Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products is bad for you.
It’s very unlikely that smoking will ever be completely eradicated, but knowing these 15 disturbing facts may just help a few of you quit – or never start at all:
1. Smoking has been proven to be responsible for 92% of all lung cancer related deaths.
2. 85% of all deaths related to bronchitis and emphysema are caused by smoking cigarettes every year.
3. Cigarette smoke contains 70 known cancer-causing chemicals. Many of the other 7,000 chemicals found in smoke may soon be found to be cancerous in the future.
4. Nearly 9-million people in North America are afflicted with a serious illness caused by direct or indirect (second-hand) smoking. Since cigarettes are the cause, it should be a given that each one of these health problems are 100% preventable.
5. Among all the illnesses and diseases caused by smoking, over 70% of all smoking-related maladies are chronic lung problems like severe asthma, emphysema, COPD – in addition to early and late-stage lung cancer.
6. A lifetime smoker can expect to die at least decade earlier than their non-smoking friends and family members; 14 years for women, 13 for men. If a smoker’s lucky, they’ll die suddenly of a heart attack. Sadly, most will suffer with multiple heart attacks, strokes, or persistent illnesses before their tragic, painful end.
7. Cancer caused by second hand smoke kills 3,400 non smokers in America every year. This in spite of the fact that those afflicted had no choice in whether to smoke or not. This includes people who visit the few smoker-friendly bars and establishments that still exist and, children who’re essentially captives in their smoking parent’s homes. It’s considered child endangerment in many parts of the world to be caught smoking with your child in a car. Sadly laws aren’t always enforced, and don’t apply to personal dwellings – yet!
8. Even more staggering, upwards of 70,000 non-smokers die from heart disease caused by second hand smoking. Choosing not to smoke obviously isn’t enough when smokers continue to force their habit on everyone around them. That’s why smoking is illegal in most public places, including government facilities. If you smoke, your time is running out, as most of the free world is adopting smoking restrictions (see wiki).
9. Over 40-million adult Americans are current smokers. This represents nearly a 1/5 of the US population (18.1%). This number is much lower than it was prior to the 1960’s back when little was known about the dangers of tobacco products: over 50% of the population were smokers prior to that newfound era of awareness.
10. Over 19% of high school students are smokers. Only adults can buy cigarettes in North America, the UK, and most areas of Europe and Asia. The sad reality here is that strictly-enforced ID laws are in place on retailers, preventing them from selling to minors without significant financial risk to their business. Adults are the ones supplying them.
11. Five percent of middle school children smoke every day. Most of these children get access to the cigarettes they smoke from their parents and/or other relatives. Often the parents have no idea this is happening, thinking they’re actually smoking the cigarettes themselves.
12. Forty-five percent of all lifetime smokers, or non-smokers who previously smoked for at least 20 years, started smoking regularly before their 18th birthday. While peer pressure is often blamed for the habit, studies have shown that the tobacco companies are mostly to blame; targeting youth-oriented magazines like Rolling Stone, Premiere, Mademoiselle, and other publications (source).
13. The big 5 US tobacco companies spent $12,500,000,000 in 2006 advertising their products to americans. Many of those targeted were from black and hispanic communities, since smoking among those in the white population has been steadily declining in popularity for the last two decades.
14. 21,762,200 of smokers polled in a 2009 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention claimed they had quit smoking for at least one day in the year leading up to the study. This number represents nearly 50% of the estimated people who were smokers in the United States at that time. It takes more than 3 attempts, in most cases, before a smoker is able to curb the habit – if they truly want to.
15. Electronic cigarettes are no healthier than regular cigarettes. Often referred to as “vaping”, smoking e-cigs are a habit that’s on the rise. Sadly, minors in many states and provinces have unrestricted access to these products, able to purchase them over-the-counter or online legally. This HuffPost article from 2013 details many of the disturbing health-related facts about ecigs, and how the companies that sell them use misleading advertising to get you hooked. Electronic cigarettes are just as toxic as tobacco cigarettes – both for those who smoke them willingly and second-hand “vapers”. You’re simply swapping one bad habit for another.
As you can see, there are many reasons to quit smoking. If not for yourself, then for the surrounding non-smokers you’re forcing into a “second-hand smoking habit”.
When you reach the point where you’re committed to quitting, check out this tip page on the CDC website.
Commit to quit, and do it. Then never look back!