Smoking tobacco causes more than 480,000 deaths annually, which makes it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States (US)—that is nearly one in every five deaths in the country! Smoking causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, car accidents, and firearm-related deaths COMBINED. More than ten times as many US citizens have prematurely died from cigarette smoking than American soldiers have died in ALL the wars fought by the US over its 240+ year history.
Tobacco use increases the risk of death from all causes in men and women. Smoking causes approximately 90% of all lung cancer deaths and 80% of all COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)-related deaths. Smoking also elevates the risk for coronary heart disease (2-4x), stroke (2-4x), and lung cancer (25x). Cigarette use diminishes overall health, increases absenteeism for employment, and increases healthcare utilization and cost.
Regarding the lungs, smoking damages the airways starting with the small air sacs (alveoli), leading to COPD, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Most cases of lung cancer are caused from smoking cigarettes. Tobacco smoke can trigger an asthma attack and/or make an attack worse.
In a reproductive capacity, smoking can increase the risk for preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ectopic pregnancy, orofacial cleft in infants, and miscarriage.
Smoking harms virtually EVERY organ of the body. Hence, it’s the cause of many diseases. Smokers have an increased risk for osteoporosis, gum and tooth decay, and cataracts. This does not take into consideration the harmful effects that second-hand smoke inflicts to the innocent bystanders.
Cigarette smoking can cause cancer almost ANYWHERE in your body: bladder, blood (acute myeloid leukemia), cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), esophagus, kidney and ureter, larynx, liver, oropharynx, pancreas, stomach, trachea, bronchus, and lung. Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases among those who have or have had cancer.
If this article scares you, GOOD! Take home message: Don’t Smoke, and if you are already a smoker, QUIT!