More people in the U.S. are addicted to nicotine than any other drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. More than 480,000 users die annually from tobacco, and another 41,000 die from secondhand smoke.
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Tobacco use, of any kind, can lead to nicotine dependency – which often requires repeated treatments and costs nearly $170 billion each year in taxpayer dollars.
“Data confirm that Sailors and Marines smoke and use smokeless tobacco at a higher rate than the adult civilian population,” said Charlene Rees, Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s regional health promotion coordinator. “Quitting has immediate and long term benefits for you and your family.”
People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Diseases and health conditions associated with smoking include heart disease, lung cancer, reduced fertility, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. Here is what’s known, according to CDC: Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which has known health effects; e-cigarette aerosol can contain substances that harm the body; and e-cigarettes can cause unintended injuries.
Chewing tobacco is no better than smoking. It can lead to heart disease; stroke; increased complications in pregnancy; and cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas.
Secondhand smoke is just as bad. It contains the same chemicals that a smoker inhales. Secondhand smoke harms both adults and children, even with brief exposure.
Quitting tobacco provides both short- and long-term benefits. For example, 20 minutes after quitting smoking, the heart rate reduces. Twelve hours after quitting, the body’s carbon monoxide level drops to normal. Two to three months after quitting, heart attack risk drops and lung functions improve.
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