Death by Smoking

Smoking is one of those habits I have a really hard time tolerating. It’s not that I don’t like people who smoke; it’s just that I really have a strong dislike for smoking itself. Maybe some of the problem is that I have never understood the reasoning behind smoking. How do people that smoke justify such a destructive health habit? Why do they want to destroy their bodies with a horrible toxin? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I can remember my first job after finishing nursing school. I was working in a hospital in Tennessee and every night I went into work there would be fellow employees of the hospital outside smoking. What always struck me was that some of these people were trained medical professionals! How is that possible? It seems that if a person has been educated in the medical field, they have extra knowledge of how smoking can kill and damage the body. Why would they choose to smoke? I’m still shocked by this concept! I guess it just proves that all of us are subject to developing bad habits.

According to Wikipedia, “Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use. Tobacco smoking is today by far the most popular form of smoking and is practiced by over one billion people in the majority of all human societies.” That is a shocking number! It just amazes me that so many people are choosing to smoke all over the world.

Even more shocking is the number of deaths from smoking. In an article published by Reuters, it states that, “One billion people will die of tobacco-related diseases this century unless governments in rich and poor countries alike get serious about preventing smoking, top World Health Organization (WHO) experts said.” “It kills 5.4 million people per year, and half of those deaths are in developing countries. That’s like one jumbo jet going down every hour.” “With smoking rates in many developing countries on the rise, particularly among teenagers, that annual death toll would rise to 8.3 million within the next 20 years.” And Wikipedia states that, “In the United States some 500,000 deaths per year are attributed to smoking and a recent study estimated that as much as 1/3 of China’s male population will suffer shortened life-spans due to smoking.”

And this is what the CDC has to say about the health effects of cigarrette smoking: “Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general. The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 438,000 deaths, or nearly 1 of every 5 deaths each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor-vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.”

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death and was among the first diseases casually linked to smoking.”
“Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in women and almost 80% of lung cancer deaths in men. The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 23 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes, and about 13 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared with never smokers. Smoking causes cancers of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus, cervix, kidney, lung, pancreas, and stomach, and causes acute myeloid leukemia. Rates of cancers related to cigarette smoking vary widely among members of racial/ethnic groups, but are generally highest in African-American men.”

“Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking approximately doubles a person’s risk for stroke. Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries). Smokers are more than 10 times as likely as nonsmokers to develop peripheral vascular disease. Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm.”

“Cigarette smoking is associated with a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease. About 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributable to cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including an increased risk for infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density than women who never smoked. Women who smoke have an increased risk for hip fracture than never smokers.”

Does any of this scare you? I know it did me, and I already knew a lot of this information. The effects from smoking hit very close to home because my grandfather died from diseases that were caused from smoking. He was a wonderful man; he just had a really bad habit that in the end cost him his life. Smoking is no longer just a recreational drug; it’s a lethal addiction. So now it’s time to take the education we’ve been given to stop this habit before it becomes a worldwide epedeimic that can’t be brought to an end.