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Cigarettes And Their Destruction Of The Brain

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Smokers generally feel more comfortable after that especially important
first cigarette of the day. Within just a few seconds of "lighting up," smoking
activates mind-altering changes. Smokers are well aware of the long-term risks
of their habit: such as lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other deadly
illnesses. However, smokers are attracted by the immediate effects of smoking:
"a stimulant that makes them seem to feel more alert, clearheaded and able to
focus on work." Smoking however, does not really have these effects; what the
smoker perceives is an illusion. Nicotine begins to act on brain cells within
ten seconds of inhalation, fitting into "keyholes" on the surface of the brain;
the same "keyholes" as acetylcholine(an important neurotransmitter), and
mimicking epinephrine and norepinephrine, giving the smoker a rush, or
stimulation. Within 30 minutes, smokers feel their energy begin to decline, as
the ingested nicotine is reduced. This process continues, as the smoker's
attention becomes increasingly focused on cigarettes. Nicotine causes smokers'
brain cells to grow more nicotinic receptors than normal; therefore, the brain
may function normally despite the irregular amount of acetylcholine-like
chemical acting upon it. The brain is reshaped: the smoker feels normal with
nicotine in his system, and abnormal without it. A series of tests were
conducted on nonsmokers, "active" smokers, and "deprived" smokers. The "active"
smokers were given a cigarette before each test, while the "deprived" smokers
were not allowed cigarettes before tests.
The tests started simply, and then moved towards more complex problems.
In the first test, subjects sat in front of a computer screen and pressed the
space bar when a target letter, among 96, was recognized: smokers, deprived
smokers, and nonsmokers, performed equally well. The next test involved

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Keywords: cigarettes and the brain

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