Even though more information than ever is available on the health hazards associated with smoking and tobacco use in general, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue this life-threatening behavior and new tobacco users are joining their ranks every day. People continue to use cigarettes and tobacco products even knowing that their habit may lead to cancer, and for some - certain death. While tobacco use is a serious addiction with an almost uncontrollable dependence that may cause emotional, mental or physical reactions, the statistics are sobering.
Smoking alone is responsible for:
• 87% of all lung cancer cases
• 30% of all deaths from cancer
• Increasing the risk of developing more than eight types of cancer
Smoking also contributes to:
• Heart disease
• Lung diseases (emphysema, asthma, etc.)
• Low birth rate in newborns
• SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
Even worse, the people who choose to smoke are not the only ones at risk. People who live with smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer themselves, even though they do not smoke. Children whose parents smoke at home are hospitalized more often during their first year of life for bronchitis and pneumonia than children of nonsmokers.
So what can be done to stop this killer?
- First and foremost, if you haven't started using tobacco products, DON'T START.
- Avoid being in places with secondhand smoke, if at all possible.
- Educate your children and loved ones about the dangers of using tobacco products.
- If you are already a user, QUIT.
Quitting is easier said than done, but there is help available. The American Cancer Society can help you find counseling, support and treatment options in your area and M. D. Anderson’s Tobacco Treatment Program offers tobacco-cessation services, including in-person behavioral counseling and several tobacco-cessation medication treatments, at no cost to eligible M. D. Anderson patients who are current tobacco users (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco) or recent quitters (those who quit within the past 12 months).
Whether in life or in death, everyone quits tobacco sooner or later. Make the decision to quit before tobacco makes the decision for you.