Tobacco Use in the US

This study surprised me a little. I thought smoking was really getting unpopular in the US compared to past years due to more educated people and millennials being more health conscious. However, apparently 1 in 5 American still use some type of tobacco product, whether it’s a cigarette, ecig, or hookah. Still 1 in 5! Despite the fact that smoking rates have been declining for decades. That’s roughly 50 million people still smoking or using tobacco products in the US.

A habit that causes 480,000 people to die each year, including 42,000 people from secondhand smoke, is a serious situation. Generally, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, which is an astonishing figure. Most people don’t know that smoking can cause cancer throughout your whole body, including the nose, mouth, larynx, trachea, esophagus, throat, lungs, liver, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, cervix, bone marrow, blood, colon, and rectum. It’s not just the lungs that can be destroyed. Smoking also harms your heart, blood, autoimmune system, bones, lungs, vision, and reproductive system. It is also a known cause of leukemia.

Specifically, smoking attacks the autoimmune system and increases the risk of all kinds of ailments. It also causes your bones to weaken and increases the chances of osteoporosis. With regards to heart and blood health, the chemicals in tobacco smoke harm blood cells and the heart, which can lead to atherosclerosis, which causes plaque buildup in the arteries; coronary heart disease, which narrows and blocks arteries around the heart from blood platelets clotting and getting clogged in plaque; heart attacks; and high blood pressure.

With regards to the lungs and respiratory system, every cigarette that you smoke damages your breathing and scars the lungs. Smoking damages the lung tissues and can cause emphysema, where the walls between the air sacs in the lungs lose the ability to stretch and shrink which makes it difficult to breathe.

Overall, tobacco smoke is known to contain more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known cancer causing agents for areas such as the lungs, trachea, bronchus, esophagus, oral cavity, lip, nasopharynx, nasal cavity, larynx, stomach, bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, uterine cervix, colon, and rectum. Just reading this is scary and only the laziest and most ignorant would ignore these facts.

One dangerous trend of those ignorant to the facts is the rise of ecigs and hookah. Many people assume these are safer alternatives. Although they may be safer in some respects, they still have extremely harmful qualities and should not be thought of as a safe alternative. These can be even more harmful for minors, because it can get them introduced to cigarettes later on, without even mentioning the harmful health effects they alone can have on health.

I have close friends that are smokers and I always urge them to try to stop, but they either can’t stop or are just blindly optimistic about this fatal habit. Smoking is just this weird habit that is psychologically and physically ingrained for many people, and despite all the facts of how it can kill, they continue with it, assuming they will be alright. I think the only solution is to pound into people’s heads the facts of the dangers of smoking and make it uncool, because the psychological component of smoking seems to be the most significant for most people.