Smoking stats indicate that on an annual basis, in the United States, there are in excess of 2.4 million deaths. Out of these, over 440,000 could well be preventable. These are the result of premature deaths attributed to cigarette smoking. One of the reasons for this is the chronic illnesses that smokers are more susceptible to – illnesses that develop from a build-up of fatty plaques in the arteries, better known as arthrosclerosis. Obstructive pulmonary disease and various kinds of cancer are also now known to be caused as the direct result of smoking. Whilst the overall number of people who smoke is falling, young people are taking it up in greater numbers – despite the bans of advertising of cigarettes and the campaigns aimed directly at young people to either stop smoking or to not start in the first place. Smoking facts that have been collected indicate that more than 80% of people start smoking before they reach the age of 19.
Two interesting but rather shocking smoking facts reveal that if you take a person who starts smoking on their 19th birthday and who smokes their way through 20 cigarettes a day for the next twenty years, at today’s prices that person would have smoked their way through £37,000 which is enough, in many locations in Britain, to purchase 50% of a house. If a person continues to smoke they not only can expect to live up to 12 years less than a non-smoking counterpart, but they run the risk of a 50% higher risk of dying prematurely. Smoking stats show that, in the UK, around 2,700 people per year in the 20 to 64 year age group die from passive smoking and, in those over the age of 65 years, an additional 8,000 people are killed from passive smoking. Continuing with the passive smoking theme, in children who live in households where parents smoke, 17,000 under the age of 5 years of age are, each year, admitted to hospital with chest-related illnesses.
The smoke from tobacco contains a number of substances injurious to health, with at least 60 of these known to cause cancer. As a result of some of these poisonous substances being smoked, a 40 year old smoker’s skin often resembles that of a non-smoker at least 20 years older than them. Other smoking facts reveal that, from a single cigarette, 4,000 chemicals are entering your body. One of these chemicals is the solvent, acetone which is used as a nail polish remover. Another chemical is ammonia which is added to cigarettes to enhance the flavor. Ammonia is known within medical circles to make a person more susceptible to viral illnesses and to aggravate bronchial conditions.
Ammonia also makes nicotine more addictive. Other chemicals include benzene, cadmium [a highly poisonous metal], carbon monoxide, formaldehyde [a known carcinogen], lead, nicotine, shellac [a kind of wood varnish], and hydrogen cyanide [known to be one of the most toxic substances]. This list is not exclusive and there is a far longer list, but these few are enough to give an indication as to the toxic nature of a single cigarette. Smoking stats aside, it is hardly surprising, given just these few smoking facts, that so many people’s lives are truncated prematurely, just because they are smokers. It is even sadder in the realm of smoking stats that so many people who have never smoked can have their lives cut short just from passive smoking.
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