Really, how bad can cigarettes be?

Through all of the new findings about cigarettes, we know that they are ultimately bad for us. However, just how bad is smoking cigarettes for our health and well-being? Throughout my entire life I have been told that they were severe taboo and I should stay away from them at all costs, but I did not realize just how damaging these can be.

Cigarette smoking can be directly linked to cardiovascular impairment, high blood pressure, shortened breath, yellow teeth, and even high cholesterol (How Cigarettes Damage Your Body). Another risk factor that cigarettes play a large role in is strokes. In an observation study done by the Framingham Heart Study, you can see that the effect of smoking greatly increase the chances of a stroke occurring. The study consisted following 4255 men and women over 26 years and documenting and analyzing those that were smokers. The study was able to be controlled after the scientists took out the factors of age and hypertension. The study concluded that the chance of a stroke in the subjects increased as the amount of cigarettes they smoked increased (Cigarette Smoking as a Risk Factor for Stroke).

I believe that this Framingham Study was one that was sufficient enough to find compelling evidence, but also could have been improved. Though it may become an ethical issue, it is obvious that an experiment would discover even more substantial evidence than just an observational study. However, one way that observational studies can be found to be more reliable is through meta-analysis.

Though some studies had found a correlation to appear to exist, conclusions of these observation studies were not enough for some. Due to this, a meta-analysis was then conducted on cigarette smoking and the increased risk of a stroke. The meta-analysis began to analyze 32 different studies on if cigarettes effected the chance of having a stroke. The overall risk of stroke that was associated with cigarette smoking was 1.5. This being found it was concluded that, “the meta-analysis provides strong evidence of an excess risk of stroke among cigarette smokers” (Meta-analysis of relation between cigarette smoking and stroke).

I believe that this meta-analysis does in fact provide enough sufficient evidence to conclude that smoking cigarettes does increase the risk of a stroke, among other health hazards. The smoking of cigarettes has been known for some time now to impede the overall well-being of an individual, but now there is strong supporting evidence to prove this. The smoking of cigarettes is one that can have many different health concerns from high blood pressure to cardiovascular disease, but especially the increased chance of a stroke occurring. In essence, one should never smoke cigarettes or if they do they should undoubtably make every attempt to discontinue this bad habit.


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