Nicotine
  • Society has portrayed smoking as fashionable, sophisticated and fun, but it has resulted in misery and untimely death for millions of people. 

  • Shocking New Statistics.  The connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer has been widely reported for decades. As it turns out, that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

    Disturbing new data shows that smoking or chewing tobacco also leads to 11 other types of cancer: mouth and throat, voice box, esophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, and a type of leukemia.

    Tobacco use is so harmful
    that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us it leads to 40%, nearly half, of all cancer diagnoses and a third of all cancer deaths, making it the number one preventable cause of cancer and cancer deaths.

    Despite these ominous statistics, the good news is tobacco use in America is at an all-time low. Roughly 36 million Americans smoke, about 15% of the total population.  That's the lowest number of smokers ever recorded since the CDC began collecting data in 1965. 

    Smoking rates remain the highest among men, people living below the poverty line, and those without a high school diploma.   (“Smoking and Cancer:  Why There’s More at Risk than Your Lungs,” by Lorie Johnson, CBN News, November 30, 2016; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • Nicotine is extremely addictive!  Nicotine is very harmful to your health, whether it is smoked, chewed, or snuffed.  It may be the most addictive substance known to man.  It is very difficult to stop, and 30% of those individuals who use nicotine for a period of time become addicted.
    (http://preventdisease.com/news/14/031214_10-Most-Addictive-Substances-Guess-Which-One-Is-Not-On-List.shtml)
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING. 
    The Tobacco Control Act requires the following nine textual warning statements to appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements:
    • WARNING:  Cigarettes are addictive.
    • WARNING:  Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
    • WARNING:  Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
    • WARNING:  Cigarettes cause cancer.
    • WARNING:  Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
    • WARNING:  Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
    • WARNING:  Smoking can kill you.
    • WARNING:Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
    • WARNING:  Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

  • Over 50 years ago, the surgeon general of the U.S. concluded that, “Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action.” 
    (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service,” Washington: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Center for Disease Control (1964), PHS publication no. 1103, p. 33. See also The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK294310/)

  • Smoking can cause the blood to become thicker, causing clots to develop which go to the brain and cause a stroke.  (Stroke Threat, CBS This Morning, February 7, 2014) 

  • Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. It is estimated to increase the risk of lung cancer by 25 times.
    (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/)

  • The rewards of quitting tobacco are immediate.   Within 10-15 years, the risk of cancer and heart disease is almost as low as that of a nonsmoker (although permanent lung damage may remain).  (“Smoking:  It’s Never Too Late to Stop,” National Institute on Aging
    https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/smoking)
  • Many companies are banning the hiring of smokers, and firing those who refuse to quit, while they implement a completely tobacco-free policy which covers inside and outside of buildings.  Some companies screen potential employees for nicotine as a part of the standard health and wellness screening during their pre-placement physical exam. 

    Smokers cost employers almost $6,000 more a year than non-smokers, according to research.  More than $3,000 of that extra money comes from smoke breaks.  Over $2,000 comes from extra health care costs. 

    Since smokers do not live as long as non-smokers, companies save cash when it comes to pensions. 

    Many states can now claim an economic justification for not hiring a cigarette smoker.  They can refuse to hire smokers because 1) they cost their employer too much money, and 2) if the employee is paying part of their health care cost, it may cost the smoker more to be employed there.  This issue will be discussed further in the courts.  (Sources:  American Lung Association; and “Estimating the cost of a smoking employee," by Michah Bermon, Rob Crane, Eric Seiber, Mehmet Munur, Tobacco Control Magazine, reported on CBS Morning News, June 5, 2013)

Smoking and Pregnancy
  • Smoking during pregnancy puts both the mother and baby at risk.  Mothers are more likely to have miscarriages or delivery prematurely.  Babies have more than double the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and are at a higher risk for learning disabilities, autism, asthma, ear infections and upper respiratory problems.  

Stopping the Nicotine Addiction 
  • Realize that first you have to fight the powerful nicotine addiction, and then the habit.  
  • Stay focused by writing down your reasons for quitting; pick a date within a month to stop
  • Record situations that trigger your craving for a cigarette.  Plan ahead for tempting situations and plan an alternative action
  • Read the article “Addictions and Compulsions” under this “Addiction” topic.  
  • Ask for support from family and friends
  • Reward yourself for small victories
  • Put help-line numbers by the phone and, keep trying.  
  • To obtain the best  possible chance of quitting, consider the following advice:
  • Use nicotine replacement therapy
  • Take a drug to ease withdrawal
  • Get counseling and emotional support  
Statistics
  • About 15% of Spokane County residents reported regular smoking in 2015.  (Spokane Regional Health District, April 2017)

  • In 2016, more than 1 in 4 deaths from cancer in the U.S. is the result of smoking cigarettes.  There are about a dozen cancers related to smoking.  At least 167,000 cancer deaths in 2014 were from smoking.  In 2016, 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.  (The American Cancer Society, The 700 Club, CBN News, October 25, 2016)

  • In 2013, 15% of women who were pregnant in Spokane County smoked during their pregnancy.  Smoking during pregnancy decreased as age and education level increased.  American Indian/Alaska Native women were more likely to smoke during pregnancy than white women.  Also, women on Medicaid were more likely to smoke during their pregnancy.  (2015 Spokane Counts, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • In 2013, 19% of Spokane County adults smoked cigarettes.  Smoking among adults decreased as age, education level and income increased.  (Spokane Counts 2015, page 8, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • In 2014, 8% of youth in Spokane County smoked cigarettes.  The prevalence of youth who smoked increased as age increased, but decreased as maternal education level increased.  (Spokane Counts 2015, page 8, Spokane Regional Health District)
  • It is illegal for anyone (including parents) to give or sell tobacco to minors under the age of 18.  This includes tobacco in any form.  In an effort to save lives, and to prevent or delay young people from taking up a habit that remains the leading cause of preventable deaths nationwide, New York City raised the age limit from 18 to 21 in 2013.  (Age limit for smokes raised to 21 in NYC, by Jennifer Peltz and Jake Pearson, Associated Press, Oct. 31, 2013) 

  • Cigarette smoking affects almost every organ in the body. 

    • Cigarettes have been linked to the following diseases: lung cancer, certain birth defects, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, liver and colon cancer and Type II diabetes.  Smoking and nicotine can block the effectiveness of insulin.  Cigarette smoking increases inflammation throughout the body. 

    • Active smokers are 30%-40% more likely to develop Type II diabetes. 

    • Smoking is to blame for 480,000 premature deaths per year. 

    • Smoking resulted in nearly $176 billion in medical costs in 2013.

    • Since the first Surgeon General's report came out in 1964, smoking rates have declined from 42% to 18%. 

    • 90% of smokers start by the age of 18.

    • 99% of smokers start by the age of 26. 
      ("The Health Consequences of Smoking - a Report of the U.S. Surgeon General," CBS News, January 17, 2014)

  • 69 Cancer-causing Substances.  With each drag of a cigarette, a smoker breathes in 69 cancer-causing substances, as well as raising his/her risk for heart disease, fatal heart attack, stroke and aneurysms.
  • Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society.  Tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.   More than 480,p000 people die each year from the harmful effects caused by smoking, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.  In addition, millions more suffer from smoke-related illnesses. (CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fast Facts, April 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/)

What Women Can Do
  • Women who are attempting to become pregnant, are pregnant, or nursing, should abstain from both nicotine and alcoholic beverages.    
  • Consider these 7 good reasons for pregnant women to quit smoking:
  1. Cigarette chemicals reach your baby.  
  2. Your breast milk will be free of cigarette chemicals.
  3. Women who smoke have a higher risk of bleeding and miscarriage.Your pregnancy may be easier as you will have more energy and be able to breathe easier, and cough less.
  4. Your pregnancy may be easier as you will have more energy, be able to breathe easier and cough less. 
  5. Your baby will be a healthier weight and sick less often with colds, bronchitis, ear infections, allergies and asthma. 
  6. You will live longer with a lower risk of lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. 
  7. Adults should set an example and not glamorize products which kill and destroy health.  What is not good for youth is usually not good for adults either—such as, smoking, pornography, alcohol and drugs. 
  • There are 4 ways a man's health affects his offspring.  A fathers lifestyle may have far more effect on a child's health than doctors originally believed. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center found, that there are 4 ways a man's health affects his offspring:
1)  Kids of older fathers (40 and older) have higher rates of schizophrenia, autism, and birth defects.
2)  Your dad's diet impacts how you react to food.
3)  A dad who smokes may cause DNA damage.
4)  An alcoholic father raises the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and developmental difficulties, as three quarters of babies with fetal alcohol problems had fathers who were alcoholics.  Researchers found there are four ways a man's health affects his offspring:

Fertility specialists say men are not immune to reproductive aging.  A man's lifestyle, age, and genetics can play just as significant a role in the health of a baby as the mother's health.  Dads lifestyle linked to kids' health issues,  ("Influence of paternal preconception exposures on their offspring: through epigenetics to phenotype," American Journal of Stem Cells, April 2016)
  • One of the best hospitals in the country, the Cleveland Clinic, will not hire a smoker (which is legal in many states).  People seeking employment who test positive for nicotine are given a smoking cessation program, and that includes doctors as well as everyone else; and then they can reapply for employment.  (“The Doctor is In,” Dr. Toby Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic President & CEO, CBS This Morning, March 31, 2017)

  • Remind our legislators that the U.S. government gives a subsidy to people who grow tobacco.  We make it easy for farmers to grow tobacco, and we make it legal for them to sell tobacco.  The tobacco companies have admitted to Congress that cigarettes deliver nicotine to people who smoke, to form an addiction to smoking; and that smoking does cause cancer. 

    When the government stops subsidizing tobacco, many lives will be saved.  Smoking remains the #1 cause of preventable deaths.  Not only have we hooked our own people, but we are also loading the youth in other countries with cigarettes and addiction.  In addition, second-hand smoke also inflicts the deadly cancer on those who do not smoke. 

    The government can give tobacco farmers
    a tax holiday or a tax break for 7 years, so they can accumulate enough money to phase out their tobacco crop and grow something that is more beneficial to society.  Tell the growers that at the end of the 7 years, the government will place a ban on the growing, manufacture, distribution and sale of cigarettes.  (Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, CBN News, October 25, 2016; The American Cancer Society)
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

  • Done My Way.  Evidence-based resources, many of which are free, can help you quit smoking.  Research shows the most effective method of quitting for people who smoke at least a pack a day is using some type of nicotine replacement, like gum or a patch, in combination with counseling. 
    The next best is to use NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) on its own, followed by counseling on its own. No matter what you chose to do, don't give up and remember that it can take 7-10 quit attempts before a person stops smoking for good. (SRHD and CHAS) 
    http://www.donemyway.org

    Spokane Programs to Help Quit Tobacco.
    Many are completely free, or covered by most forms of insurance. 
    http://www.srhd.org/documents/DMW/CessationSheet_DMW.pdf