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How harmful is it to smoke cigarettes and marijuana?

Q: I am a student, 22 years old. I smoke too much I don't take any drugs. I smoke cigarettes and joints (marijuana) a lot. Here in Shimla, the peddling and availability is easy. The place where I live is the leading area in drugs as well as the deaths due to drugs. I am a smoker from 5 years. Till this time I am not facing any physical or mental problem; in fact I find it really mind blowing. It has not affected me. I want to know if it is harmful to smoke both the cigarettes & joints? What effects will be there? After how many years will I feel that its affecting my body?

A:Any purely recreational drug (i.e., a non-essential, non-nutritious agent) will cause some harm. When taken in large amounts at one time, the active drugs such as nicotine, heroin or alcohol) are potent poisons and they can kill. The more typical use of smaller amounts taken over the course of many years results in slight but cumulative damage to many organs. Smoking 1 pack a day of cigarettes can cause measurable damage after 20-30 years, and about 85% of smokers will have life threatening complications after 40 years of smoking 1 pack a day. Cancers, arterial degeneration, lung damage and premature aging are known to be definite complications of smoking. It is always worth quitting, since immediate heath improvement may result and long term consequences will be significantly reduced. Smoking large amounts of marijuana is thought to have similar adverse consequences, and complications are likely to be more severe. All this may not matter if a young smoker does not anticipate living more than 35-40 years, but if one wishes to try and ensure a longer and healthier life span, the risks caused by smoking should be recognized as being extremely serious. Tobacco and narcotic herbs should be regarded as dangerous poisons that harm both the individual user and society as a whole.

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