For the most part smokers learn early in their habit to put up a wall of denial between smoking and the reality of the damages that happens to the body with every cigarette that is smoked. Eventually, most people find that they are fearful or highly anxious about the consequences of long-term cigarette smoking.
In the old days it was considered cool to smoke. Television carried commercials about Marlboro Man and movies featured actors and actresses smoke long cigarettes and spoke dramatically. But today many of the research studies show that life-threatening illnesses and diseases can be significantly linked and contributed to the tobacco, nicotine and over 2000 other chemicals which are known to be part of a cigarette. And, while individuals may know of some of these hazardous effects, it is also known that the addiction to nicotine is comparable to heroin so it isn’t such an easy habit to break.
The smoking habit is attached to not only the physical addiction of nicotine but also the emotional and psychological addiction that comes with the hand to mouth actions and the immediate oral gratification. Inside of each cigarette are carcinogenic chemicals which are known to cause cancer, toxic metals such as arsenic and cadmium and poisonous chemicals such as carbon monoxide, acetone and ammonia.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in men and women, 90% of which are caused by smoking in men and 80% in women. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to get lung cancer and smoking causes 87% of all lung cancer deaths. Although the statistics slightly differ from resource to resource researchers estimate that there are between 2000 and 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke and between 20 and 40 known carcinogens.
Smoking increases the risk of pancreatic, kidney, bladder and cervical cancers as well. And, interestingly, the longer in individual smokes, the higher the increase risk of cancer. Unfortunately, it isn’t only the direct smokers who suffer from these consequences but also individuals who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause 3000 lung cancer deaths each year in America. Physicians estimate that by reducing smoking individuals could prevent over 30,000 cases of oral and pharyngeal cancers and approximately 7500 deaths.
Researchers have linked smoking to levels of education. It is highest among people who have between nine and 11 years of education and lowest among people who have 16 or more years of education. In other words, those who have graduated from high school and gone on to college have a lower risk of smoking than those who have dropped out of high school. Smoking is also higher among individuals living below the poverty level than those who are leaving at or above the poverty level.
Smoking is not only a smelly habit but also a strong addiction. Nearly 70% of current adult smokers say they would like to quit completely and an estimated 17.3 million have stopped smoking for at least one day. Manufacturers report there are about 15 billion cigarettes sold every single day or approximately 10 million cigarettes sold every minute.
The bottom line for statistics which reflects illness and injury from tobacco smoke is that every eight seconds someone dies as a result of the use of tobacco. This translates to approximately 5 million deaths on an annual basis, not all of which are related to cancer.
The number of individuals who are smoking in the world today is actually on the rise. While the number, or percentage, of individuals who have smoked in the past 30 years within the United States is on the decline, worldwide numbers are significantly different. It is estimated that there are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today and if current trends continue that number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by the year 2025.
Another side effect of smoking is the environment. Even though the ends of cigarette filters look a lot like white cotton they are actually made of very thin pieces of plastic called cellulose acetate. This cellulose acetate takes between 18 months and 10 years to decompose into the soil. It is estimated that trillions of filters that are filled with toxic chemicals inhaled from the cigarette make their way into the environment as discarded waste on an annual basis.
In order to give a cigarette smoker his nicotine high there must be large amounts placed into the cigarettes. In fact there is enough nicotine in four or five cigarettes to kill the average adult if the cigarettes are ingested whole. Most smokers take in only one or 2 mg per cigarette because the remainder is burned off or caught in the filter.
Cigarettes, pipes and chewing tobacco all have enslaved millions of people across the world and expose them to a host of chronic and debilitating diseases and illnesses. Unfortunately, many of these illnesses will result in death. This habit which once was revered and used by “cool” people is now known to create pain and suffering in the lives of millions of people every year.
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