Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Edward Jones
  • 117th Medical Group
Every organ system in the body is harmed from smoking. This habit or addiction accounts for nearly 500,000 deaths per year in the U.S. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than all deaths combined attributable to HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, suicides and murders.

It is not surprising that smoking is strongly associated with numerous types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease. Smoking causes 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women. Other tumors such as bladder, oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, cervical, renal, pancreatic and stomach are associated with smoking. Cigarette use is also a causative factor in cardiovascular disease. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than non-smokers and ten times more likely to develop peripheral vascular disease. Cigarette smoking is also associated with a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease. This habit also has adverse reproductive and early childhood effects including, stillbirth, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.

It is clear that smoking is very harmful to the primary user and to those exposed via a second hand mechanism. Effective smoking cessation programs are available. Smokers should wise-up and consult a health care provider to help break the habit.