The use of tobacco products is dangerous to every part of the body.
Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, despite a significant decline in the number of people who smoke. More than 16 million Americans have at least one disease caused by smoking. This amounts to $170 billion in direct medical costs that could be saved every year if we could prevent youth from starting to smoke and help every person who smokes to quit.
In 2019, 33.0% of Maine high school youth reported currently using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Among Maine high school youth, 6.8% reported currently smoking cigarettes. And 17.6% of adults smoked cigarettes in 2019. Source CDC.
But there is hope
The CDC reports that after you smoke your last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years.
- In just minutes your heart rate drops
- In 24 hours, the nicotine level in your blood drops to zero
- After several days, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to level of someone who does not smoke
- In 1 to 12 months coughing and shortness of breath decrease
- In 1 to 2 years the risk of heart attack drops sharply
- In 3 to 6 years the added risk of coronary heart disease drops by half
- In 5 to 10 years the added risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, and voice box drops by half, the risk of stroke decreases
- In 10 years, the added risk of lung cancer drops by half after 10-15 years. Risk of cancers of the bladder, esophagus, and kidney decreases
- In 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease drops to close to that of someone who does not smoke
Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.
Have you heard of thirdhand smoke? It is the nicotine residue that is left on surfaces, including walls, rugs, clothing, and furniture, by tobacco smoke. Thirdhand smoke is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. It gets on everything and poses a danger to people and pets who are around it. It contributes to indoor pollution. Learn more about the dangers of Thirdhand Smoke.
And if you think E-cigarettes or vaping is safe, think again. They are also dangerous to your health. Learn more about E-Cigarettes
If you use tobacco and would like to quit, contact us. We are here to help. Learn more about quitting: Build Your Quit Plan | Quit Guide | Quit Smoking | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC