The Issue of Alcohol and Tobacco Use in the World and the Harm It Induces

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Studies show that in the last year 46 million adults have used alcohol and tobacco products. That is about fifteen percent of the world. That is a lot of people. These two products have existed for thousands of years. Imagine how many adults have used alcohol or tobacco products since they were invented. People do not often think about the side effects of using these products. They just think about how it makes them feel.

A person often does not think about the horror stories that come out of using either of these products. A person doesn’t think about becoming addicted. A person does not think of what all happens when they go to take a puff of the cigarette. A person doesn’t think about having “just one more” drink when they are out partying. Life happens so quick it could be all over in just a blink of the eye.

Alcohol or fermented beverages have existed for thousands of years. Their first existence was in early Egyptian civilization, and there is evidence of an early alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C. In India, an alcoholic beverage called sura, distilled from rice, was in use between 3000 and 2000 B.C. In 2700 B.C., the Babylonians worshiped a wine goddess. In Greece, one of the first alcoholic beverages to gain popularity was mead, a fermented drink made from honey and water. Greek literature is full of warnings against excessive drinking. In the sixteenth century, alcohol was used largely for medicinal purposes. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the British parliament passed a law encouraging the use of grain for distilling spirits. Cheap spirits flooded the market and reached a peak in the mid-eighteenth century.

In Britain, gin consumption reached 18 million gallons and alcoholism became widespread. The nineteenth-century brought a change in attitudes and the temperance movement began promoting the moderate use of alcohol—which ultimately became a push for total prohibition. In 1920 the US passed a law prohibiting the manufacture, sale, import, and export of intoxicating liquors. The illegal alcohol trade boomed and by 1933, the prohibition of alcohol was canceled. Today, an estimated 15 million Americans suffer from alcoholism and 40% of all car accident deaths in the US involve alcohol. Alcohol and the use of tobacco products are one of the most preventable deaths in the United States.

Tobacco has been in use for over 10,000 years and worldwide for over 500 years, but its use was limited by the intensity of time and labor involved in producing, preparing and using it. In the late 1800s, the developments of mechanization, transport, and technology led to greater ease of production and use. Marketing, advertising, and promotion by tobacco companies led to tobacco use on such a scale as to be called an epidemic. Tobacco regulation has existed since at least 1500. Growing scientific evidence based on tobacco-related mortality and morbidity, notably since the early 20th century, and public health interventions in place since the mid-20th century, led to a decrease in tobacco use amongst better-off, industrialized, western populations.

There has been a concomitant increase in tobacco use among middle-and lower-income countries. As tobacco is the main risk factor for chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, the late 20th and early 21st century have been characterized by public health campaigns to regulate tobacco. Convention on Tobacco Control, but the number of smokers continues to rise, and tobacco-related disease and death continue to increase.

Studies show that people who smoke are more likely to drink as well, and people who drink are more likely to smoke. People who do both put their bodies at a higher risk for health problems. Alcohol can cause high blood pressure, gastric problems, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, pancreatitis, memory impairment, and alcohol dependence. On the other hand, smoking can cause lung cancer, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. Either way both alcohol and smoking are very bad for your body. Combining them together is even worse. By smoking and drinking alcohol, a person is killing themselves faster than ever. Everyone is going to die but those who do both have a higher chance of dying sooner rather than when they could naturally die.

Let’s use an example, let’s say 23-year-old Barney goes to the bar with his 3 guy friends after his girlfriend of 3 years cheats on him with Barney’s brother. The friends do not think ahead to get a designated driver. They figure they do not plan on drinking more than 2 drinks. Barney had a bad night so he plans to drink his sorrows away. His friends are planning on each having 2- 3 drinks. The friends figure, what could possibly happen? It is only 3 drinks and it will be 3 am till we head home. Each of Barney’s friends each buys rounds of shots for all the friends. That is 3 shots. The friends figure it is a small amount. It can not have that much alcohol content in it. So the friends decide to each buy themselves 2 beers.

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After the 3 shots, Barney decided he needed a smoke break. Barney went outside smoked a cigarette and came back inside. Barney ordered himself a double jack and coke. Again Barney did not think how much alcohol is in that drink. He just knew he likes the taste and it was a rough night. After that drink, Barney went and smoked another cigarette. He was really upset about what had happened that day and just wanted to be numb. Barney had one more double jack and coke. He drank that one and decided to have a drinking contest with the other guys at the bar. The last person to finish 5 shots of tequilla buys the rest of the bar a beer. Barney was the first one done. Some other guy finished last. He bought a round of beer.

At this point, Barney’s Blood Alcohol Content is probably is at.25%. This is above the legal driving level. He reached the point that he felt good though. He also knew that he had almost all his motor skills. His friends had already left. Barney just knew he wanted to get home to his dog. Barney got into his car and remembered to buckle up. He started his drive home. He was about 15 minutes from his house. That was when everything was getting fuzzy. Barney could barely see the lines to drive straight. He saw headlights and swerved away from them. Barney blacked out and drove straight into a telephone pole at 58 mph. That was enough speed to snap the telephone pole in half. Because of the speed Barney was going, he kept going right into the house directly behind the telephone pole. At the end of this not only did Barney die but so did 3 people who were living peacefully in the house that Barney drove into. Moral of the story, if you are going to drink, drink responsibly. Somebody’s life depends on it.

Alcohol’s legal drinking age is 21. This legal age came to because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. This act basically told states that they had to enact a minimum drinking age of 21 or lose up to 21% of their federal highway funding. Since that is a lot of money, states fell into line and made the drinking age 21. This act just puts a barrier on the age of the person who can buy alcohol. The age of 21 comes from the concept of a person being a full adult by the age of 21. Back in the early centuries in English common law; 21 was the age at which a person could, vote and become a knight. Since a person is a full adult at 21 it made sense to just make the legal drinking age.

On the other hand, the legal age to purchase tobacco products today is 18. In the United States, state laws establish a minimum age of legal access for tobacco. These laws first appeared in the 1880s, and by 1920, between 14 and 22 states had MLAs of 21 years. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act set a nonpreemptive national MLA of 18 years to be enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and prohibited the FDA from setting a higher age. The tobacco industry claims to support restrictions on youth access to tobacco but has consistently advocated against increasing the minimum age of legal access to 21 years to the point of denying that such laws ever existed. Increasing the MLA for tobacco to 21 years is feasible, was once the standard in one-third of all states, and would reduce tobacco addiction and deaths.

Both alcohol and nicotine increase concentrations of dopamine in the brain, so another theory is using nicotine and alcohol together increases the feeling of pleasure more than using either drug by itself. Meanwhile, some neurobiological research has produced conflicting information regarding the nicotine-alcohol link. 'Some have reported that ethanol increases the activity of the brain receptors that respond to nicotine, while others have indicated a dampened response of certain subtypes of the so-called nicotinic receptors in the presence of ethanol,' the Duke researchers said. Alcohol and nicotine products both make you feel like you are out of this world. The feeling is something that can not be replicated by nonaddictive products. This is the main reason why people do smoke. It is another reason why people use alcohol. People like how it makes them feel, therefore the use of them both continues.

With them making you feel so good, that is why they are very addictive. The real question is what makes alcohol so addictive? Most people know that for tobacco products, it is the nicotine that makes it addictive.

But what is in alcohol that makes it addictive? According to Recovery Centers of America, alcohol contains chemicals that are released into your body that stimulate the endorphins and dopamines in your brain. These chemicals are natural painkillers. That is why someone can easily become addicted. The feeling you get from these chemicals relaxes a person’s body causing them a feeling nothing else can create. In tobacco products, it is the nicotine that makes it addictive. Nicotine causes a rush of adrenaline in a person’s bloodstream. Nicotine acts as a happy drug. The nicotine triggers the dopamine in a person’s brain. Dopamine stimulates the area of a person’s brain where pleasure is found. Over time, a person can become addicted to tobacco products.

If you are addicted to tobacco products, there is a way to get help. It just requires a person making the decision to quit. Deciding to give up tobacco is not only the first step toward recovery but also the most important step toward better health. Over a million tobacco users quit each year. After just two years of quitting smoking, the risk of stroke can be reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Heart rate and blood pressure to the levels of a nonsmoker within 2 hours of quitting. 95% of smokers who relapse do not have someone supporting them.

Support can come in many forms. These forms could be support from family, friends, or spouse. Many people trying to quit also turn to support groups and classes, as well as individual therapy, to learn healthy coping skills and relapse prevention strategies. It’s often easier to quit when there are others aiming for the same goal with whom you can relate. However, a person chooses to quit they must have the motivation to do so. It takes motivation and commitment.

Just like nicotine addiction, it is possible to overcome alcoholism. To start the process of overcoming this, one must make the decision to quit. This is the first step. If a person is not motivated to quit it makes it more difficult to quit. The next step to quit drinking is to do a detox. This is a medical detox where the person will be under constant medical supervision for 24 hours. This is to ensure the person is as comfortable as they can be as they go through withdrawal symptoms. After a person goes through detox, they will have after treatment. This part of the treatment is being in a rehab center. In a rehab center, the person will get the support and the medical care needed. This is typically a 30 to a 90-day program. Once a person completes the program, they are to continue going to Alcohol Anonymous meetings. The meetings and having support will help a person remain sober.

Which is worse? Tobacco products or alcohol? Both of them cause serious issues to a person’s body. Both can cause someone to become addicted because of how they make a person feel. Through research and prior knowledge, both show that they are both bad for a person. Alcohol has its own problems associated with it. Tobacco products have their own issues. The research can show that tobacco products are worse on a person’s body. Using both of them together cause more issues.

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