Risks of Smoking & Tobacco Use
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 heart does not beat properly).
Sobering statistics about smoking and tobacco:
- Smoking and secondhand smoke kill more people than AIDS, alcohol and 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.
Last reviewed October 2012