The Health Risks of Smoking
It is estimated that smoking is involved in 85% of all lung cancer deaths. Smoking also accounts for 30% of heart desease deaths. Smoking cigarettes is said to be responsible for over 80% of all chronic pulmonary deseases (Cigarette Smoking par. 6). Despite these alarming percentages that smoking is related to the cause of poor health and even death, millions of Americans still light up every day.
Not only are smokers putting themselves at a risk for harmful effects, but they also endanger non-smokers with their passive smoking; also known as second hand smoke. In the U.S., 53,000 deaths per year are a direct result of passive smoking (COHIS par. 5). More than half of these are from cardiovascular desease. The risks are the same for second hand smokers as for smokers themselves. Children often are the silent victims.
The carbon monoxide from passive smoke can be deadly for young children. Within the first year of life, children of parents who smoke are more frequently hospitalized for bronchitis and pneumonia. Infants are more susceptable to second hand smoke and many develop cancers when they are older. Alergies, asthma and heart problems are also seen in children who have parents who smoke. Even minor reprecutions such as cough and/or phlegm or repeated ear infections are evident as well. Parents are even being considered of inflicting child abuse if smoking takes place in the home.
Health issues for women are just as alarming. Women who smoke are at a risk for low birth weight babies or infant mortality. Breast milk also often smells like cigarette smoke. Also seen are complications of oral contraceptive use. Women account for 14.3 million Americans that smoke (Onc par.3). The leading causes of death for women are lung cancer and surpassed breast cancer, which is directly related to smoking.
Besides obvious links to cancers, smoking women enter menopause five years earlier than they re supposed to. Nicotine alters harmones in the female reproductive system. There is also an increased risk of osteoporosis. For women, there exists a strong connection between smoking and leukemia. Permanent vascular change is more serious for women who smoke and are on the pill .
Men are not immune to the risks of cigarette smoking. It is the number one cause of cancer deaths in men (Cigarette Smoking p. 2 par. 5). Current male smokers over 35 are more likely to die of chronic obstructive pulmonary desease or lung cancer than non-smoking males. Smoking also causes sperm mobility to be reduced.
All risks of smoking cigarettes can hurt your health. The greatest risk is the onset of heart desease. Carbon monoxide from the smoke increases cholesterol clogging in the arteries. It can be so severe that it causes the arteries to rupture. Nicotine raises blood pressure, heart rate and the demand for oxygen that your body needs. It causes blood clots, leads to chest pain and ultimatly, a heart attack.
Lung desease is also a risk factor. Smoking causes chronic bronchitis, which leaves the individual succeptable to bacterial infections. A person who smokes gets more respiratory infections and nose and throat inflammations. Cancer of the lips, mouth, pharyns, stomach, and bladder can all be directly associated with smoking.
Besides health risks, smokers often have to deal with a reduced response to stress. It is also linked to a lower ratio of HDL. Smokers tend to be less active than non-smokers. Individuals who smoke tend to have a less healthy diet. Smoking causes stained or yellowing of the teeth and bad breath. It is an exspensive habit. The average smoker spends $700 to $1000 a year on tobacco related products. If health risks are present, the medical bills could be staggering.
Even though careful studies have well documented facts, 390,000 Americans die every year from the effcts of smoking. That s more than people who die from AIDS, drug abuse, car accidents and homicides combined. The U.S. Surgeon has determined that nicotine is just as addicive as cocain. As many as 50 million adults still continue to smoke each year (Cigarette Smoking p. 1 par.2). In the same year only a fraction are able to quit.
Since smoking is an addiction, it can be very hard, but not impossible, to quit. There are many reasons to quit. For all ages, immediate results will be seen only days after quitting. Your breath smells better, your cough goes away, you can even taste and smell food better. It dramatically cuts risks of cancer, C.V. deseases and respiratory illnesses. Ex- smokers have better health than current smokers do. Saving money is also an added incentive since you can expect to save as much as $1000 a year.
Experts agree every smoker will benefit from quitting. Recent studies advise smokers on quitting tips:
1. Set a date to quit.
2. Take notice of when and why you smoke.
3. Change your smoking routine.
4. Smoke only in certain areas.
5. Wait a few minutes when you feel the urge to light up.
6. Just buy on pack of cigerattes at a time.
There are also tips to remain smoke-free after you quit:
1. On the day you quit get rid of all your cigerattes.
2. Change your morning routine, do something to distract you from the urge to smoke.
3. Put something in your mouth such as gum or hard candy.
4. Try exercise.
Theres also another way a person may be vunerable to nicotine addiction. Scientists have identified another gene. This new gene can either get someone hooked eaiser or help them kick the habbit easier. It s the third gene that shows some evidence of the effects someone may have from smoking (Gene may help. par. 3). The gene is still in the early stages of experiments, but scientests hope by studying it; they can discourage nicotine addiction in the future.
Perhaps the saddest reprecussion of nicotine addiction is that, 3000 youth a day becomes a regular smoker (CNN. par. 6). Because tobacco products generate 221 million dollars in profits, merchants often illegally sell tobacco to minors. Every year, minors purchase 947 million packs of cigarettes (Join To. par. 1). Minors also easily access vending machines that dispense tobacco products. With the rising formation of gangs involved in criminal activities, it is no wonder that peer pressure is the number one reason that teens start and keep smoking.
Eighth-grade smoking has increased by thirty percent since 1991 (Join To. par. 4). Half of those teens have parents who smoke. It is also estimated that a teen between the ages of 12 and 21, who is a regular smoker, are thirteen times more likely to use marijuana (Join To. par. 6). Although the tobacco industries deny targeting minors, for example Joe Camel, evidence is mounting that there is a corelation between teen smoking and advertisment.
In conclusion, smoking is a serious health issue that reflects a large majority of Americans. The FDA finds it to be a constant struggle to worn people of the effects of smoking. It is a dirty, disgusting habit that is not easy to get rid of. Men, women, teens, and even children are all victims of the dangers of smoking. Smoking cigarettes can endanger the health of many and often even kills.