Yes. The nicotine in cigarette smoke causes an addiction to smoking. Nicotine is an addictive drug just like heroin and cocaine:
In large doses nicotine is a poison that can kill by stopping a person's breathing muscles. Smokers usually take in only small amounts that the body can quickly break down and get rid of. The first dose of nicotine makes a person to feel awake and alert, while later doses make them feel calm and relaxed.
Most people begin smoking as teens, usually because of curiosity and peer pressure. People with friends and/or parents who smoke are more likely to start smoking than those who don't.
The tobacco industry's ads and promotions for its products are another big influence in our society. The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year to promote ads that show smoking as exciting, glamorous, and safe. Despite the fact that cigarette brand product placement in movies was banned in 1998, cigarettes appear in 3 out of 4 box office hit movies. Studies show that young people who see smoking in movies are more likely to start smoking.
Anyone who starts smoking can become addicted. The younger a person is when he or she begins to smoke, the more likely he or she is to become addicted to nicotine. Almost 90% of adult smokers first smoked at or before age 19.
Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of chemicals produced by the burning of tobacco and its additives. The smoke contains tar, which is made up of more than 4,000 chemicals, including over 60 known to cause cancer. Some of these substances cause heart and lung diseases, and all of them can be deadly. You might be surprised to know some of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke include: cyanide, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene, and ammonia. Cigarette smoke also contains the poison gases nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.
Yes. Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States. Smoking causes about 87% of lung cancer deaths. Smoking also causes cancers of the larynx (voice box), mouth, pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), and bladder. It also has been linked to the development of cancers of the pancreas, cervix, kidney, and stomach and some types of leukemia. Cigars, pipes, and spit and other types of smokeless tobacco all cause cancers, too. There is no safe way to use tobacco.
Damage to the lungs begins early in smokers, and cigarette smokers have a lower level of lung function than non-smokers. This continues to worsen as long as the person smokes. Cigarette smoking causes many lung diseases that can be nearly as bad as lung cancer. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are 2 types of disease that can make it hard to breathe and can cause serious health problems -- even death.
Chronic bronchitis is a disease where the airways make too much mucus, forcing the smoker to cough it out. It is a common problem for smokers. The lungs start to make large amounts of mucus, and do it more often. The airways become inflamed (swollen) and the cough becomes chronic. It doesn't get better or go away. The airways get blocked by scars and mucus. This can lead to bad lung infections.
Emphysema Cigarette smoking is also the major cause of emphysema, a disease that slowly destroys a person's ability to breathe. Oxygen gets into the blood by moving across a large surface area in the lungs. Normally, thousands of tiny sacs make up this surface. In emphysema, the walls between the sacs break down and create larger but fewer sacs. This decreases the lung surface area, which lowers the amount of oxygen reaching the blood. Over time, the lung surface area can become so small that a person with emphysema must gasp for breath.
Shortness of breath (especially when lying down), a mild cough that doesn't go away, feeling tired, and sometimes weight loss are early signs of emphysema. In later stages of the disease, patients can only breathe comfortably with the help of an oxygen tube under the nose.
Smoking causes many types of cancer. But cancers account for only about half of the deaths linked to smoking. Long-term, smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke. It also makes pneumonia and asthma worse. Wounds take longer to heal and the immune system may not work as well in smokers as in non-smokers. Male smokers have a higher risk of sexual impotence (erectile dysfunction) the longer they smoke.
Cigarette smokers die younger than non-smokers. In fact, according to a study done in the late 1990s by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking shortened male smokers' lives by 13.2 years and female smokers' lives by 14.5 years.
Smoking also causes many short-term effects, such as poor lung function. Because of this, smokers often suffer shortness of breath and nagging coughs. They often will tire easily during physical activity. Some other common short-term effects include less ability to smell and taste, premature aging of the skin, bad breath, and stained teeth
About half of the people who keep smoking will die because of it. In the United States, tobacco causes nearly 1 in 5 deaths, killing about 443,600 Americans each year. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in our society.
Many terms are used to describe tobacco that is put in the mouth, such as spit, oral, smokeless, chewing, and snuff tobacco. Using any kind of spit or smokeless tobacco is a major health risk. It is less lethal than smoking cigarettes, but less lethal is a far cry from safe.
Overall, people who dip or chew get about the same amount of nicotine as regular smokers. The juice from the smokeless tobacco is absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth. This causes sores and white patches (called leukoplakia) that often lead to cancer of the mouth.
People who use smokeless tobacco greatly increase their risk of other cancers including those of the mouth, throat (pharynx), esophagus (the swallowing tube that connects the mouth and the stomach), stomach, and pancreas. Other effects include chronic bad breath, stained teeth and fillings, gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, tooth abrasion, and loss of bone in the jaw.
Yes. It is never too late to quit using tobacco. The sooner smokers quit, the more they can reduce their chances of getting cancer and other diseases. Within minutes of smoking the last cigarette, the body begins to restore itself.
20 minutes after quitting - Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
12 hours after quitting - The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting - Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
1 to 9 months after quitting - Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
1 year after quitting - The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
Are there some benefits of quitting that I'll notice right away?
Quitting also helps stop the damaging effects of tobacco on how you look, including premature wrinkling of your skin and gum disease.
Quitting smoking is not easy, and some people try many times before they are able to quit for good. There are many ways to quit. For example, some have been able to stop "cold turkey”, or by using other methods.
There's no single best way to quit. Quitting for good may mean using many methods, including step-by-step manuals, self-help classes, counseling, toll-free telephone-based counseling programs, and/or using nicotine replacement therapies or other medicines. Smokers may also need to make changes in their daily routine to help them break their smoking habits. Some may find long-term support such as Nicotine Anonymous helpful. To improve your chances of success, try to use 2 or more of these methods to help you quit.
It is hard to stop smoking, but you can do it! More than 47 million Americans have quit smoking for good, and now there are more former smokers than current smokers in the US. Many organizations offer information, counseling, and other services on how to quit, as well as information on where to go for help. Other good resources for finding help include your doctor, dentist, local hospital, or employer.
a) 3 out of 10
b) 1 out of 4
c) 3 out of 4