People throw around a lot of random comments about smoking. The question is how big are the risks associated with smoking cigarettes? First, it is important to understand how widespread smoking is. Roughly a third of the male populace smokes and 80,000 to 100,000 kids worldwide add to that number every day. From the perspective of health, there are more disturbing statistics than one cares to count.
- Diseases linked to smoking cause roughly four million deaths annually.
- 50% of people who smoke long-term will die from a smoking-related condition.
- Lung cancer claims more lives than any other cancer and smoking causes 80% to 90% of those deaths.
- Smoking leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) which is directly linked to coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Cigarette smoking is one of the major causes of strokes, which have roughly a 30% fatality rate.
- There are estimates that roughly 35,000 non-smokers die every year from heart disease related to passive smoke inhalation.
- Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the world.
Due to the more than 4,000 carcinogens and toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, there are also links between smoking and other types of cancer, including:
Types of Cancer Linked to Smoking
- Acute myeloid leukemia
- Bladder cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
In addition to killing smokers, tobacco use can have significant effects on the unborn as less than 25% of smokers stop smoking upon discovering they are pregnant. Effects on the pregnancy can include:
Effects on the pregnancy
- Complication risks are doubled
- Placental abruption (placenta detaches from the uterine wall
- Placenta previa (placenta grows too close to the cervix)
- Premature membrane rupture (breaking of the water)
- Premature delivery (possibly from one of the above complications)
- Low-birth-weight babies (2.5 times more likely in smokers than in non-smokers)
- Increased risk of SIDS in newborns
- Respiratory problems in children
In addition to these issues with pregnancy, nicotine is secreted in breast milk and can therefore be passed on to an infant through feeding.
In America alone, it is estimated that over $160 billion are spent every year on medical costs and costs due to lost productivity from smoker’s illnesses. This money is in addition to the roughly $5.7 billion the tobacco industry spends on advertising. There are roughly 15 billion cigarettes sold daily, at 20 cigarettes a pack, that equates to 273.75 billion packs of cigarettes sold a year. Isn’t it about time smokers valued their money and their health and put the wealthy tobacco industry out of business for good?