Cigarette Smoking Cessation
WHY SMOKE YOUR LIFE AND FORTUNE AWAY?
By: Elaine Attiogbe
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Smoking
Every day, over 1,200 people die from smoking. That’s 443,000 people per year. New Mexico has a population of 2 million people and this is like losing a quarter of this population each year to smoking.
Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths.
Smoking causes cancers of the lung, voice box (larynx), mouth, throat, bladder, and esophagus. Smoking is also linked to cancers of the pancreas, cervix, kidney, stomach, and some leukemias.
Smokers are about six times more likely to die from heart-attack as non-smokers.
Each day in the US, about 3,900 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 smoke their first cigarette. Each day about 1,000 young people become daily smokers.
Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy have about 30% higher odds of being born prematurely and are more likely to be born with low birth weight. They are also more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Every year in the United States, premature deaths from smoking rob a total of more than five million years from the potential lifespan of those who have died.
Tobacco use in adolescence is associated with many other health risk behaviors, including high-risk sexual behavior and use of alcohol or other illegal drugs.
In the United States the amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion by the five largest cigarette companies was over $12 billion.
A pack of cigarettes cost about 5 cents to make, yet most smokers spend well over $7.52 per pack in New Mexico.
219,440 Americans contract lung cancer every year.159,390 (73%) will die because of the disease. Of those deaths, 87% (138,669) were smokers.
During 2000–2004, cigarette smoking was responsible for about $193 billion in annual health-related losses in the United States.
Smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths in the United States each year.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals. More than 60 are known to cause cancer.
Each day, more than 3,500 people under the age of 18 try their first cigarette and another 1,100 become regular, daily smokers. About one third of these kids will die from a smoking-related disease in the future.
Smoking causes 174,000 deaths from heart attack in the United States each year.
Cigarette smoking is by far the most common cause of emphysema. Smoking is responsible for approximately 80-90% of deaths due to diseases of the respiratory system (COPD).
Smoking is the leading cause of fire death in the USA. About 1 out of 4 fire deaths in 2006 was attributed to smoking.
Cigars contain the same toxic and cancers causing compounds found in cigarettes are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
- More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined Center for Disease and Prevention, CDC (2010).
Smoking and its Health Hazards facing Americans today
Smoking is the practice of inhaling tobacco from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette. The United States Public Health Services (2002) explains that this hazardous behavior is thought to have originated in the Americas. In the late 1400s English and Spanish explorers returning from the new world brought back to Europe the custom of pipe smoking which was emulated from the Indians. Cigarette smoking may have started among the Aztecs of Mexico who smoked shredded tobacco rolled inside corn husks. Smoking has caused humanity only harm and no good at all. The harmful effects of smoking are observed in all age groups, smokers and non-smokers alike.
A study from the Center for Disease Control and prevention (2004) indicates the following statistics about cigarette related mortalities. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 440,000 deaths or about one of every five deaths each year. This estimate includes 35,000 deaths from second hand smoking or non-smokers. Cigarette smoking kills about 264,000 men and 178,000 women in the United States each year. More deaths are caused by tobacco use than death from other causes. On the average cigarette smokers die 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. Based on current cigarette smoking patterns, an estimated 25 million Americans who are alive today will die prematurely from smoking related illnesses including five million people younger than 18 years. Statistics of this nature should deter anyone who is a non-smoker from starting the habit, and also avoid inhaling the smoke from smokers around at any given time.
Secondhand smoking is the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe which contains harmful substances. The secondhand smoker tends to suffer the same effects of smoking as primary smokers. The statistics tell how many non-smokers are being diagnosed with lung cancer each day. A typical example of this case is Dana Reeves and thousands others who lost their lives due to secondhand smoking. Therefore, these statistics should persuade smokers to quit for the sake of others who are affected indirectly by this habit. For example, as a non-smoker I always try to hold my breath any moment I am about to pass by a smoker in order not to inhale the toxic substances being released from the cigarette into the atmosphere. I hope other non-smokers will adopt similar strategies. Also smokers should work hard to put an end to the habit due to the disastrous end result to their heath and others. In fact, the National Library of Medicine (1995-2005) clearly stated that the benefits of quitting smoking are enormous. Most of the damage caused by cigarette smoking is repaired in a relatively short time. The risk of heart problems is reversed by 50%, and within three months of quitting, the lung function improves by about 30%. Death from lung cancer is cut in half; the health risk of those who quit smoking becomes similar to those of non-smokers in five years. The most vital advice to the public mostly to young adults and teens in particular is DO NOT START SMOKING and if already a smoker it is never too late to quit. Now is the time. We must all encourage smokers who want to stop the habit by supporting them.
The companies that manufacture tobacco are to carry the blame for dumping this toxic substance on the market for centuries. These same manufacturers should also be held accountable for making cigarettes more and more addictive. They do so by the addition of dangerous chemicals to achieve this addictive potential. The best way to discourage cigarette smoking is to stop production rather than inscribing warning labels on cigarette boxes. What difference do the warning labels make to a smoker when he or she is already addicted to the nicotine?
There are a number of myths that smokers have been made to believe; the fact that it is difficult to cease smoking once an individual begins the habit, also the fact that the habit of smoking makes the smoker happy and is accepted among peers. I cannot comprehend why people will continue to smoke excessively when they are very much aware of the detrimental effects of smoking. I had the opportunity interview a number of smokers about why they smoke and how they benefit from smoking. The common answer was they smoke because they were around smokers and also out of curiosity; also, they claim smoking made them happy and help them concentrate. To my amazement, most of them could not dispute the fact that smoking was detrimental to their health and that of others around them, yet they were not ready to stop the habit anytime soon due to the addictive nature and false pleasure smoking creates. According to an article in the August edition of Newsweek, “Lung cancer, who’s at risk?” a similar interview was conducted by Cowley & Kalb ( 2005) and they stated that when some smokers were interviewed about their habits, most of them claimed they smoked because it relieved stress, it made them think properly and improved their relationship with their peers, teenagers turn to believe this a lot. Interestingly, none of them voiced any concerns about the health hazards of smoking. Giving the above scenario; we all have a tremendous job on our hands to embark upon aggressive campaign to create awareness of the seriousness of the hazardous effects of smoking in order to discourage people from the habit.
In addition, according to the US National Library of Medicine (1995-2005) tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 harmful chemicals. More than 60 are known to cause cancer. One of these is nicotine, an addictive substance found in tobacco. The companies that manufacture cigarettes manipulate the levels of nicotine in cigarettes in order to increase the addictive potential. Nicotine in the body reaches the brain in 30 seconds and causes the brain to release special chemicals that create a feeling of euphoria. This experience is usually called a “high or a buzz”. An hour later the feeling of wellness fades away leaving the smoker depressed and tired, thereby causing the smoker to light another cigarette. This goes on in a vicious cycle inducing tolerance and causing the smoker to smoke more and more in order to achieve the same high. This is what I call emotional and physical torture.
Research has proven that nicotine craving goes up as levels of emotional and physical stress increase. This explains why people smoke more under duress. Smoking is very distractive to the physical and emotional wellbeing of a person. It must be noted that smokers who decide to quit smoking tend to experience withdrawal symptoms. This includes short temper, burst of anger without the least provocation, aggression and negative feelings. For example this explains why my friend Pam who was one of my sweetest friends, and a smoker, decided to stop smoking; she become a very angry and an unpleasant person to be around because of the withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately she made a positive healthy choice and overcame the bad habit eventually. Carbon monoxide is another chemical noted in tobacco smoke and this chemical has been associated with many cancers. Cancer of the lung, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder and cervix are all linked to smoking. Other health complications of smoking include chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, emphysema, coronary artery disease, Crohn’s disease, strokes, blood clots, osteoporosis, halitosis, and peptic ulcer disease (1995-2005).
According to the US National Library of Medicine (1995-2005).The following are some of the fatal health related problems men, women, and children are faced with due to smoking. However, there are additional health problems in women. These include narrowing of blood vessels, clot formation, premature wrinkling of skin, and other skin defects, and cervical cancer. Besides the above, women who smoke have a higher incidence of infertility and even when they manage to become pregnant they experience a high incidence of stillbirth, premature birth, and low weight babies at delivery. Similarly, in men blood vessels can get clogged with cholesterol deposits and eventually get completely blocked by blood clots. This can cause angina or heart attacks in the case of the heart and erectile dysfunction in the case of the primary sex organ.
Unfortunately, children are the most innocent victims of smoking. For example, we have all seen children in the same house and car with parents who smoke and caring little about the effects on the children. The children on the other hand have no say but end up picking up the bad habits or suffering the effects of secondhand smoking. These children tend to develop various health related problems which include behavioral disorders, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, and asthma exacerbations. For example, I nursed a baby in the Neonate Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who had all kinds of birth defects because his mother would not quit smoking even when she was pregnant, and this baby was always agitated with the least provocation, he was always crying with the highest pitch. How long are we going wait before we save these innocent ones?
Additionally, smokers who undergo surgery also have health related problems. They have poor wound healing, they develop pneumonia easily and they generally have a higher incidence of infections in the post operative period. Their bones heal poorly and after bone surgery they may develop non-union or mal-union. Is all these worth the pleasure and excitement smoking supposedly give? I have my greatest doubt.
Another hazard caused by smoking is fire outbreaks; smokers tend to be very careless in disposing of the cigarette stumps, and this causes huge fire outbreaks in the wooded and grassland areas and sometimes in their homes. Smoking is the leading cause of fire death in the USA. About 1 out of 4 fire deaths in 2006 was attributed to smoking. These habits cost the local and federal government millions of dollars to contain such fires. Don’t we all agree that smoking has done humanity more harm than good?
Furthermore, besides the direct cost of cigarette smoking, there is also an indirect cost. An average smoker may spend between $1000 and $3000 for the purchase of cigarettes per year. This is a direct cost to the individuals who smoke. For example, a friend of mine named Sylvia who smokes earns $7.50 an hour and spends $120 on cigarettes each month. This translates into approximately $1,500 per year just on a pack of cigarettes a day; we can all do the math when it comes to the individuals who smoke two to three packs a day. This money could be use in something positive like; paying mortgage, payment for a car or even taking a vacation, instead of smoking it away. Why should we not discourage habits of this kind that will cost a fortune and life? The indirect cost incorporates the harmful effects of smoking on the individual and bystanders called secondhand smokers. The cost involve in dealing with such problems translates into thousands of dollars. However, overall productivity of a smoker is substantially affected as a result of the harmful effects of smoking. For example, if a smoker has Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (C O P D) it affects his ability to work effectively, thereby making him dependent on others for financial support. Recent research indicates that smoking costs the United States over $167 billion each year in health-care costs including $92 billion in mortality-related, productivity losses and $75.5 billion in excess medical expenditures. Therefore, the outcome of discouraging smoking will be saving thousands of dollars to the individual and billions to the federal government.
Finally, but not the least, both young and old rich and poor like Peter Jennings, Dana Reeve, my friend Steve, my uncle Eric and my neighbor Mr. Fred Hansen have all lost their lives to cigarette smoking. What are we doing to curtail this problem? To prevent the problems caused by smoking, I strongly propose that pharmacological approaches should be used in conjunction with behavior modification programs. A law should be enacted to stop the production of cigarettes since there are no benefits for it. Efforts to reduce tobacco use will require the participation of all entities of society, since we are all at risk regardless of the age, and whether one smokes or not. In addition, in most states and cities comprehensive policies and programs have been implemented by local, state, and federal government such as no smoking in public places, indoor, or crowded areas. This will help reduce the effect of smoking on non-smokers. There is also a day set aside to bring awareness to the public about the dangers of tobacco use. These anti-smoking campaigns should stress the dangers smoking poses to all ages. Campaigns should aim at young people as early as 12 years old. This will lower the incidence of teenage smoking. All these proposals are geared towards discouraging people from smoking thereby reducing the harmful effects of smoking on society both on health wise and financially.
In conclusion, looking at the above statistics we can all conclude that tobacco use is undeniably the leading cause of death and disability in the US and the world as a whole; it is absolutely useless to humanity, there are no benefits for tobacco smoking, therefore, in the interest of humanity, I humbly plead that “we” you and I help our family and friends who smoke quit now; and also engage in community and national efforts with lawmakers to reduce tobacco related disease and deaths. The website below has all the information you need to quit smoking or call 1800-QUIT NOW! For assistance
Center for Disease and Prevention, CDC. (2004). Tobacco-Related Mortality. Retrieved October 17, 2006 from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/factsheets/Tobacco- RelatedMortality factsheet.htm
Center for Disease and Prevention, CDC (2010) National Tobacco Control Program.
Cowley, G & Kalb, C. (2005). Lung Cancer Who’s at Risk? Newsweek. P 48.
Grolier, (2002). The New Book of Knowledge. Grolier (Vol. 17 S). Incorporated, Danbury, Connecticut
Patient Education Institute. (1995-2005). Smoking-The Fact: National Library of Medicine. Retrieved October 12, 2006 from http://nlm.nih.gov./medlineplus/utorials/smokingthefacts/htm.
Fesss Family Health Care, LLC
Francis K. Attiogbe, MD
Smoking Assessment Questionnaire
This questionnaire will provide valuable information regarding your smoking habit. Please take a moment to answer all the questions as best as you can. If you have any problems with the questions we will assist you.
DOB: _____________________________________________ SEX: □ MALE □ FEMALE
Expected due date (If you are pregnant) __________________________
About your smoking:
1. How do you feel about smoking? (Please check one)
□ I have no desire to stop
□ I would like to stop some day
□ I am going to stop within a month or less
□ I’ve stopped in the last six months
□ I stopped over 6 months ago
2. Have you tried to quit and stay off cigarettes for at least 24 hours in the last year?
□ Yes, _____times (number of times)
3. Are you seriously thinking about quitting smoking?
□ Yes, within the next year
□ Yes, within the next 6 weeks
4. If you have answered yes to questions 3, which statement describes your attitude?
□ I have got to stop smoking
□ I must stop smoking
□ I want to be an ex-smoker
5. Have you ever experienced any of the following for the past year?
□ Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
□ Frequent coughing
□ Getting tired in a short time
□ Pain or tightness in the chest
□ Leg pain when walking
6. How do you feel about pressure from family, friends or co-workers to give up smoking?
□ I find it helpful
7. How would quitting this habit benefit you?
8. What would help you stop smoking?
9. How many times have you tried to stop in the past? ________
What worked? ______________________________________________________________________
What didn’t? _______________________________________________________________________
10. How much of a problem do you think these might be for you when you quit smoking?
None Some A lot
Fear of failure □ □ □
Being irritable, nervous, tense □ □ □
Difficulty concentrating □ □ □
Missing or craving cigarettes □ □ □
Losing a pleasure □ □ □
Gaining weight □ □ □
Being around other smokers □ □ □
11. How soon after you wake up do you usually smoke your first cigarette?
□ Under 5 minutes
□ 5-15 minutes
□ 15-30 minutes
□ 30-60 minutes
□ 1-2 hours
□ Longer than 2 hours
12. How many cigarettes do you smoke on a typical day?
□ 10 or less
□ 31 or more
13. Do you have anyone who will support you to stop smoking?
□ No support available
□ Spouse/ Partner
□ Family Member
14. Are you currently living with a spouse or partner?
□ No, I don’t have a spouse or partner
15. Does anyone you live with at home smoke regularly?
□ Does not apply to me
16. What age were you when you started smoking?
17. How easy or difficult would you find it to go without smoking for a whole day?
□ Very easy
□ Fairly easy
□ Fairly difficult
□ Very difficult
18. Do you smoke mainly for pleasure or because it helps you cope with stress?
□ About equally
□ Mainly for pleasure
□ Mainly for coping with stress
19. How you do describe your overall health in the past year?
□ Fairly good
□ Not good
20. How determined are you to give up smoking at this attempt?
□ Not at all determined
□ Quite determined
□ Very determined
□ Extremely determined
21. Have you tried any of the smoking cessation therapies below?
□ Nicotine replacement
□ Cold turkey
22. What drugs have you abused in the past?
If you are ready to quit smoking we recommend calling 1-800-QUIT NOW!