Smoking & Tobacco
Smoking and tobacco use have decreased, but for those that use tobacco, the effects on their health are devastating. One in every five deaths each year is caused by prolonged smoking.
Smoking and tobacco use not only cause cancer, but may cause other diseases like ventricular arrhythmias (sudden death when the heart does not beat properly).
Sobering statistics about smoking and tobacco:
- Smoking and secondhand smoke kill more people than AIDS, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires combined.
- One in three adolescents who are "just experimenting" end up being addicted by the time they are 20 years old.
- Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals and 2,000 poisons – including toxins found in nail polish remover, rat poisoning, battery acid, insecticides, and rocket fuel.
- Underage smoking (under age 18) is not only unhealthy, it is illegal. If caught, you will pay a heavy fine.
- Nicotine, the main chemical in tobacco, is highly addictive; it is just as addictive as heroine or cocaine.
- Cigarette use causes premature death. On average, smokers die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
- Smoking does not just affect the person smoking. Secondhand smokers are also at risk. On average, secondhand smoke causes 3,400 deaths from lung cancer; 46,000 deaths from heart disease
- Smoking causes birth defects when pregnant women are exposed to it (firsthand or secondhand smoke). Some birth defects may be premature birth, asthma, and cleft lip.
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What are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs and vape pens, are made to resemble cigarettes. They are battery-operated, which allows conversion of liquid nicotine into a vapor that enters the lung and is absorbed by the blood stream.
Are electronic cigarettes bad for you?
E-cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system and are addictive and harmful because of the effects of nicotine, which is a stimulant drug. Since they are not currently regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is no way of knowing how much nicotine or other chemicals are in them.
Are electronic cigarettes safer than cigarettes?
With no proven health benefits and so many questions concerning safety and long term addiction, we do not recommend the use of e-cigarettes - and we discourage the use of all tobacco and nicotine products.
How popular are electronic cigarettes among teens?
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the use of e-cigarettes has more than doubled among U.S. middle and high school students. To make them more appealing to minors, manufacturers are making e-cigarettes in assorted colors, shapes and candy flavors. Ninety percent of long term smokers begin smoking under the age of 18, so the e-cigarette manufacturers are targeting teens with this product.
Read more about electronic cigarettes at:
E-cigarettes Can Be Addictive, Harmful, Palo Alto Medical Foundation health blog
Electronic Cigarettes (e-Cigarettes), FDA
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Vivian Wu, high school writer
Electronic Cigarette Flyer, (PDF flyer of the content on this page, 40kb)
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Tobacco-Related Mortality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013