The 1982 Surgeon General's Report stated that "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States." This statement is as true today as it was in 1982. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use is an acquired behavior, one that the individual chooses to do, smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46.2 million US adults were current smokers in 2001 (the most recent year for which numbers are available). This is 22.8% of all adults (25.2% of men, 20.7% of women) - nearly 1 in every 4 people.
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It is very hard to detect when it is in the earliest, most treatable stage. Fortunately, lung cancer is largely a preventable disease. Groups that promote nonsmoking as part of their religion, such as Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists, have much lower rates of lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers.
But cancers account for only about half of the deaths related to smoking. Smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke, and contributes to the severity of pneumonia. Tobacco has a damaging affect on women's reproductive health and is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, early delivery (prematurity), stillbirth, infant death, and is a cause of low birth weight in infants. Furthermore, the smoke from cigarettes has a harmful health effect on those around the smoke. (Refer to the American Cancer Society documents "Secondhand Smoke" and "Women and Smoking.")
Based on data collected from 1995 to 1999, the CDC estimated that adult male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lost 14.5 years of life because of smoking.
But not all of the health problems related to smoking result in deaths. In the year 2000, about 8.6 million people were suffering from at least one chronic disease due to current or former smoking, according to the CDC. Many of these people were suffering from more than one smoking-related condition. The diseases occurring most often were chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
Ingredients in tobacco: Cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless and pipe tobacco consist of dried tobacco leaves, as well as ingredients added for flavor and other properties. More than 4,000 individual compounds have been identified in tobacco and tobacco smoke. Among these are about 43 compounds that are carcinogens.
Cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless and pipe tobacco consist of dried tobacco leaves, as well as ingredients added for flavor and other properties. More than 4,000 individual compounds have been identified in tobacco and tobacco smoke. Among these are more than 60 compounds that are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).
There are hundreds of substances added by manufacturers to cigarettes to enhance the flavor or to make the smoking experience more pleasant. Some of the compounds found in tobacco smoke include ammonia, tar, and carbon monoxide. Exactly what effect these substances have on the cigarette consumerâ€™s health is unknown, but there is no evidence that lowering the tar content of a cigarette improves the health risk. Manufacturers do not provide the public information about the precise amount of additives used in cigarettes, so it is difficult to accurately gauge that public health risk.
Addiction is characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking or use of a substance despite harmful consequences. Addiction is often accompanied by adverse physical and psychological dependence on the substance....