Smokers Flourish Tobacco Industry at The Expense of Their Lives

Harold Mandel's picture
Filthy dirty cigarette butts

Don't underestimate the health benefits of smoking cessation.

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In spite of aggressive anti-smoking initiatives, the tobacco industry is still doing well as a lot of people waste a lot of money daily feeding their tobacco addiction. Smoking has been a leading cause of heart disease, cancer and premature death for a long time. Many smokers lose the will to work hard to quit due to feelings the damage has already been done to their bodies, and so why bother. This is not at all true. New research shows that the health benefits from smoking cessation are dramatic.

People who quit smoking lower their heart disease risk even faster than previously thought, according to a report by the American Heart Association. In fact some smokers can lower their risk of heart disease to the level of people who never smoked at all much faster than previously thought possible. There are former smokers who may lower their risk of heart failure and cardiovascular death in less than 15 years. Even cutting down on smoking may have beneficial health effects, as written about by EmaxHealth reporter Kathleen Blanchard, RN.

Research has shown that cigarette smokers who are older than 65 years of age may be able to decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease associated deaths to the level of people who have never smoked quicker than than previously reported. In this study it was found people who smoked less than 3.2 packs a day for 10 years, or people who smoked less than one pack a day for 30 years, and who quit smoking, decreased their risks of developing heart failure or dying from heart failure, heart attacks and strokes to levels which were the same as people who had never smoked. EmaxHealth reporter Thomas Secrest has reported that it's never too late to gain health benefits from quitting smoking.

In previous studies it was observed that it could take up to 15 years of not smoking for previous smokers to reach the same cardiovascular death risks as people who never smoke. However, in this study, many of the people were able to lower their risk in less than 15 years. Ali Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., senior researcher, said, “It’s good news. Now there’s a chance for even less of a waiting period to get a cleaner bill of cardiovascular health.” Dr Ahmed has noted that smoking is the most preventable cause of early death in the United States. If you are a smoker you should quit as early as possible.

Tobacco is often lethal, and kills up to 50 percent of its users, as reported on by the World Health Organization. Every year about 6 million people die from using tobacco. Direct tobacco use kills more than five million of these people, with greater than 600,000 deaths resulting from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. It has been estimated that without urgent action the annual cost from smoking could increase to greater than eight million deaths per year by 2030. In spite of all of the efforts to make the public aware of the health hazards which are associated with smoking, consumption of tobacco products has been on the rise across the world.

Smoking ranks as a leading cause of death, illness and poverty across the world. In fact the tobacco epidemic is actually one of the most serious public health threats which the world has ever been confronted with. Nearly six million people a year are killed by tobacco, which is more than deaths from car accidents and terrorism combined. It has been estimated that every six seconds there is about one death from tobacco, which makes up one in 10 deaths among adults. About 50 percent of people who smoke will eventually die from tobacco associated causes.

Families are often devastated by the costs of tobacco products followed by the premature deaths of smokers. The problem of health hazards associated with tobacco becomes even more shocking when considering "green tobacco sickness" which is seen in kids from poor households who are forced into tobacco farming in some countries. This illness is caused by the nicotine which is absorbed through the skin from the handling of wet tobacco leaves.

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In the 20th century tobacco used caused 100 million deaths. If this trend continues there may be as many as one billion tobacco associated deaths in the 21st century. Second-hand smoke is also a killer. This is the smoke from tobacco which fills our homes, offices and restaurants. This is a serious matter in view of the presence of greater than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, with at least 250 being known to be harmful and greater than 50 known to cause cancer.

Over 393,000 Americans alone lose their lives to smoking associated diseases, according to the American Lung Association. In 2004 smoking cost the United States greater than $193 billion, which included $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care costs, or about $4,260 per adult smoker.

Smoking has been found to be directly responsible for about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and about 80-90 percent of emphysema and chronic bronchitis deaths. Smokers usually begin this deadly habit at a young age. Among adults who have smoked at anytime, 70 percent began smoking regularly at 18 years old or younger, and 86 percent began at 21 years old or younger.

Among people who smoke at this time, chronic lung disease accounts for 73 percent of smoking associated conditions. Even among smokers who have stopped smoking, chronic lung disease is responsible for 50 percent of smoking associated illnesses. Just about every organ in the body is hit by smoking. Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is also directly associated with coronary heart disease and stroke, along with many other cancers and diseases.

It is not easy to stop smoking. Nicotine is the ingredient which is in cigarettes which causes addiction. Aside from a physical addiction to smoking, smokers develop a psychological addiction
by also linking smoking with various social activities. And so the habit is really hard to break. There are some medications on the market which may help with this addiction, which are included in nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges, which are available over-the-counter. Nicotine nasal spray and inhaler are available by prescription at this time. Counseling may also be helpful. Telephone quitlines have been available for awhile, and with the development of the internet online counseling is another option which can be considered.

The American Cancer Society offers 4 factors as key considerations to help you quit smoking, as follows:

  1. Making the decision to quit
  2. Picking a Quit Day and making a plan
  3. Dealing with withdrawal
  4. Staying tobacco-free

It has been my observation that smokers are usually indifferent to the harm they are causing themselves and those around them. They are so addicted to the poison in cigarettes that they are often cruel about those around them who claim they feel weak and tired from being exposed to smoking. I have even witnessed smokers go as far as insisting people who complain about feeling low in energy from cigarette smoke must be mentally ill and are paranoid about the world around them. And so I see men, women and children being murdered by smoking daily.

This is a compelling problem and it is my professional opinion a lot more has to be done to deal with the problem of smoking. The bottom line is cigarettes and other tobacco products are actually poisons which should not even be legal. But, unfortunately as we often see in our corrupt world, the power of big money from special interest groups such as the tobacco industry, often is prioritized over the health of individuals and the health of our societies.

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