Chapter 21 Human Health and Diseases Part 2 (smoking alcoholism drug addiction) by TEACHING CARE online tuition and coaching classes

Chapter 21 Human Health and Diseases Part 2 (smoking alcoholism drug addiction) by TEACHING CARE online tuition and coaching classes



Smoking of tobacco dried and cured leaves of plant ‘Nicotiana tobacum’ and N. rustica in the form of cigars, cigarettes, bides etc. is very toxic to the body. Smoke of tobacco contains about 300 compounds. The main compounds are nicotine, CO, HCN, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, certain other stimulating products etc.

Nicotine in the blood stimulates the nervous system, relax the muscles, release adrenalin hormone and increase the rate of heart beats. In pregnant ladies growth of fetus decreases and loss of weight may takes place.

  • Tobacco : The tobacco was first smoked by Red Indians in It then spread to European countries in the early 1600’s, and today a large part of the world population smoke tobacco, while some others chew it.
  • Effect of Nicotine : Smoking was reported to produce a feeling of tranquility (calmness) and in some cases made people alert and Since in its early days the use of tobacco was socially accepted and no harmful effects were obvious, the addiction became widespread. But scientific research indicates that use of tobacco is harmful. Nicotine is the major stimulatory component of tobacco products including cigarettes. It is highly poisonous. The amount present in one cigar can be fatal, if it is injected intravenously into a person. When smoked, about 10 percent of the smoke is inhaled. Nicotine has a number of effects on the human body. It stimulates passage of nerve impulses, causes muscles to relax and causes the release of adrenaline, increasing both blood pressure and heart beat rate. The increased blood pressure caused by smoking leads to increased risk of heart diseases. In pregnant women nicotine causes retardation of the growth of the foetus.

Other Harmful Components of Tobacco Smoke : Besides the nicotine the tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and tar.

  • Deseases Caused by Smoking : Smoking causes the following
  • Cancer : Benzpyrene present in tobacco smoke is carcinogenic. About 95% victims of lung cancer are due to smoking. Reverse smoking causes oral cancer. In reverse smoking the burning end of the cigar is kept in the Reverse smoking is common in the villages of Andhra Pradesh. Bidi smoking causes cancer of tongue, pharynx (throat), larynx, tonsils and oesophagus. Lip cancer is caused by cigar and pipes. Tobacco chewing leads to oral cancer.

Tobacco smoking mutates and inactivates P 53 gene which checks cancer growth.

  • Carcinogenic agents are X-ray radiation, V. radiation, Nicotine etc.
  • Cardio-vascular Diseases : Tobacco smoking causes increase of adrenalin secretion which increases blood pressure, heart beat rate by constricting the arteries. High blood pressure increases the chances of heart Nicotine damages the bicuspid valve (mitral valve) of the heart.
  • Nicotine acts as a stimulant because it minimize the effect of
  • Emphysema : Tobacco smoke may break down the walls of alveoli of the lungs, decreasing the surface area for gas exchange, causing
  • Coughing and Bronchitis : Tobacco smoking irritates the mucous membrane of the pharynx (throat) and bronchi causing coughing and bronchitis.
  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis : Smoking can spread bacteria of pulmonary tuberculosis from infected person to healthy persons.
  • Gastric and Duodenal Ulcers : Smoking increases the secretion of gastric juice containing HCl. Excess of HCl causes gastric and duodenal
  • Effect on Immune System : Smoking reduces immunity of the
  • Decrease in Oxygen carrying Capacity : Carbon monoxide of tobacco smoke rapidly binds haemoglobin of RBC and causes co-poisoning which reduces oxygen carrying capacity of
  • Other Effects of Smoking : Tobacco smoking has other



  • Effect on other Persons : Tobacco smoking annoys non-smokers. It may prove even more harmful to
  • Effect on Personality : Lips of the smoker may get Teeth and fingers may become stained and breath becomes foul.
  • Effect on Economy : Tobacco smoking also affects economy of the

 Alcoholism.                                                                                                                                                             Regular consumption of alcohol either in low concentration (beer, wine, etc.) or in high concentration (brandy, whisky, rum, gin, Vodka, etc.) causes dependency on alcohol which is called alcoholism. The person who

has become a habitual drinker is called an alcoholic.

Ethyl alcohol is consumed as fermented beverages with low content of alcohol (beer, wine, toddy) and as distilled beverages with a relatively high alcohol percentage (brandy, rum, whisky, gin, vodka). This alcohol is rapidly absorbed from the wall of stomach and enters the blood stream within minutes of ingestion. In the liver alcohol is converted into a more toxic substance – acetaldehyde.

The organ which is most affected by alcohol, is Liver.

Intoxication begins from the first sip of drink containing alcohol but early signs are not visible. With the increase in its dose the body loses its control. And, gradually, the individual loses his consciousness and in extreme cases death may occur. People who get into the habit of drinking begin with a small dose, but soon many of them become addicted and they start consuming alcohol frequently and in large quantities. When they come to realize that they have become the victims of the hazards of alcohol, then it is too late for them to give up the habit.

Research studies have revealed that the people who resort to drinking offer one or more of the following reasons: (1) Social pressure, (2) Feeling of independence, (3) Liking of the taste, (4) Desire of excitement, (5) Desire to escape from such realities of life as disappointments and failures, and (6) hardships and monotony of everyday life.

When a person drinks alcohol, it passes to the stomach. Some amount of alcohol is also carried to the small intestine. Alcohol is quickly absorbed in the stomach and upper part of small intestine and is transferred to the blood. This blood carries alcohol to the liver. Liver synthesises fat from alcohol. The excess fat reduces the formation of glycogen, enzymes and structural proteins. The liver is an important centre of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. But due to excess of fat in the liver makes the liver only a store house of fat. From the liver alcohol follows the following route through blood. Liver ® heart ® lungs ® heart ® various body parts (tissues). Its oxidation starts so that a some amount of energy is produced which gives false impression of warmth in the skin.

Many people think that alcohol is a stimulant. But alcohol is not a stimulant. Actually alcohol acts as sedative (lessens functional activity), analgesic (relieves pain) and anaesthetic (causes loss of sensation).

  • Effects of Alcohol : It has been proved that the intake of alcohol affects individual health, family life and ultimately creates several community and social

(a) Effects on Individual Health

  • Effect on Nervous System : Many people drink alcohol for some “stimulation”, but in reality it depresses the nervous system, thus acting as a sedative, analgesic and anaesthetic agent. It reduces the efficiency of every tissue of the body. In a chronic alcoholic the axons of the nerve are inflamed, thus causing neuritis. The prolonged effect of alcohol on the nervous system causes various mental and physical
  • Effect on Heart : Alcohol no doubt provides more energy and produces heat in the body, but, at the same time, it dilates the blood vessels. Thus, the heat generated is quickly lost. Due to constant dilation, the arterial walls soon become brittle and Such a change in the property of blood vessels and deposition of alcoholic fat affect the working of the heart.



  • Effect on Stomach : A small quantity with low concentration of alcohol stimulates the secretion of gastric But an increased quantity with higher concentration has the opposite effects. Alcohol affects the lining of the stomach and causes inflammation. In most cases, the drinkers (specially those who drink on an empty/stomach) become the victims of gastritis.
  • Effect on Liver : The most important organ which is damaged by alcohol is the liver. The liver is the storehouse of glycogen but alcohol causes the storage of fat in the It causes fatty liver syndrome. Gradually, the liver hardens and dries up as its cells are replaced by a fibrous tissue. This kind of liver degeneration is called cirrhosis. Once the liver is damaged, it affects the other organs of the body also.
  • Effect on Kidneys : Kidneys are overworked in eliminating the excess water often taken with
  • Effect on immunity : The users of alcohol neglect their health and soon the body loses its resistance to The alcoholics are in most cases victims of malnutrition and are easily susceptible to disease like pneumonia.
  • Effect on level of sugar in blood : Lowering of blood (Hypoglycemia)
  • Effect on the Family : The consumption of alcohol not only creates problems to the drinker but directly or indirectly affects the family and community Alcoholic drinks are costly and most drinkers, because of their selfish habit, deprive their children and other members of the family of the basic needs. Thus, they create health and other problems.
  • Effect on Society (Community) : The drinking of alcohol is invariably associated with social crimes and dissolution of moral and cultural inhibitions. Violence and other corrupt practices in the community are often directly or indirectly due to the consumption of alcohol. The intake of alcohol increases the rate of industrial accidents and decreases production. Traffic accidents are often due to drunken drivers. Illegal activities like production and selling of illicit liquor increases antisocial
    • Driving and drinking do not go together : It is due to the following facts :
  • Alcohol affects judgement : A person’s ability to judge distance is
  • Alcohol affects coordination : Coordination of the limbs, the head and the eyes are impaired affecting the driver’s control of the car.
  • Alcohol affects alertness : A driver becomes less watchful and fails to observe objects outside his
  • Alcohol affects vision : Vision becomes blurred and Often the field of vision is reduced (Tunnel Vision).
  • Alcohol increases reaction time : The driver takes more time to react to unexpected situations, g., a child running across a street.
  • Alcohol affects behaviour : Intoxicated drivers become rash, careless and They tend to speed and take risks.

 Drug Addiction.                                                                                                                                                     

  • Symptoms and Control
  • Drugs : Drugs are normally used for the treatment of diseases. The prolonged use of drugs may lead to the dependence of the body on This is drug addiction. Some people without any medical advice, start taking drugs and soon become drug addicts. Certain drugs form habit, but some make the body completely dependent upon them.
  • Addiction : Some persons are unable to bear tensions or think themselves unable to solve the problems of life or due to certain other curious factors start drinking, smoking and taking certain narcotic drugs and feel relief and Gradually this becomes their habit and they are addicted to these things.



Thus addiction can be defined as a physical and mental dependence on any of the above mentioned factors and get temporary relief and feel pleasure.

The common factors are :

  • Drug Addiction : The compounds used for the cure of the diseases are known as drugs. Certain drugs of specific category are nerve stimulants and Some of the drugs function as sedative and others act as hallucinogens.

The regular use of such drugs causes the drug addiction in human and they become habitual of these drugs.

Drugs such as aspirin and antihistamines when taken with alcohol may have dangerous effects. Including death.

  • Types of Drugs : These are a large number of drugs on which people become dependent. On the basis of their mode of action on the brain, these drugs are of four types : Sedatives and Tranquillisers, Opiate Narcotics, stimulants and
  • Sedatives and Tranquillisers : These drugs depress the activities of the central nervous system. They give a feeling of calmness, relaxation or drowsiness in the body. Their higher doses induce sleep. Tranquillisers lower tension and anxiety without inducing Examples : barbiturates and benzodiazephines (e.g., Valium).

Barbiturates are synthetic drugs derived from barbituric acid and are called sleeping pills.

  • Opiate Narcotics : These drugs suppress brain activity and relieve pain. They are called pain killers. Examples opium and its derivatives and some synthetic drugs (g., pethidine and methadone).

Opium and its Derivatives : Opium is the extract from the unripe capsules of the poppy plant (Papaver somniferum). It has bitter taste. The opium addict loses weight fertility and interest in work. Its derivatives are morphine, codeine and heroin. Opium derivatives immediately reduce respiratory and cardiovascular activity, constricts the pupils of the eye, reduce the visual activity and cause nausea and vomiting. An overdose leads to respiratory arrest and death. If the supply of the drug is not available, the addicts exhibit terrible “with-drawal symptoms” in the form of muscle cramps, running nose, vomiting and epilepsy.

  • Morphine and Codeine : These are derived from opium. Morphine is a most valuable analgesic but it causes addiction. Codeine is a mild analgesic but causes no addiction so codeine is commonly used in many medicines and cough
  • Heroin (Diacetylmorphine or Diamorphine) : Heroin is formed from morphine by acetylation. It is highly addictive and, therefore, considered most dangerous It is banned even for medical use. It is used in research. Heroin is taken orally or inhaled or injected. As the heroin addicts are careless about the needles and syringes so they can cause blood poisoning, serum hepatitis and AIDS.
  • Stimulants : These drugs stimulate the nervous system; make a person more wakeful, alert and active; and cause The stimulants include caffeine, cocaine and amphetamines.
    • Caffeine : It is an alkaloid derived from the leaves of tea plant (Thea chinesis), seeds of coffee plant (Coffea arabic) and seeds of Cacao plant (Theobroma cacao). Tea plants and coffee plants are shrubs while cacao plants are trees. Caffeine is a mild stimulant and is commonly taken as beverages – tea, coffee, coca and cola It increases alertness and thought. As it is mild stimulant, it is used in medicines as a cardiac stimulant. Its excessive use causes addiction.
    • Cocaine : It is extracted from the leaves and young twigs of the South American shrub Erythroxylon coca. Cocaine is used as local anaesthetic and The bad effects are lack of sleep, loss of appetite and



hallucination which ultimately lead to damaged mental functions and insanity. The misuse may also produce severe headache, convulsion or death due to cardiovascular or respiratory failure.

  • Amphetamines : These are synthetic drugs, which are strong stimulants. Amphetamines are taken by truck drivers and night workers to keep awake. They do not remove fatigue. However, they impair vision and judgement of
  • Hallucinogens : These drugs change thoughts, feelings and perceptions of an Hallucinogens (drugs) cause hallucinations (illusion of seeing objects or hearing sounds, etc., not actually present). They include chemicals such as LSD. (Lysergic acid diethylamide), mescalin, psilocybin and products of hemp plant.
    • LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) : It is derived from Argot fungus. It is most powerful hallucinogen which causes horrible dreams, chronic psychosis, and severe damage to the central nervous system. LSD also brings about chromosomal and foetal
    • Products of Hemp Plant : Bhang, (hashish) ganja and charas are three drugs obtained from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant (Cannabis indica) commonly called Another drug Marijuana is derived from another species of hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). Immediately after the intake of these drugs, the pupils of the eye dilate, blood sugar level rises and frequency of urination increases. These drugs are often mixed with tobacco and smoked. Compared to the other drugs, these drugs may appear to be less harmful, but these may lead to the opiates (opium group) addiction. They are dangerous if taken along with alcohol. Some of these drugs (e.g., Marijuana) cause anxiety and may lead to psychosis.
  • Marijuana is

Major Groups of Psychotropic Drugs with Examples and Effects

Type of Drug Examples Effects
(1) Sedatives and (depressant) tranquillisers Benozodiazephines Barbiturates) (e.g., Valium Depress brain activity and produce feelings of calmness, relaxation, drowsiness and deep sleep (high doses).
(2)       Opiate narcotics Opium, Morphine, Heroin, Pethidine, Methadone Suppresses brain function, relieves intense pain.
(3)       Stimulants Caffeine                      (very Amphetamines mild), Cocaine, Stimulates the nervous system; makes a person more wakeful, increases alertness and activity, produces excitement.
(4)       Hallucinogens LSD,     Mescalin,    psilocybin,    Bhang (Hashish), Ganja Charas, Marijuana Alters thought, feelings and perceptions cause illusions.
  • Combinations of Drugs : Some drug addicts use mixtures of drugs to have immediate effect. Combination of alcohol and barbiturates causes increased depressant effect. Mixture of alcohol and antihistamines produces marked drowsiness. Combination of alcohol and valium causes increased sedative effect. Mixture of alcohol and marijuana produces decreased coordination and impaired judgement. Combination of alcohol and aspirin causes increased chances of damage to gastric



Alcohol-Drugs Interaction

Combination Effect
Alcohol + barbiturates Dramatically increased depressant effect
Alcohol + antihistamines Marked drowsiness
Alcohol + Valium Rapid increase in sedative effect
Alcohol + Marijuana or Hashish Decreased coordination, increased reaction time, impaired judgement
Alcohol + Aspirin Increased risk of damage to gastric mucosa.
  • Effect of Drug Addition of Family, Society and Addicts : The drug-users not only themselves suffer from the ill-effects of drug addiction, they also bring miseries to the entire Since they get the supply of the drugs from illegal sources, they encourage smuggling and other associated illegal activities, resulting in several other social problems. It is evident that all the drugs affect the central nervous system and their prolonged use causes permanent damage. The body fails to work without the drugs. Ultimately other organs also get damaged, and the drug-users become victims of various diseases. There are several reasons causing drug addiction.
  • Curiosity : Frequent reference to drugs in newspapers, literature and on radio makes a person curious to have personal experience of the taste of a particular
  • Peer group pressure : Constant description by friends about the “good feeling” creates a temptation. Such inspiration from friends and peer groups acts as a pressure to start with
  • To overcome frustrations and depressions : The desire to get solace or relief from personal problems initiates the use of The school children who take refuge in drugs are usually lonely, unloved and insecure.
  • Excitement and adventure : It is natural for the young to look for some exciting The intake of drug being illegal satisfies that feeling of excitement and adventure.
  • Looking for a different world : Some people believe that drugs open up a new world of It increases the ability to appreciate the aesthetic beauties, helps in intellectual enlightenment and creativity.
  • Desire to do more physical or mental work : Some people use drugs to increase their working power. Many students use drugs to work whole night before In most cases this leads to mental-breakdown.
  • Persistent use to get relief from pain : People suffering from pain often take drugs for relief. Such persistent use is sometimes based on medical This practice makes them addicts.
  • Family history : Examples of parents of members of the family using drugs act as the most natural