Things that typically happen at the beginning of the year:
- Gym memberships swell up and finding your perfect
- New years resolutions everywhere begin to either start failing by the wayside or permanently be added to the day by day activities of daily living
- You tend to be a bit more adventurous & start picking up hobbies that you may not have felt comfortable in trying in the past
So on that note I want to be the first to say that in 2017 if smoking a cigarette is on those list of things you want to try than you're probably making one of the worst mistakes in your life. I wish I could say that the statement was a bit of hyperbole, but as a physician who has witnessed the beginning and end stages of smoking cigarettes in patients I could make the argument that it isn't.
I touched on this briefly during my lunch and learn session but I wanted to really go into some detail today about the discussion of cigarette smoking and it's affect on heart disease given that it is Heart Disease Awareness month.
Here are some cold hard facts to start us off
- Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States
- More than 6 million deaths world wide are directly caused by cigarettes
- Smoking cigarettes affects nearly every organ in the body
- Total economic cost to the US is approximately $300 BILLION a year
- Since 1964, approximately 2.5 Million nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke
So exactly what does cigarettes smoking do that seems to be the cause of all these problems? It's estimated that over 4000 chemicals are contained in the smoke with at LEAST 43 of them being carcinogenic. Remember above when I talked about almost every organ being affected by cigarette smoking, well we know that just smoking cigarettes puts you at an increased risk for EVERY cancer there is from skin, brain, lung, breast, colon to bladder. On the day by day basis cigarettes do the following
- Cigarettes increase fatty build up in the arteries of the heart, brain and legs
- Cigarettes increase your blood pressure
- Reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Increase your risk for getting a heart attack, going into heart failure, having a stroke or causing an amputation of an extremity
So who are the people who are likely to be smoking cigarettes in 2017?
Well we know the studies show that there are several characteristics of those will likely be smoking which include:
- Men more than women
- Those ages 25-44
- Those with lower education levels
- Those who are of a lower socioeconomic status
We know that the older a person gets the least likelier that they smoke or the more likelier that they are trying to quit, currently it's the younger population that are continuing to be the driving force even after laws were made so that the tobacco industry couldn't target youth with their advertising, which estimate out to be more than $9 billion in 2014 according to a federal trade commission report.
So what now? The options out here aren't that great as far as alternatives to smoking a cigarette.
What about smoking a cigar?
- We have debunked the idea that smoking a cigar is better because we know the amount of nicotine received in 1 cigar could equal a pack
What about Vaping?
- Vaping is derived from the use of electronic cigarettes
- Has been shown to be less harmful than cigarette smoking depending on where you look ranges from 50% to 95%. ( I would probably bet my money closer to 50% than 95%)
- Has been used as a tactic to help people stop smoking
The jury is still out on vaping but one thing for sure is that nothing beats quitting all together is the only way to a healthier life style. We now have patches, gums, counseling & even prescription meds to help combat the addictive feelings caused by your nicotine.
If you know anyone who is having trouble quitting just direct them to AHEC Tobacco, for plenty of FREE materials to help them along their way.
Smoking a cigarette in 2017 is one of the worst mistakes in your life. Click To Tweet
Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States Click To Tweet
Tobacco industry spent more than $9 billion on advertising Click To Tweet
The amount of nicotine in 1 cigar could equal a pack of cigarettes Click To Tweet