In 1964, the first Surgeon Generals report on the effects of smoking was issued. Today, U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin issued the 30th tobacco related report, "How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease". The report describes how the tobacco smoke in one cigarette can damage the body.
"Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer, " Benjamin said in the report.
Highlights from the report include:
- There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke
- Even low levels of exposure such as an occasional cigarette or secondhand smoke can lead to a heart attack or stroke
- Damage from tobacco smoke can be immediate
- There are 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, 70 cause cancer
- Cigarettes are designed for addiction
- There is no safe cigarette
The report details how inhaling smoke damages the delicate tissues of the lungs and then enters the blood stream, carrying 7,000 chemicals to every organ of the body. The length of time and the number of cigarettes smoked is related to the risk and the severity of many diseases. The immune system is weakened from the inflammation and cell damage from smoke exposure.
Exposure to tobacco smoke is linked with:
- Inflammation and damage of the lining of the blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke
- Damage to the DNA, leading to cancer, 30% of all cancers are related to smoking
- Emphysema, chronic bronchitis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) fromt he damage to lung tissues
- Interferes with the regulation of blood sugars, increasing health risks of diabetics.