Smoking has been widely linked to cancer, especially lung cancer. But did you know there are many other cancers that are associated with tobacco use? Now, if you smoke, how high is your risk of cancer? Can it be reversed if you quit? The following facts may surprise and scare you.
- Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer. And lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in American men and women, according to a research reported in the Cancer Facts & Figures 2013 journal. For 2013, lung cancer estimates for women are 110,110, and for men, 118,080.
- Cigarettes contain over 200 carcinogens. They include arsenic, benzene, beryllium (a toxic metal), 1,3–Butadiene (a hazardous gas), cadmium (a toxic metal), chromium (a metallic element, ethylene oxide, nickel (a metallic element), polonium-210 (a radioactive chemical element) and Vinyl chloride. Other compounds in tobacco known to cause cancer are formaldehyde, benzo[?]pyrene and toluene.
- In the United States, smoking alone is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, or about 443,000 early deaths each year.
- Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also raises the odds of cancer in the mouth, lips, nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, kidney, bladder, pancreas, uterus, cervix, colon, and much more.
- Cigars contain many of the carcinogens found in cigarettes. Between 1997 and 2007, the sales of little cigars have increased by 240%, while large cigar sales decreased by 6%. Like tobacco, cigar may cause cancer in the lung, mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus.
- About 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer each year due to exposure to secondhand smoke. Passive smoking is also responsible for 46,000 deaths from heart disease.
- Even smokeless tobacco products are linked to cancer. They are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines, which is known to affect humans. Such compound can cause cancer in the mouth and throat, esophagus. Pipe smoking causes lung cancer and increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus; Bidi use is associated with heart attacks and cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, and lung; and kreteks use is associated with lung cancer and other lung diseases. While they are less lethal, smokeless tobacco products are not a safe alternative for cigarettes. Until now, there is no safe and better alternative for them.
- The health cost of smoking has since then put a huge burden on the government. Between 2000 and 2004, smoking has caused more than $193 billion in annual health-related costs due to healthcare and lost productivity.
- Quitting lowers your risk of cancer. However, it may take several years before the risk go down to the level of non-smokers. Furthermore, the risk of premature death and cancer recovery are affected by several factors, including the number of years a person smoke, the number of cigarettes he or she smokes per day, the age at which he or she began smoking, and whether or not he or she was already ill at the time of quitting.
Smoking is a major risk factor for cancer. And apart from lung cancer, it increases the risk of cancers affecting many areas of the body. The best way to reduce the risk of this life-threatening disease is to QUIT SMOKING today.