Smoking and Health Risks
- Heart disease - a cigarette smoker has almost twice the risk of a non-smoker of having a heart attack. The risk of sudden death from heart disease is also elevated.
- Lung cancer - smoking causes 81% of deaths from lung cancer. Other lung diseases such as bronchitis are more common in smokers.
- Mouth and throat - smoking is linked to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus (National Cancer Institute information).
- Stomach and intestines - smoking is linked to cancers of the stomach, pancreas, kidney, liver, bladder and intestine.
- Skin - smoking ages the skin prematurely causing deep wrinkles.
- Bones - female smokers are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Reproductive organs - smoking is associated with infertility. The risk of cervical cancer is 4 times higher in women smokers.
- Passive smoking
Health risk is not divided evenly across the smoking population. These are additional factors to take into account when assessing health risk:
1. How many cigarettes you smoke per day.
2. Total duration of the smoking habit.
3. Depth of inhalation.
4. Age of onset of smoking; the younger the age of onset the greater the risk. This is probably secondary to the increased vunerability of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems during growth and maturation.
5. Personal characteristics; high blood pressure, occupational exposures (eg. asbestos), diabetes, diet and high blood cholesterol. All these factors can greatly increase the health risk from smoking.
Smoking and Cancer
The Contents of Tobacco Smoke
Giving Up Smoking