It’s no secret that tobacco is harmful to your health, and with continued use it usually becomes fatal. According to the National Cancer Institute, every year in the United States there are approximately 443,000 deaths from tobacco use or exposure. That is 269,655 deaths per the male population and 173,940 deaths per the female population, and also includes 49,400 deaths from the victims of secondhand smoke. Of the secondhand smoke victims, about 46,000 will die from heart disease and about 3,400 will die from lung cancer.
Some people are under the illusion that changing to smokeless tobacco will save them from the painful reality of a regular tobacco smoker. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It has been found that smokeless tobacco causes ventricular arrhythmias. This is when the heart doesn’t beat properly, causing little, or no blood to be pumped through the body to other organs, which can produce sudden death.
Many people believe that smokers either die from lung cancer or emphysema, but in reality, there are many other parts of the body that can be affected by smoking, which actually kills thousands yearly. Some cancers outside of lung cancer that smokers fall victim to, are lip, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and acute myeloid leukemia. Some leading causes of death produced by smoking-induced cardiovascular diseases are aortic aneurysm, arterial disease, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and atherosclerosis. Of course, over 100,000 die annually from related respiratory diseases, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic obstruction of the airway.
The good news is that help has arrived to the Tampa Bay area to aid smokers in curving and eliminating this unhealthy habit, so they can live a better quality life. Now residents can take advantage of this wonderful free program offered at the Tampa General Medical Group’s Family Care Center, located at 740 South Village Circle in Tampa, starting on Tuesday, January 8 at 6 p.m. It is a seven-session program that will be offered every Tuesday until February 19, and facilitated by Bill Roberto, MST RT, a TGH Respiratory Therapist and specialist in promoting a smoke-free lifestyle.
The classes will begin with motivating each smoker by developing methods that cater to each individual, so one can achieve and maintain a healthier life without the psychological aid, high cost, and medical complications produced by tobacco. One must register for this course no later than January 7, and can do so online or by calling 1-800-822-3627.
The best thing about smoking is that it is completely preventable. It is up to you to learn how, and make it work for you. If this is one of your New Year’s resolutions, now is your chance to make the change, so you can live a long, healthy life.