Good news has just come from the California Department of Public Health, which recently reported that the state’s adult smoking rate has hit a record low. Last year, 11.9 percent of the state’s adults smoked, down from 13.1 percent in 2009. By comparison, in 1984, 26 percent of our state’s adults smoked.
This is a very encouraging trend.
Tobacco use causes a greatly increased risk of death. More deaths are caused by tobacco use (mostly in the form of cigarette smoking), than by HIV infection, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicide and murder combined.
Cigarette smoking causes one in five deaths in the U.S. each year, with about 400,000 deaths from direct smoking and 50,000 deaths from indirect smoke. On average, adults who smoke die 14 years sooner than nonsmokers. Between the years 1960 and 1990, deaths from lung cancer in women increased more than 500 percent.
Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body. Here are some of the more common health problems caused by tobacco products:
– Cancer of the lung (23 times higher rate among smokers than nonsmokers)
– Cancers of the bladder, mouth, throat, vocal cords, esophagus, cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach, and certain forms of leukemia
– Coronary heart disease, which usually leads to heart attacks
– Doubled risk of a stroke
– Blockage of blood flow to legs and feet, sometime leading to amputation
– Tenfold increase in likelihood of death from emphysema, a condition in which lung tissue is slowly destroyed by smoke
– Reproductive problems, such as infertility, early birth, stillbirth and impotency
– Decreased bone density in the elderly, leading to increased chance of fractures
It is estimated that more than 370 billion cigarettes are consumed by American smokers per year. In 2005, cigarette manufacturers spent more than $13 billion on advertising to lure people into smoking. What is the cost to our financially precarious health care system? It is estimated that cigarette smoking costs $96 billion yearly in health care expenditures and another nearly $100 billion in lost productivity.
I personally find all of this data shocking. We, in this society, must take a firmer stand against the use of all tobacco products. Every day, more than 1,000 American teenagers begin smoking. We need do a better job in preventing our youth from beginning to smoke and to get those, young and old, who are already addicted to tobacco to quit.
For those of you who wish to quit but have been unable to do it on your own, your doctor has various treatment options that could help you.