Risks of tobacco
Secondhand smoke - risks; Cigarette smoking - risks; Smoking and smokeless tobacco - risks; Risks of tobacco
Tobacco is a plant. Its leaves are smoked, chewed, or sniffed for a variety of effects.
- Tobacco is an addictive substance because it contains the chemical nicotine.
- Tobacco contains more than 19 known cancer-causing chemicals (most are called "tar.")
HEALTH RISKS OF SMOKING OR SMOKELESS TOBACCO
There are many more reasons to quit using tobacco. Knowing the serious health risks may help motivate you to quit. When used over a long period, tobacco and related chemicals such as tar and nicotine can increase your risk of many health problems.
- Heart and blood vessel problems:
- Cancer (especially in the lung, mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, and cervix)
- Poor wound healing, especially after surgery
- Lung problems such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, or asthma that is harder to control
- Problems during pregnancy, such as babies born at low birth weight, premature labor , miscarriage , and cleft lip
- Other health risks or problems:
Smokers who switch to smokeless tobacco instead of quitting tobacco completely still have a number of health risks:
- Increased risk of mouth or nasal cancer
- Gum problems, tooth wear, and cavities
- Worsening high blood pressure and angina
HEALTH RISKS OF SECONDHAND SMOKE
Those who are regularly around the smoke of others (secondhand smoke) have a higher risk of:
- Heart attacks and heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Sudden and severe reactions, including those involving the eye, nose, throat, and lower respiratory tract
Infants and children who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of:
- Asthma (children with asthma who live with a smoker are much more likely to visit the emergency room)
- Infections, including virus-caused upper respiratory infections, ear infections, and pneumonia
- Lung damage (poor lung function)
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Like any addiction, quitting tobacco is difficult, especially if you are acting alone. There are a lot of ways to quit smoking and many resources to help you. See: Smoking - tips on how to quit
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