Both my parents were chain smokers. My brother smokes. My sisters smoke. My grandfather smokes. My aunt has emphysema from smoking. I dated men who smoked. Even I am guilty of the occasional drag of nicotine.
Smoking is one of the most common, and easily accessible, form of recreational drug use. Many different cultures across the globe have been partaking in the practice since early 5000 B.C.E.
There is a plentitude of risks from smoking. Cancers such as lung, mouth, pancreas, colon, rectal, stomach and cervix have been attributed to smoking. Chronic illnesses such as stroke, dental and gum diseases, aortic rupture, pneumonia, asthma, lung disease, and reduced fertility have been reported as caused and/or exacerbated by smoking.
And what, exactly, is in a cigarette? The American Lung Association lists the following:
Acetone – found in nail polish remover
Acetic Acid – an ingredient in hair dye
Ammonia – a common household cleaner
Arsenic – used in rat poison
Benzene – found in rubber cement
Butane – used in lighter fluid
Cadmium – active component in battery acid
Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
Lead – used in batteries
Napthalene – an ingredient in moth balls
Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
Nicotine – used as insecticide
Tar – material for paving roads
Toluene – used to manufacture paint
Smoking is the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States, responsible for over 393,000 deaths a year. So what motivates people to inhale a substance that can shave 10 years off their lives, induce life-threatening and painful illnesses in what is basically a form of slow suicide?
Everyone has a vice – a means of escaping daily stress. You may not surprised to hear that the Centers for Disease Control conducted a survey directly correlating mental illness and smoking: “People with mental illness are 70 percent more likely to smoke cigarettes than people without mental illness, two federal health agencies reported Tuesday.1” As a form of self-medication, cigarettes may be harder to kick than alcohol or prescription medications. “Many people with mental illness are at greater risk of dying early from smoking than of dying from their mental health conditions,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control1.
In my opinion, smoking is the least of our worries when it comes to mental illness in our country.
Do you smoke or know someone who does and is interested in quitting? Help is available. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, visit www.smokefree.gov, or speak to your health professional today.
1. People With Mental Illness More Likely to Be Smokers, Study Finds
Published: February 5, 2013
Listen to the podcast from the CDC here: http://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/media/mp3/VS_Smoking_2-13_PSA_60.mp3
Pictures courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov