Hazards of Smoking
April 30, 2018
Hazards of Smoking
What are the risks of smoking?
Cigarette smoking is the greatest cause of preventable deaths in the US. On average, people who smoke die 5 to 10 years earlier than people who don’t smoke.
Smoking increases the risk of many health problems:
- lung cancer (Most people who have lung cancer are smokers or people who live with smokers.)
- other lung diseases, such as emphysema
- heart disease
- hip fractures
- cervical cancer
- bladder cancer
Smoking can make sleep disorders worse. Smokers also tend to get colds and other respiratory infections more often.
Smoking is especially harmful if you have:
- lung disease, such as asthma
- heart or blood vessel disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- a family history of these problems.
Smoking affects pregnant women and their unborn children. If you smoke while you are pregnant:
- You have a greater risk of losing your baby during pregnancy.
- Your baby may have a low birth weight.
- Your baby may have trouble breathing at birth.
- Your child may have more respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma.
- Your baby has a greater risk of dying from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
The more cigarettes you smoke each day, the greater your risk of disease. Switching from cigarettes to a pipe or cigars may not lessen the risk of disease if you continue to inhale the smoke. Cigar and pipe smokers are at the same risk for cancers of the mouth, lip, larynx, and esophagus as cigarette smokers. Fortunately, if you stop smoking, many of these risks decrease.
What are the risks of smoking to nonsmokers?
Exposure to tobacco smoke is dangerous to children and other nonsmokers.
The term secondhand smoke is used for smoke breathed by nonsmokers. It is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. Being near someone who is smoking is called passive smoking. If you are regularly around someone who smokes at least a few cigarettes a day, your risks of medical problems are similar to the increased risks for smokers. A nonsmoker in a very smoky room for 1 hour with several smokers inhales as many bad chemicals as someone who has smoked 10 or more cigarettes.
Recent research suggests possible links between mothers who smoke and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) in their children. And there is a greater chance that children of smokers will become smokers themselves.
Adult Health Advisor 2006.4; Copyright © 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved. Developed by Phyllis G. Cooper, RN, MN, and McKesson Provider Technologies. This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.