Cigarette smoking is a worldwide epidemic, especially among the younger generation. When young people repeatedly embrace the drug, they become addicted as they grow. Cigarette smoking poses serious health threats not only in the US but also other parts of the globe. The essay will expound on how cigarette smoking alters the cell membrane and its function as well as how the smoke components are related to atherosclerosis.
A cigarette is usually made up of various components such as hydrocyanide, polycyclic hydrocarbon, and heavy metals. As such, a high volume of oxidants increases the amount of oxidative stress in a cigarette smoker. The radicals found in cigarette leads to the augmentation of lipid peroxidation which in turn lowers the density of lipoprotein (LPL) and oxidation as well as atherosclerosis (Su, et al, 2008). It is important to note that the Red Blood Cells (RBC) membrane comprises of lipids and thus the oxidation effect of oxygen on it is much greater when compared to other tissues of the body (Li, et al, 2012).

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Additionally, red blood cells contain hemoglobin that acts as a catalyst in the lipid peroxidation process. When one smokes cigarette thus, they inhale the heavy metals and other components in the smoke which in turn lowers the functioning of the antioxidant system. Moreover, the peroxidants in cigarette have the capability to oxidize -SH group not only in proteins but also in red blood cells membranes. Due to its high reactive abilities, -SH is vividly a major target of oxidative stress (Belcheva, et al, 2004).

Atherosclerosis is a condition where cellular waste, calcium, cholesterol, and other waste substances are deposited in the membrane of the artery walls. When a person smokes, the heavy metals and other components that make up the drug will accumulate in the artery of the smoker. The deposits will build up with time and hinder blood from efficiently flowing in the artery (Ambrose & Barua, 2004). The substances in cigarette also damage the endothelium of the artery thus resulting in the constriction of blood flow and reducing oxygen supply; a condition referred to as atherosclerosis (Golden, et al, 2002).

In a nutshell, cigarette smoking is such a bad habit. It contains substances such as hydrocyanide, polycyclic hydrocarbon, and heavy metals that are detrimental to our RBCs membranes and health at large. Moreover, repeated use of the drug leads to atherosclerosis where a person’s blood pressure rises above normal.

    References
  • Ambrose, J. A., & Barua, R. S. (2004). The pathophysiology of cigarette smoking and cardiovascular disease: an update. Journal of the American college of cardiology, 43(10), 1731-1737.
  • Belcheva, A., Ivanova‐Kicheva, M., Tzvetkova, P., & Marinov, M. (2004). Effects of cigarette smoking on sperm plasma membrane integrity and DNA fragmentation. International journal of andrology, 27(5), 296-300.
  • Golden, S. H., Folsom, A. R., Coresh, J., Sharrett, A. R., Szklo, M., & Brancati, F. (2002). Risk factor groupings related to insulin resistance and their synergistic effects on subclinical atherosclerosis. Diabetes, 51(10), 3069-3076.
  • Li, W. W., Li, N., Wu, Q. Y., Xia, X. Y., Cui, Y. X., Huang, Y. F., & Yao, Q. (2012). Cigarette smoking affects sperm plasma membrane integrity. Zhonghua nan ke xue= National journal of andrology, 18(12), 1093-1096.
  • Su, Y., Han, W., Giraldo, C., De Li, Y., & Block, E. R. (2008). Effect of cigarette smoke extract on nitric oxide synthase in pulmonary artery endothelial cells. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 19(5), 819-825.