Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quitting Smoking: Why to Quit and How to Get Help

What health problems are caused by smoking? 
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes a person’s overall health. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, lung disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), hip fractures, and cataracts. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other airway infections. A pregnant smoker is at higher risk of having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low weight. A woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her infant’s risk of death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Millions of Americans have health problems caused by smoking. Cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause an estimated average of 438,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. Of these premature deaths, about 40 percent are from cancer, 35 percent are from heart disease and stroke, and 25 percent are from lung disease. Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in this country.
Regardless of their age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease, including cancer, by quitting. Excerpted from text by the National Cancer Institute (NCI, www.cancer.gov), part of the National Institutes of Health, August 17, 2007.


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