This is the second in a three-part segment on the hazards related to cigarette smoking. Research proves that every day more than 1,200 Americans die from smoking-related causes Smoking kills 420,000 Americans a year. Second hand smoke is just as deadly.
Secondhand smoke is deadly
“More than 50,000 deaths per year from heart and artery disease are brought on by exposure to secondhand smoke,” the smoke from other people’s tobacco use, says a report in Good Housekeeping magazine. In addition, nonsmokers who regularly spend time in a smoking environment run a particularly high risk of developing bronchitis and pneumonia, and run an increased risk of various types of cancer. The unpleasant smell that lingers in a room for days after someone has smoked there is not considered dangerous. However, “smoke-filled rooms can have up to six times more air pollution than a busy highway,” the magazine article stated. It also said that “one of every eight deaths caused by smoking tobacco is a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
In recent years the California Department of Health Services has waged an energetic educational campaign against smoking. The message is short and blunt, and has appeared on billboards across the state. One of the messages reads: “Smokers are addicts. Tobacco companies are pushers. Smoking stinks.” Another billboard reads: “Second hand smoke will kill 50,000 non-smokers this year. Smoking stinks.” Another one says, under the symbol of a cigarette pack, “Buy now. Pay later. With your life, of course.” A different ploy used in some countries to dissuade people from turning to tobacco and nicotine is a brand of cigarette called “Death.” The black package carries a skull-and-crossbones symbol and a message that states: “Cigarettes are addictive and debilitating. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, quit.”
According to The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, “over the last six years tobacco use in California has plummeted by 27 percent, about three times the national average.” The poster campaign might even turn potential smokers away from this dangerous habit.
The folly of smoking
A recent study in the Netherlands says that “smoking more than doubles the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” reports the International Herald Tribune. The study of 6,870 persons over 55 years of age revealed that smokers are 2.3 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than lifelong abstainers. Alzheimer’s disease, which involves the gradual destruction of brain cells, is “the most common form of dementia.”
Smoking to be thin?
The “drive to be thin” is compelling teenage girls to smoke, reports The Globe and Mail newspaper of Ontario, Canada. In a survey of 832 Canadian and 1,936 British girls aged 10 to 17, many “listed smoking as a substitute for eating” and as an activity that curbs the appetite. Many teenage girls said they believed that “if they gave up smoking they would eat more and gain more weight.” The Globe noted that “reports suggest teen-aged girls now account for the greatest increases in overall teen-age smoking and offer insight into the climbing rate of lung cancer among women.”
Smoking costs billions
Although the number of smokers is dwindling in many lands, it remains stable in Switzerland, since about a third of the population smoke cigarettes. Over 8,000 deaths per year are smoking-related, which are more deaths than are caused by AIDS, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, fires, automobile accidents, murder, and suicide combined. A study presented by the Federal Department of Public Health in Switzerland concluded that the social cost of tobacco consumption was ten billion Swiss francs. The study attempted to quantify the costs of medical and hospital care, lost production on the job, the reduced quality of life of ailing smokers and their dependents, and the suffering of family members of the deceased.