Smoking, Alcohol and Organ Transplants

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Smoking Tobacco

This can cause quite a few problems.

Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, this combines with haemoglobin in red blood cells, meaning the blood carries less oxygen. In pregnant women, this can deprive the foetus of oxygen, the baby will then be born underweight.


The smoke also contains carcinogens, like tar. 90% of lung cancers are associated with smoking, including passive smoking.


Smoking tobacco is also addictive because of the drug nicotine.

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Alcohol slows down your reactions because it is a depressant.

Being drunk leads to blurred vision, lower inihibitions.


Alcohol is POISONOUS.

The liver would normally break down the alcohol into harmless products, but too much alcohol creates the death of liver cells. This causes scar tissues that start to block blood flow. CIRRHOSIS.

If the liver can't do it's normal job, dangerous substances will build up and damage the rest of the body.

This can also lead to brain damage.

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Transplants can cure diseases, woop.

Living donors can donate certain organs, such as one of their kidneys or a piece of their liver.

Organs from people who have died are also used in transplants.

You can join the NHS ORGAN DONOR REGISTER to show that you are willing to donate organs after you die. Doctors still need the family's consent before they use the organs for a transplant.

Some people say it should be made easier for doctors to use the organs from people who have died. A suggestion is the OPT-OUT SYSTEM where everyone's organs can be used unless they take themselves OFF the list.

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Ethical Issues

There is an organ shortage, some people are only considered for a transplant if they change their lifestyle:

  • Obese people can have a greater risk of dying after surgery, so would be considered if they lost weight.
  • People who have damaged their liver drinking alcohol, would be considered if they stopped drinking so they wouldn't damage another liver given to them.

Some people think that if someone has damaged an organ, they don't deserve another one as much as those whose people's are damaged through illness.

Transplant guidelines aren't based on who would "deserve" a transplant but who is most likely to benefit.

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