Saturday, November 19, 2011

Smoking is still a Huge Problem in the U.S.

I live on the West Coast and where is rare to see a smoker.  Because it is not socially accepted,  smokers are not out in the open.  They lurk behind buildings to take a smoke break at work and I don't even own an ashtray for friends because none of my friends smoke.  But San Francisco isn't the rest of America.   In 2010 there were 45.5 million Americans who smoke, with men smoking more than women.  Tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.  Each year approximately 433,000 people die of smoking-related illness.

Here are some more stats on American adult smokers.  The highest prevalence is American Indians/Alaska Natives (31.4%) followed by whites (21%).  Smoking incidence decreases with increasing education and improved economics.  By region, the Midwest has the most smokers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia (22-27%).  That is huge.

California and Utah have the lowest percentage of adult smokers at 9-12%.

During 2005-2010 the overall proportion of U.S. adult smokers declined, but not nearly as much as it should have.  Also, the decline (about 3million people) was not uniform across the population.  The study of smokers was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and likely underestimates the number of current smokers.  The fact that more than 1/5 Americans still smoke is a huge problem for our health care system.  Here is a list of diseases that are associated with smoking:

  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the mouth
  • Cancer of the throat
  • Cancer of the larynx
  • Cancer of the oesophagus
  • Stomach cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the bladder
  • Cancer of the pancreas
  • Liver cancer
  • Cancer of the penis
  • Cancer of the anus
  • Cervical cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Ischaemic heart disease
  • Angina
  • Leukaemia
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Cataracts
  • Gum disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Crohn's disease
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Osteoporosis (women)
  • Gangrene
  • Impotence
  • Reduced fertility

I think most people know the risks of smoking.  Nicotine smoke, like inhaled cocaine, moves into the bloodstream and up to the smoker's brain within 7-10 seconds.  It is not a "bad habit", it is an addiction.  But with more than 4000 toxic chemicals in nicotine, it is far worse on the body than other addictions.

Stopping smoking is one of the most healthful things a person can do for themselves.


Raymond Bouchayer said...

Yes Dr. Toni Nicotine is a poison but you also forgot to mention all the chemicals involved for the paper to burn faster.That may also be just as damaging

I am glad I stopped 40 years ago

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Raymond: That is why you look as good as you do!!!

Sim So dep said...

Stopping smoking is one of the most healthful things a person can do for themselves.
sim so dep

Steve Hdilig said...

Toni - good one. Sadly, though, we are seeing a bit of a resurgence of smoking among young people - a sort of 'hipster' syndrome. You can see and smell it all over SF - Uniosn Street, Valencia, Haight - wherever young folks gather. It's sad.

On another note the Calif. Medical Association just adopted two of our tobacco-related resolutions - one in support of the Calif. Cancer Research Act, which will increase tobacco taxes, and one favoring regulation of "electronic cigarettes" - the mostly-phony "quit smoking" nicotine delivery devices. More to come on these...

Spill pallets said...

Smoking is very dangerous to health. It will ruin the whole life of smoker and its family. It is the way of happening cancer of mouth, lungs and liver. Quit smoking and live longer.

FancyScrubs said...

On the East Coast we still have many smokers including young people. Sad to see them starting.

Marie said...

Re: Smoking Problem: Quite a culture shock for me now that I'm on the east coast. It is not uncommon to see smokers having a smoke outside and to walk thru their waft of smoke. Re: Steve's comment on youth - same here - high degree of smoking among youth, high school and lots of college kids (males in particular) because at that point they are addicted. While taxes in NY put a pack of cigarettes at about $7, they can be purchased on the reservations with NO sales tax. NYS is trying to tax the packs sold to non-Indians but the tribal leaders insist it is a breech of of their sovereign nation rights.

Logement a louer Laval said...

Smoking is not good for health. Your article is explaining well all problem which are happen due to addict of smoking. Due to reason of smoking mostly people get heart stork in very small ages and dead earlier.

Rosemary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosemary said...

smoking too bad habit chain smoker cant leave it until they suffer a big pain of a listed diseases .thanks for the article.looking more this informative blog.

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