The latest Surgeon General report regarding the damage that tobacco smoke causes has once again raised discussion about smoking. Considering that there are over 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke it is perhaps no surprise that over 440,000 Americans die from tobacco-caused illnesses every year. Now the Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, is reporting “that one puff on that cigarette could be the one that causes your heart attack”.
Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysms and peripheral arterial disease.
Smoking is responsible for more than 85% of lung cancers. It has also been directly linked to 13 different cancers including esophagus, trachea, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix and acute myeloid leukemia. Lung cancer, nasal irritation, heart disease and reproductive problems are also risks associated with tobacco products.
Despite the fact that 46 million adults smoke, and tens of millions more are regularly exposed to second hand smoke, 1,000 teens still pick up this nasty habit every day.
However, it’s not all bad news. Banning smoking in public places has resulted in a 41% reduction in the number of people hospitalized for heart disease. When smokers quit, the risk of a heart attack drops sharply after just one year. Stroke risk falls after 2-5 years; risks for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half after 5 years; and the risk of dying of lung cancer drops by about half after 10 years.
If anyone that you know needs to quit, you can tell them that it’s never too late and with modern programs it’s in fact easier to quit now than at any time in the past. Tell them to speak to their doctor or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and get started on a quit plan. Local residents can also check out http://www.tobaccofreelakecounty.org/