What's So Bad about Smoking Anyway?

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Did you know that tobacco use causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, suicides, motor vehicle injuries, and murders combined?  Here is some information that may give you a new perspective on the dangers of smoking.

What Can Smoking Do to You?
For many years, the American public has known about the very harmful effects of smoking—from bad smelling breath and hair to more serious health issues such as cancer and strokes. The latest U. S. Surgeon General report states that it's even worse than anyone knew. "The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows." Smoking harms almost all of the body's organs, even the skin.
Is Tobacco Really So Bad?
All forms of tobacco are hazardous to the body-even chewing tobacco and snuff. Believe it or not, there are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco and around 400 of them are harmful. At least 63 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer in people.
Here are just a few of the ingredients found in tobacco--and the smoke it creates:
  • Acetone-a chemical used in nail polish remover.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide-rat poison.
  • Carbon Monoxide-an odorless, colorless toxic gas.
  • Arsenic-a fatal poison.
  • Formaldehyde-a chemical used to preserve the dead.
  • Nicotine-the chemical that makes cigarettes so addictive.
  • Lead-a poisonous metal.
Many Americans Are Kicking the Habit
If your client is a smoker, it's very important to encourage him not to smoke in bed, near drapes or to fall asleep in a chair while smoking. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of fire-related deaths in the home. Smoking causes about 30% of fire deaths and causes over 2,400 injuries each year in the United States.
If you are a smoker as well, think about quitting with your client so that you can help each other "kick the habit." But, remember...it takes most smokers several attempts to quit before they are successful. So someone should never give up after only one try. And, while withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are temporary, lasting only one to two weeks.
It isn't easy to quit smoking, but it's not impossible either. More than 3 million Americans quit every year! Overall, nearly 47 million Americans have kicked the habit—and the popularity of smoking has dropped 42% in the last 20 years. 
Many state governments have gotten involved, banning smoking from certain areas. Even here in North Carolina (the heart of tobacco country), smoking is banned in most public indoor areas. How does your state stack up? Find the map on this web page and click on your state to find out.
And, consider completing our inservice: The Effects of Smoking. This inservice discusses the negative effects that smoking has on the body—from mild side-effects to smoking-related diseases. It includes the hazards of secondhand smoke, why it's so difficult to stop smoking, various methods for stopping, benefits of quitting the habit, tips to help your clients, and much more.



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