking one hit from someone else’s vape to owning their own vape. 

Maybe you were just curious about what it tasted like or what a high felt like, but the reality is that curiosity will kill the cat. 

Not only do drugs affect your body and brain, but they affect those around you. It is proven in a study that those who smoke tobacco are likely to have at least ten years cut off from their life. You are taking ten years from your life, and your loved ones will suffer what could have been. I decided that I needed to research what it truly is in these products and what the effects are.


 There are 5,000 different chemicals in a cigarette. Two of those chemicals are butadiene and arsenic. Butadiene is a rubber that causes cancer in one’s bloodstream. Arsenic is what tree tappers use to preserve the tree’s wood and sap. This causes cancer of the skin, heart, lungs, and liver. 


Also, they contain the plant tobacco and the drug nicotine. 

Lung cancer is the most prevalent cancer from smoking cigarettes due to the amount of tar that builds in your lungs.

The process that a cigarette takes to get into your body is your inhale, exhale, and settle. When you inhale nicotine, you are inhaling carbon monoxide. Usually, when one inhales healthy oxygen, one exhales the toxic air: carbon monoxide. But it is quite the opposite with cigarettes. 

Carbon monoxide increases the number of one’s cholesterol and can lead to the hardening of arteries. Inevitably, it will also boost one’s chances of heart or liver diseases.

When picking up a cigarette and smoking in the car, you are not only affecting yourself but those around you. This leads to my next point, secondhand smoke inhalation. 

If you have high blood cholesterol and are around someone smoking, it is likely that you will have the same effects from the cigarette as they do. It is found that 25-30 percent of people who develop heart disease get it due to being exposed to secondhand smoke. Think about this the next time you want to smoke a cigarette while your kid is in the car.

People smoke cigarettes because they think that it is going to lower their stress. It also is believed to increase people’s attention span and helps them remain focused when doing something complex. 

 An online source who is a smoker says that they like to smoke cigarettes because “Smoking gives me a pleasurable feeling. I enjoy the ritual of smoking.” 

I believe that if someone does not start smoking in the first place, then they will never need to crave nicotine or feel like they need a cigarette. Many healthier alternatives to smoking relieve stress. Smoking is an addiction that one must stop before it is too late.

Alternatives to smoking cigarettes

  • Finding a calming activity you enjoy
  • Spend time with your loved ones
  • Enjoy the little things in life
  • Become grateful 



Marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance that gets someone high off of weed. People may think that marijuana will not harm them since it can be used for medicinal reasons; however, this is often not the case since marijuana is a gateway drug. 


Gateway drug means a drug that someone uses to start, but it often leads them to try more harmful drugs like cocaine or heroin.

There is medicinal marijuana as well. This has weed but without THC, or the drug that gets people high. Many people use medicinal marijuana for health reasons, like if someone lacks an appetite and needs to eat. However, like any drug or medication, it is not good to have marijuana unless a doctor prescribes it. You still want to be careful not to get addicted to marijuana because it has unhealthy effects on your body.

People either roll marijuana in a joint, smoke it in a bong, or smoke it in blunts, and some people use vaporizers to filter the vapor versus the smoke. Some people even put weed in food which is known as edibles. There are marijuana extracts that have honey and oil, which creates a sticky texture or wax. These extracts possess extreme amounts of THC and deliver the high to the body faster. 

Many people are blindsided by the damage that these oils can have on the body. These oils contain lighter fluid, and many people accidentally set something on fire by spilling some of this oil.

It is revealed in the Gateway Hypothesis Theory that those who do drugs like marijuana when they are in their teen years are likely to progress to utilizing more harmful substances when they are older.

Mateus Garcia hypothesized that sex and addiction are intertwined together. He theorized that males are more likely to develop substance abuse regardless of the fact that females are more sensitive to drugs. He realized this due to the fact that alcohol has a more long-term effect on women than on men in their adulthood. Garcia concludes that female and male sexual intercourse connects to increased drug addiction. 

Short-Term Effect of Marijuana On The Brain

After smoking from a bong or a joint, the THC enters your bloodstream, which also circulates to your brain. The body takes a generous amount of time to absorb TCH; in fact, it takes longer than it took for you to inhale it. People genuinely feel a high approximately thirty minutes to one hour after smoking. 

(Photo Source:

What is affected in your body when you feel high?

  • Altered senses
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired memory
  • Reckless decision-making 

Long-Term Effect of Marijuana On The Brain

Unlike your temporary-lasting high feeling when you have weed in your blood system, your slowed brain development is permanent. It is shown that a person should not even be allowed to smoke until they are at least 25 because their brain is not fully developed before that. Smoking in your adolescence does not only impair one’s memory, but it impairs their thinking and learning functions as well. 

A study in New Zealand had a research experiment at Duke University that those who smoked marijuana in their teens lost 8 points on an IQ test between ages 13-38. However, those who are adults and started smoking after age 38 did not have a decline or improvement in their IQ. Thus showing that the brain slows due to the destructive effects of marijuana.

Another study that was recently conducted on twins showed a massive decline in one’s verbal ability and IQ between the age gap from pre-teenager to adult. However, this case contradicts itself by showing that one twin had smoked marijuana and the other did not, and there was no difference. This proves that even though someone may smoke marijuana, that is not the reason that their IQ dropped and the reason their IQ dropped is that they have underlying family medical issues.

The Big THC Increase

Over the past couple of years, the amount of THC in marijuana has been increasing slowly, but surely. This is important to know, especially if one is going to try it for the first time, because it is proven to have a stronger impact on newer users. Doctors have expressed that the increase in THC has caused a lot of teens to be hospitalized and need a detox. 

If one was to eat an edible, nine times out of 10, one would eat another one due to the delayed effects. This is extremely dangerous because if you consume too many, it puts you at a significant risk of needing medical assistance. Lastly, although people do not often think about what they are consuming when they eat or smoke, it is essential to become informed of what you are doing to your body and think before you act before you do something as harmful as weed.

Vapes and E-Cigarettes

It is recorded in Canada that although some teenagers vape nicotine, one-third of teenagers vape cannabis. Cannabis is the plant that is in marijuana, as explained earlier. Society tends to believe that cannabis is better for one than nicotine, but the effects of smoking cannabis result in long-term risks.


One of the most common mistakes in smoking is when people assume that vaping cannabis is healthier than cigarettes. The high one gets from marijuana, and the THC in a vape has consequences on one’s brain development and weakens memory.

States such as Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island have banned vapes of all kinds and tobacco products due to the excessive tax collections that these businesses have taken. After the ban took place in Massachusetts, the tax stamps on tobacco decreased by 24 percent. Along with states banning vapes, local Walmarts have collectively stopped selling e-cigarettes.

Erick Kaufman, a cannabis doctor who works in Oklahoma, emphasizes that, “I’m not concerned with the THC in vapes, it is more what it’s mixed with Vitamin E acetate, in particular, but other possible diluting agents and pesticides as well. And while legal dispensaries in certain states are required to test their products for pesticides and other contaminants, Vitamin E hasn’t been among them.” Even though Kaufman works for a dispensary, she is still hesitant about what is truly in the destructive products.

CBD is not the same as THC, regardless of these plants both being in vapes. Doctors are concerned about CBD because there are no regulations and no information announcing what is in these various products. THC causes one to get high and has psychoactive effects that CBD does not have. However, do not let this statistic fool you; doctors and workers still remain unaware of what is in cannabis vapes.

Stephen Bright, a lecturer at Edith Cowan University in Australia who teaches harm reduction, states that “In the U.S., particularly with CBD products, there’s not enough regulation. In Australia, CBD is a schedule eight drug, so it’d be like a schedule two drug in the U.S. You can’t just go into a 7-11 and buy it.” Scheduled drugs are rated from one to 10, with one being the most common substance that is abused and that people are addicted to.

E-cigarettes have chemicals in them, such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde. Acetaldehyde causes lung and heart disease. However, acrolein is the most damaging chemical in e-cigarettes because farmers use this pesticide to kill weeds. If this is killing living plants, one can only imagine what it will do to the body.

Mod pods have similar effects that electronic or e-cigarettes have. It is used to vape nicotine through a magnetic mouthpiece. As such, mods are known to be more potent than e-cigarettes and more advanced. Do not let this fool you; this device contains metals and reactive oxygen species. The health effects are highly harmful, like acute cardiovascular effects, oxidative stress, and respiratory inflammation.

Personal Experience

Although I have never smoked before, I do know some people close to me who do. My grammy was a smoker from the age of sixteen to the age of  73. I remember several times that she would attempt to quit, and she would for two months, but that was the most time she would quit before reverting to old habits. Smoking has always bothered me because no one wants to smell the stench of a cigarette being lit into the environment. 

Although humans can not determine their fate, they can help direct it by treating their bodies right. If you ever try smoking, just keep in mind that what may look like a small picture now will eventually lead to a bigger picture if you do not quit

When smoking, one should think about not only how it will affect one’s body but how your time may very likely be cut short with your loved ones. My grammy was the most fun person I have ever met, and although she was not smoking when she died, the effects of smoking for 55-plus years definitely played a significant role in her death. Overall, no one knows how much time they have on Earth, but living is so good when you treat yourself right, so make every decision you make count.