Annually, 4 million people die because of diseases caused by tobacco smoking, one person every 8 seconds. Tobacco smoking is the main cause of diseases worldwide.
If the current tendency is maintained, by 2020 smoking will kill more persons than AIDS, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, car accidents, suicides and murder do. Still, one third of the adults worldwide smoke. In the whole world, 5 thousand billion cigarettes are sold annually.
Tobacco smoke contains tar, a mix of about 4,000 chemicals. 43 of these molecules are known to cause cancer, like cyanate, benzene, methanol, acetylene (fuel employed in solder lamps). Nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide are two toxic gases, while nicotine is a drug causing a powerful dependence. 25 % of the American youth that at first simply wanted to know how it feels to smoke became addicted. This is the same rate of dependence like in the case of those testing cocaine or heroine. 70 % of the smokers later regret they started it.
The risk for a smoker to die because of smoking is of 50 %. Smoking has been associated with over 50 issues, over 25 being life-threatening, like lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases. But other issues also affects deeply life quality, like impotence, sterility in both women and men, wrinkles, yellowed skin, digits and teeth, sagged breasts, bad breath, taste and smell loss, vulnerability to skin diseases, coughing, accelerated breath or increased baldness.
Indeed, most of these conditions are felt after years of smoking.
And the risks are also present for the second hand smoking. Living with a smoker increases your risks of dying of lung cancer by 30 % compared with living with a non-smoker. Infants of smoking couples are more vulnerable to pneumonia and bronchitis in the first two years of life compared with those living in houses of non-smokers.
Pregnant women put the life of their unborn children at risk by smoking. Nicotine and carbon monoxide pass into the blood of the embryo from the mothers, increasing the risks of having a spontaneous abortion, give birth to a still child, or the infant may die soon after birth. The risk of sudden death is thrice higher in newborn babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.
There is also the widespread belief that smoking keeps you slim. Many young women start smoking for this reason. But researches made on adults aged 18-30 proved that all gained on average 0.5 kg (1.1 pounds) per year during a period of 7 years, no matter if they smoked or not. Thus, smoking does not control weight!
Annually $ 200 billion are wasted on medical assistance for issues caused by smoking.
The tobacco industry advertises for low tar, low nicotine cigarettes, as an alternative for reducing health risks. But the need for nicotine is the same as before, and those passing to these cigarettes compensate this by smoking more cigarettes, inhaling deeper or more often, or smoking more of the cigarette. And the health benefits even when not doing this are insignificant.
In the case of pipe or cigar smoking, there is an increased risk of lip, tongue and oral cancer.
There is also non-smoke tobacco: tobacco for sucking and for chewing. Sucking tobacco is powder sold at box or bag. The powder is put between lips or chick and gums. Chewing tobacco is sold as long fibers in small bags. Both chewing and sucking tobacco induce a bad breath, teeth staining, oral and pharyngeal cancers, nicotine dependence, cancer-causing mouth inflammations, gum retreat, and loss of bony mass around teeth.
What happens when you quit smoking? In 20 minutes from the last smoked cigarette, the arterial tension drops to the normal value. After a week, the body will no longer contain nicotine. After a monht, the coughing decreases, the sinuses will get sloppy, you won't be so tired and you will breathe more profoundly. After five years, the risk of dying of lung cancer decreases by 50 %. After 15 years, the risk of getting a heart disease lowers, being similar to that of a person who has never smoked. Foods turns tastier . The breath, body and clothes will smell better. Your children will have a lower probability of starting smoking and you will probably live longer.
Even a tough motivation faces a great difficulty when quitting smoking, as the nicotine creates a very strong addiction. Researches proved that this dependence is higher than in the case of cocaine and heroine, only that it does not create dramatic intoxication episodes.
Besides addiction, smoking is a habit for many "You feel the need to keep your hands occupied and and that's a possible solution to this need", "It helps you kill some time".
Moreover, tobacco companies spend $ 6 billion annually on advertising. Smokers are presented as intelligent, healthy, active and fascinating, displayed as riding, swimming, playing tennis.
Non-smokers must see that smokers cannot be forced to quit; this comes from their interior and conviction. And do not forget that a smoker can have the symptoms of craving when quitting, including irritability, depression, headaches and sleep impairment. These are temporary, while the organism is adapting to a healthier balance.