FACTS ABOUT TOBACCO AND SMOKING
Are there chemicals in cigarette smoke?
Over 4000 chemicals are reportedly contained in mainstream tobacco smoke, yet the actual number may exceed 100,000. Cigarette smoke contains many carcinogenic gases and chemicals:
- Hydrogen Cyanide, used in chemical weapons
- Carbon Monoxide, found in car exhaust
- Butane, used in lighter fluid
- Ammonia, contained in household cleaners
- Toluene, found in paint thinners
- Arsenic, used in rat poison
- Lead, found in some paints
- Chromium, used to make steel
- Cadmium, to power batteries
What is the best way to quit smoking?
The best way to quit smoking varies from person to person. While there are many available tools to quit smoking, everyone responds differently to smoking withdrawal symptoms. Quitting smoking often follows a cycle of quitting, smoking relapse, then finding more sustainable methods of quitting. Some people may be able to quit smoking cold turkey, but other people may need cognitive behavioral therapy or alternative drugs to successfully quit. There are many reasons not to smoke, and myriad Quit Smoking programs to provide support along the journey.
Should I take medication to quit smoking cigarettes?
It is understandably difficult to qualm a nicotine addiction caused by chewing or smoking tobacco. FDA Approved medications that help quit smoking include nicotine pills, nicotine gum, nicotine inhalers, nicotine nasal spray and nicotine patches, most of which are available over the counter at your local pharmacy. These tools to quit smoking are shown to be effective in helping smokers who are motivated to quit. However, it is possible to quit tobacco without taking any medications by undergoing practices like cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation and adopting new hobbies like exercise and reading.
Will I experience smoking withdrawal symptoms upon quitting smoking?
Some people do experience smoking cessation symptoms, but understanding the negative effects of tobacco use can help those who want to quit smoking. Smoking withdrawal side effects include:
- Intense Nicotine Cravings
- Weight Gain
- Mood Changes
Many strategies can lessen smoking withdrawal effects, such as frequent exercise, drinking more water, or chewing gum. If these tools to quit smoking do not seem to be beneficial, over the counter medications in the form of patches and gums are readily available for use.
Are there any negative effects of smoking as little as one or two cigarettes per day?
Even occasional smokers are susceptible to the many harmful effects of smoking cigarettes. The link between smoking and lung cancer is unrelated to the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Men and women who smoke 1-2 cigarettes per day still contribute to increasing heart disease statistics. Side effects of smoking cigarettes include:
- Kidney, Larynx, Tongue Cancer
- General Oral Cancer
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Tooth Decay
- Loss of Smell and/or Taste
- Risk of Stroke
Does smoking affect sperm count?
Yes. There is a well-documented link between smoking and low sperm count, poor sperm motility and abnormal sperm which can lead to genetic mutations. People who have fertility problems or difficulty conceiving should consider quitting smoking if possible.
How does cigarette smoking affect oral health?
Halitosis, or bad breath, is common among tobacco smokers; however, more serious oral health conditions can arise from smoking cigarettes:
- Tongue and/or Throat Cancer
- Leukoplakia (white discoloration around cheeks and tongue)
- Smoker's Palate (burn scars on the roof of the mouth)
- Tooth Stains
- Gum Disease
What are some “secret smoker” signs or characteristics of “closet smoking”?
Trust your instincts when it comes to identifying a closet smoker. It is important to pinpoint potential smoking symptoms to offer help for your loved one before a smoking habit becomes a smoking addiction. If you suspect someone is closet smoking, look for the following signs:
- Shortness of Breath/Bad Breath
- Stained Teeth (also signs of chewing tobacco use)
- Burn Holes in Clothing
- Susceptibility to Cold and Flu
- Decreased Physical Performance
- Lingering Smoky Smell
- Yellowed Fingers
What is secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke refers to the inhalation of smoke produced from a burning cigarette into the lungs of passive smokers. Secondhand smoke is also known as secondhand vapor or Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). ETS is recognizable by a distinctive odor which contaminates air and clings to porous surfaces such as clothing and furniture. ETS contains many irritants and chemicals which can cause burning sensations around the eyes and nose.
What are the health effects of secondhand smoke exposure?
Nonsmokers or passive smokers who inhale secondhand smoke are exposed to nicotine and carcinogens as if they were smokers themselves. Studies show exposure to secondhand smoke can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than firsthand cigarette smoking. Symptoms of secondhand smoke include:
- Respiratory Infections
- Chronic Cough/Throat Irritation
- Ear Infections
It’s true; exposure to secondhand smoke can cause or increase the risk of developing cancer. Children and the elderly or sick are especially susceptible to the dangers of secondhand smoke, so chronic smokers must be mindful of where they use tobacco products.
Does secondhand smoke cause cancer and what are the side effects of secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke exposure is a known risk factor for lung cancer. Approximately 3000 lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States due to passive smoking. Secondhand smoke is also linked to nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer. Some research suggests an association between secondhand smoke and cancers of the cervix, breast, and bladder.
Why is secondhand smoke worse than firsthand smoke?
Breathing secondhand smoke can be more dangerous than inhaling smoke through a cigarette. Tobacco secondhand smoke contains twice the tar and nicotine as firsthand smoke. To make matters worse, secondhand smoke contains five times more carbon monoxide, a lethal gas that starves the body of oxygen.
What is a safe level of secondhand smoke?
In no way can the environmental impact of smoking be considered safe. Studies indicate even negligible levels of secondhand smoke exposure can be harmful. The only way to defend nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand vapor is by eliminating smoking indoors and smoking in public places, but even this does not completely mitigate the health risks of smoking.
How is secondhand smoke exposure measured?
Environmental secondhand smoke can be easily measured using an indoor air quality test to detect the presence of nicotine and other smoke compounds. To measure secondhand smoke exposure in the body, cotinine (a nicotine metabolite) can be found in blood, saliva, or urine with a simple Cotinine drug test.
What are the effects of secondhand smoke on infants?
While the effects of secondhand smoke on adults are considerable, toddlers and young children are more susceptible to illness caused by cigarettes. While a child’s lungs remain in development, secondhand smoke exposure can cause severe long-term damage. Infants also inhale a greater amount of secondhand smoke because they have a faster respiration rate than adults. Exposing children to secondhand smoke doubles their risk of contracting bronchitis and pneumonia. Secondhand smoke can even damage a child’s cerebral cortex which is responsible for mood, behavior and the ability to reason.
Does secondhand smoke cause cancer?
Yes. Studies estimate that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker's chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
Does secondhand smoke show up on a drug test?
Depending on the nature and reasons for drug testing, evidence of secondhand smoke can indeed show up on a drug test. Urine drug testing and saliva drug testing can instantly detect the presence of nicotine metabolites, which exist in both smokers and passive smokers. A cotinine test is one of the many available tools to quit smoking, and can be used by suspicious parents, staffing firms, athletic coaches, insurance companies and smoking cessation counselors.
What is thirdhand smoke?
Cigarettes are so toxic that the chemicals suspended in the air from smoking can bind with greenhouse gases to produce a compound that can linger in walls, furniture and porous surfaces for years. Exposure to thirdhand smoke is particularly harmful to young children, and specific compounds in thirdhand smoke can even compromise DNA structure. Thorough cleaning with household agents like detergent can lift thirdhand smoke residue if it becomes a concern.