WHAT WE KNOW
Tobacco affects your health, in both the short and long terms.
Tobacco can affect your appearance.
Smokeless tobacco is dangerous, too.
You don’t have to smoke to be at risk.
Secondhand smoke is a known cause of cancer. According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke is responsible for the following:
What’s In a Cigarette?
Nicotine: a powerful poison once used as an insecticide
Cyanide: a deadly poison
Carbon Monoxide: a poisonous gas found in car exhaust fumes
Formaldehyde: the solution used to preserve dead frogs in biology class
Methanol: a gasoline additive
Acetone: a nail polish remover
Tar: a sticky, brown substance that clogs up your lungs and stains your teeth and nails
Alternative cigarettes are not safer than regular cigarettes. Makers of clove cigarettes, additive-free cigarettes, and bidis are counting on strong marketing campaigns to convince you that they are safer because they’re additive-free, or smaller than regular cigarettes, or taste sweet, or have less tobacco. The truth is they’re not safe at all.
Remember: alternative cigarettes deliver as much nicotine as conventional cigarettes do. Smokers of alternative cigarettes are just as likely to become addicted as smokers of conventional cigarettes are. Teens who smoke these alternative cigarettes are at the same increased risk of cancers, respiratory disease, and heart disease as are smokers of regular cigarettes.
According to American Cancer Society reports (based on studies from the United States Surgeon General), the benefits of quitting smoking start just 20 minutes after your last cigarette.
Just 20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
Eight hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
Twenty-four hours after quitting: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
Two weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30%.
One to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
One year after quitting: Your excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
Five to 15 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
Ten years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidneys, and/or pancreas decreases.
Fifteen years after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
Ready to Quit
First, congratulations on making the decision to quit smoking! Here are some tips that can help.