Smoking or puffing a cigarette is a vice that literally enslaves millions of people around the world. It is amazing how a small roll of finely cut tobacco, enclosed in a thin, paper wrapper could cause so much addiction. More than just an addiction, smoking is a very serious health risk. In fact, the World Health Organization says that smoking is responsible for at least five million deaths each year. The WHO also estimates that at least 650 million people (the estimated total number of smokers around the world today) will eventually die due to tobacco-related diseases. The said agency also released strong warnings about smoking during pregnancy. Pregnant women who smoke are at high risk of giving birth to premature or underweight babies. Some birth defects have been attributed to cigarette use. Smokers have been found to be overwhelmingly more prone to heart disease and respiratory problems compared with non-smokers.
In another study, the American Cancer Society pointed out that about 3,000 non-smoking adults die each year of lung cancer because of the effects of second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. The smoke exhaled by smokers are involuntarily inhaled by non-smokers. The second-hand smoke actually lingers in the air for several hours where a smoker puffed a cigarette. Second-hand smoke, also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is now considered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a cause of cancer, a classification that has long been made by various health and medical associations. Second-hand smoke contains formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide — all of which are toxic or carcinogenic. Cited below are some of the facts and important information about the risks of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke:
l One in two lifetime smokers will die as a result of cigarette use;
l The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette can increase blood pressure and heart rate;
l Smoking is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack;
l The tar coats your lungs like a soot in a chimney and causes cancer;
l It is a slow way to die. You may get emphysema, bronchitis, and other cardio-pulmonary diseases; and
l Smokers are more prone to lung cancer, head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, and even breast cancer.
Quitting smoking is a difficult undertaking that demands discipline and commitment. Some can quit “cold turkey” while other need professional help and medication. Nicotine replacements in the form of patches have also been released in the market to help smokers who want to stop their habit.
While smoking is, in reality, an addition — there is help available. Quitting this vice is a life-and-death issue. Getting rid of tobacco will not only help decrease health risks, it would also help spare non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke.