Would you like to quit smoking? Well… you should. We know now for a definite fact that smoking is a leading cause of premature deaths. Annually, almost 500 000 people die prematurely in the US alone because of smoking.
Each year, the total economic costs due to tobacco have now exceeded 280 billion dollars. And each day, more than 3,200 youth (younger than 18 years of age) smoke their first cigarette and another 2,100 youth and young adults who are occasional smokers progress to become daily smokers.
On the positive side, adult smoking rates have fallen from about 43% in 1965 to about 18% today. Mortality rates from lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the US, are declining. And most smokers visiting health care settings are now routinely asked and advised about tobacco use. On the other hand, cigarette smoking remains the chief preventable killer in America, with more than 40 million Americans caught in a web of tobacco dependence.
Smoking affects nearly every organ of the body. The list of diseases linked to smoking is long and we know now that active smoking is now causally associated with age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, adverse health outcomes in cancer patients and survivors, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction, orofacial clefts in infants, ectopic pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, and impaired immune function. In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke has now been causally associated with an increased risk for stroke.
If you are thinking about quitting this highly unhealthy habit, think no more. Quitting smoking can increase your life expectancy with decades. Smoking is not just harmful to yourself, but it is also harmful to everyone around you who might inhale the environmental tobacco smoke.
Source: The Health Consequences of Smoking — 50 Years of Progress – A Report of the Surgeon General