Quitting smoking substantially reduces the risk of developing and dying from cancer, and this benefit increases the longer a person remains smoke free.
However, even after many years of not smoking, the risk of lung cancer in former smokers remains higher than in people who have never smoked.
The risk of premature death and the chance of developing cancer due to cigarettes depend on the number of years of smoking, the number of cigarettes smoked per day, the age at which smoking began, and the presence or absence of illness at the time of quitting.
Yes. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Breathing even a little tobacco smoke can be harmful. Of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful. The toxic chemicals found in smoke include hydrogencyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), formaldehyde (used as an embalming fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners).
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.
If you smoke: – avoid smoking around children, especially in the house or car; – think about stopping smoking. For information on how to stop smoking, talk with your doctor, public health nurse, or the local lung association; If someone else in your home smokes: – ask them not to smoke near other members of the family; – suggest they smoke outside the house, but not in the car;
A: No, not if the smoker stops soon enough. In smokers who have stopped before the onset of irreversible heart and circulatory disease, the body begins to repair itself. Normally, after a year of non-smoking, the risk of a heart attack is halved; after ten to fifteen years of non-smoking, it’s about the same as that of someone who has never smoked.
While smoking, the risk for lung cancer continues to rise. However, once a person stops smoking, the risk for lung cancer levels off and may even decrease. The cough of chronic bronchitis usually disappears when smoking is dropped but the progression of emphysema may continue.
A: Most are, but in smokers they are repetitive and cumulative — a pack a day smoker inhales smoke about 102,000 times a year. If this continues year after year, the smoker’s chance for contracting a serious smoking related disease is seriously increased.
A: Yes, these symptoms include changes in temperature, heart rate, digestion, muscle tone, and appetite. They also include irritability, anxiety, craving for tobacco, sleep disturbances, and other more ‘subjective’ symptoms. They generally diminish in seven days, but may not disappear entirely for weeks or months.