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The Scoop On Smoking from ACSH: what every teen should know about tobacco


the facts

  • If current trends continue, more than six million American children living today will die prematurely because of a decision that they will make, most likely during adolescence -- the decision to smoke. (1)
  • It is rare -- if not impossible -- to find examples in history that match tobacco's programmed trail of death and destruction. A cigarette is the only consumer product that when used as directed kills its consumer. (2)
  • Worldwide, four million people a year die from smoking -- thats 11,000 people every day. (3)
  • Nearly 70% of smokers want to quit and nearly 41% say that they have attempted to quit at least once in the past year.
  • Tobacco dependence is now recognized as a clinical addiction and even as a chronic disease -- one of the most widespread in the world.
  • More than 46 million American adults smoke, and smoking contributes to more than 430,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
  • 67% of teenagers say that seeing someone smoke turns them off.
  • Smoking kills as many people who died in the September 11th attacks (about 3,000) every three days.
  • Within seconds after a person inhales cigarette smoke about 4,000 toxic substances are absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Smoking for as short a time as five years can cause permanent damage to the lungs, heart, eyes, throat, urinary tract, digestive organs, bones and joints, and skin. (4)
  • Each year, about 180,000 Americans die from cancers caused by cigarette smoking. That's about one-third of all cancer deaths.
  • Each year, smoking kills more than 400,000 Americans. Almost half of these people -- about 180,000 -- die from diseases of the heart or arteries, such as heart attacks or strokes.
  • Smoking causes only a small proportion of all fires -- about 6%. However, it is the leading cause of deaths in fires, accounting for about 25% of all fire deaths in the United States.
  • Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of visual disorders and blindness in the United States.
  • Research has shown that even smoking 'occasionally' (less-than-daily), smoking of only 3 to 5 grams of tobacco daily (approximately 4 to 7 cigarettes), or smoking 'without inhaling' can increase rates of heart disease and overall mortality. (5)

Sources
1. World Health Organization, Tobacco Free Initiative Web site, http://www5.who.int/tobacco/page.cfm?pid=42
2. World Health Organization, Tobacco Free Initiative Web site, http://www5.who.int/tobacco/page.cfm?pid=42
3. World Health Organization, Tobacco Free Initiative Web site, http://www5.who.int/tobacco/page.cfm?pid=42
4. American Council on Science and Health. The Irreversible Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, New York, ACSH, 1998.
5. Luoto R, Uutela A, Puska P. Occasional smoking increases total and cardiovascular mortality among men. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2000;2:133-139.

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