FACTS ABOUT SMOKING


Smoking is an addiction. Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, a drug that is addictive and can make it very hard, but not impossible, to quit. More than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are from smoking-related illnesses. Smoking greatly increases your risks for lung cancer and many other cancers. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals. At least 43 are known carcinogens (cause cancer in humans). Some of these chemicals include:

Benzene (petrol additive)

A colourless cyclic hydrocarbon obtained from coal and petroleum, used as a solvent in fuel and in chemical manufacture - and contained in cigarette smoke. It is a known carcinogen and is associated with leukaemia.

Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)

A colourless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies - also found in cigarette smoke known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.

Ammonia (toilet cleaner)

Used as a flavouring, frees nicotine from tobacco turning it into a gas, found in dry cleaning fluids.

Acetone (nail polish remover)

Fragrant volatile liquid ketone used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover - found in cigarette smoke.

Tar

Particulate matter drawn into lungs when you inhale on a lighted cigarette. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 per cent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker's lungs.

Nicotine (insecticide/addictive drug)

One of the most addictive substances known to man, a powerful and fast-acting medical and non-medical poison. This is the chemical which causes addiction.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) (car exhaust fumes)

An odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas, rapidly fatal in large amounts - it's the same gas that comes out of car exhausts and is the main gas in cigarette smoke, formed when the cigarette is lit. Others you may recognize are: Arsenic (rat poison), Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison).

Smoking harms not just the smoker, but also family members, coworkers and others who breathe the smoker's cigarette smoke, called second hand smoke.

Among infants to 18 months of age, second hand smoke is associated with as many as 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia each year. Second hand smoke from a parent's cigarette increases a child's chances for middle ear problems, causes coughing and wheezing, and worsens asthma conditions.

If both parents smoke, a teenager is more than twice as likely to smoke as a young person whose parents are both non-smokers. In households where only one parent smokes, young people are also more likely to start smoking.

Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to deliver babies whose weights are too low for the babies' good health. If all women quit smoking during pregnancy, about 4,000 new babies would not die each year.


QUITTING SMOKING

Everybody has their own reason for wanting to give up smoking, family, money, health, things we live for. Quitting smoking will benefit your life in various ways.

Quitting smoking saves money. A pack-a-day smoker, who pays $4 per pack can, expect to save more than $1500 per year. It appears that the price of cigarettes will continue to rise in coming years, as will the financial rewards of quitting.

Right away you can taste and smell food better. Your breath smells better. Your cough goes away. This happens for men and women of all ages, even those who are older. It happens for healthy people as well as those who already have a disease or condition caused by smoking.

Quitting smoking cuts the risk of lung cancer, many other cancers, heart disease, stroke, other lung diseases, and other respiratory illnesses.

Ex-smokers have better health than current smokers. Ex-smokers have fewer days of illness, fewer health complaints, and less bronchitis and pneumonia than current smokers.

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