Terms You Should Know About Smoking

Smoking peer pressure


A chronic relapsing condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking (including alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or nicotine) and abuse and by long-lasting adaptive chemical changes in the brain such as tolerance, physical dependence, craving, etc. Every addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Dependence is at such a point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions from withdrawal. The risk of addiction is in part inherited, but the genetics of addiction are not entirely understood.


A common disorder in which chronic inflammation swells the bronchial tubes (bronchi), narrowing the airways. Asthma involves only the bronchial tubes and does not affect the air sacs (alveoli) or the lung tissue itself.

Blood pressure

The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It's measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called "hypertension".


The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction, and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.


Inflammation and swelling of the bronchi. It can be acute or chronic.


An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).


A lung condition where air collects in tiny air sacs, called alveoli, which become enlarged and may break or be damaged and form scar tissue. Emphysema is strongly associated with smoking cigarettes, a practice that causes lung irritation. Curing established emphysema is not yet possible so the best response to the early warning signs of emphysema is prevention: stop smoking and get immediate treatment for lung infections. Because patients don't have an adequate amount of space in the lungs to breathe, they gasp for breath, and may not be able to obtain enough oxygen.


Inflammation of the esophagus which is the soft tube-like portion of the digestive tract connecting the throat with the stomach.


The tube that connects the throat with the stomach. An adult esophagus is about 25 centimeters (10 inches) long. When a person swallows, the muscular walls of the esophagus contract to push food down into the stomach. Glands in the lining of the esophagus produce mucus, which keeps the passageway moist and facilitates swallowing.


The basic biological units of heredity.

Heart disease

Any disorder that affects the heart.

Heart rate

The number of heart beats per unit time, usually per minute. The heart rate is based on the number of contractions of the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). The heart rate may be too fast ( tachycardia ) or too slow ( bradycardia ). The pulse is bulge of an artery from the wave of blood coursing through the blood vessel as a result of the heart beat. The pulse is often taken at the wrist to estimate the heart rate.

High blood pressure

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is, by definition, a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.


A basic way in which the body reacts to infection , irritation or other injury, the key feature being redness, warmth, swelling and pain . Inflammation is now recognized as a type of nonspecific immune response.


A chemical made by the tobacco plant or produced artificially that has powerful physical effects including increased heart rate, heart stroke volume, and oxygen consumption by the heart muscle, as well as powerful mental effects, such as euphoria, increased alertness, and a sense of relaxation. It is also powerfully addictive. When someone becomes habituated to nicotine and then stops using it, they experience the symptoms of withdrawal, including anxiety, irritability, restlessness, shortened attention span and an intense, sometimes irresistible, craving for nicotine.


Unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart.

Passive smoking

The inhaling of environmental tobacco smoke or secondhand smoke (ETS) by someone who is not smoking.


Inflammation of one or both lungs with consolidation. Pneumonia is frequently but not always due to infection. The infection may be bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic. Symptoms may include fever, chills, cough with sputum production, chest pain, and shortness of breath.


Having to do with the physical and chemical processes by which an organism supplies its cells and tissues with the oxygen needed for metabolism and relieves them of the carbon dioxide formed in energy-producing reactions.

Secondhand smoke

Also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).


Tobacco in the form of a powder that is inhaled into the nose, not smoked.


A South American herb whose leaves contain 2-8% nicotine and serve as the source of smoking and smokeless tobacco.


A whistling noise in the chest during breathing when the airways are narrowed or compressed.