Tobacco Use Prevention Program
Many people know that smoking causes lung cancer, but the range of debilitating and potentially fatal conditins that smoking can cause is much more widespread.
Following are just a few of these conditions, which result in the deaths of millions of people worldwide each year.
Conditions Caused by Smoking
Lung Cancer...More men and women die from lung cancer than from any other type of cancer. Smoking causes approximately 80% of lung cancer cases and an even higher percentage of lung cancer deaths. A person's risk for developing this cancer increases the longer and the more he or she has smoked. If smokers quit before they develop lung cancer, the lungs can eventually return to normal. Ten years after quitting, a smoker's risk for developing the condition is half that of an active smoker.
Bladder Cancer...The most significant risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking. After the kidneys filter tobacco's cancer causing chemicals from the blood, these chemicals end up in the urine where they damage the bladder's cells. A smoker's risk for developing the condition increases with the number of cigarettes and amount of time that he or she has smoked.
Pancreatic Cancer...Pancreatic cancer is an extremely aggressive form of cancer and a leading cause of death from cancer. At least 30% of all cases are linked to smoking. The condition is rarely diagnosed in its early stages and tends to spread quickly. Only about 20% of people with the condition live a year after diagnosis, and only a few live for 5 years.
COPD...Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is a term for a group of diseases that progressively damage the lungs. COPD is a leading cause of death, and cigarette smoking is its most frequent cause. Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases the risk for developing COPD. The disease has no know cure, and treatment generally focuses on relieving symptoms and trying to improve quality of life.
Asthma...Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by the inflamation of the lungs' main air passages. It is a leading chronic condition among children and a major cause of children's hospitalization. Secondhand smoke can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma attacks. Children who are born to a mother who smokes or who live with a smoker are at increased risk for developing asthma as well as other respiratory problems.
Artery Damage...Atherosclerosis is the name of the process in which plaque--consisting of cholesterol and other substances--builds up on artery walls. Plaque can clog arteries, reduce blood flow, or rupture and create blood clots. Atherosclerosis can lead to heart attack or stroke. Smoking promotes plaque buildup on artery walls, which can result in damage to the aorta as well as coronary and leg arteries.
Heart Attack...A heart attack occurs when the heart muscle is damaged because of a loss of blood supply. Damage to the coronar arteries due to plaque buildup is the most common cause of heart attacks. Plaque can burst or rupture, creating a blood clot that can clog an artery and impede blood flow to the heart. Smokers are more than twice as likely as nonsmokers to have a heart attack. Among people who have heart attacks, smokers are more likely to die. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke also increases nonsmoker's risk of heart disease.
Stroke...A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies the brain with oxygen and nutrients bursts or is clogged by a blood clot. As a result, blood supply to the brain is interrupted, depriving brain tissue of the blood and oxygen it needs, and brain cells begin to die. Strokes can cause brain damage, paralysis, or death. Smokers increase their risk of stroke due to artery damage. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke also decreases the level of oxygen that goes to a smoker's artery and tissue walls as well as the brain.
Sensory Impairment...Smokers may be almost twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop hearing loss. Smoking may cause hearing loss by decreasing blood supply to the auditory system. Cigarette smoking is also associated with vision impairment. It is a risk factor for macular degeneration and cataracts--conditions that can impair vision and may even lead to blindness.
Fetal and Infant Damage...When a woman smokes during pregnancy, her baby receives less oxygen. As a result, babies born to mothers who smoke may grow slowly in the womb and be born at a low birthweight (less than 51/2 pounds). Low-birthweight babies are at increased risk for many serious health problems, including cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, and even death. Women who smoke while pregnant also increase their risk of pregnancy complications, including stillbirth and miscarriages. Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and babies exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Gallatin County Tobacco Use Prevention Program
404 West Main
Bozeman, Montana 59715