The Dangers of Tobacco Use
Arizona State University has gone tobacco free, thanks to an initiative organized by students and supported by the University Staff Council and the faculty Academic Senate. This new initiative confirms ASU’s ongoing efforts to promote health and wellness in the community. FastMed Urgent Care supports this decision, and strives to educate people on the dangers of this known health hazard.
Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. Informed people are more likely to make smarter decisions, especially when it comes to their health; informing tobacco users on the risks of their habit could very well save their life. That’s why FastMed has created a list of nine things that you need to know about tobacco use.
- Mortality – Each cigarette that is smoked is estimated to shorten life by an average of 11 minutes, and smokers are three times as likely to die before the age of 60 or 70 as non-smokers. However, there is good news: quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90 percent.
- Higher Risks of Cancer – The primary risks of tobacco usage include many forms of cancer, particularly lung cancer, oral cancer, kidney cancer, cancer of the larynx and head and neck, breast cancer, bladder cancer, cancer of the esophagus, cancer of the pancreas and stomach cancer.
- Cardiovascular Damage – Inhalation of tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and blood vessels. Within one minute the heart rate begins to rise, increasing by as much as 30 percent during the first 10 minutes of smoking. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts its negative effects by reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Both of these conditions can become permanent with prolonged use of cigarettes, however the sooner a person quits the less likely they are to experience permanent effects.
- Infection – Tobacco is also linked to susceptibility to infectious diseases, particularly in the lungs. Tobacco use increases the rate of infection for common colds and bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Female Infertility – Smoking is harmful to the ovaries, potentially causing female infertility, and the degree of damage is dependent upon the amount and length of time a woman smokes. In fact, studies have shown that smokers are 60% more likely to be infertile than non-smokers.
- Higher Stress Levels – Smokers report higher levels of everyday stress. There have also been several studies that show that people who quit tobacco use have reduced stress levels after quitting.
- Second-hand Smoke – Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work are thought, due to a wide variety of statistical studies, to increase their heart disease risk by 25–30% and their lung cancer risk by 20–30%. Second-hand smoke has been estimated to cause 38,000 deaths per year, of which 3,400 are deaths from lung cancer in non-smokers.
- Common Misconceptions – A common belief is that hookah smoke is significantly less dangerous than cigarettes. The water moisture induced by the hookah makes the smoke less irritating and may give a false sense of security and reduce concerns about true health effects. Doctors at institutions including the Mayo Clinic have stated that use of hookah can be as detrimental to a person's health as smoking cigarettes, and a study by the World Health Organization also confirmed these findings.
- Dangers when Pregnant – A number of studies have shown that tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, and that it contributes to a number of other threats to the health of the fetus. Environmental tobacco smoke exposure and maternal smoking during pregnancy have been shown to cause lower infant birth weights
The health risks associated with tobacco use are extremely serious. A person is far less likely to experience these hazards the quicker they quit.