Tobacco use harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many
preventable diseases and affecting the health of tobacco users, as well as the health of those around them. Quitting tobacco
has immediate and long-term benefits.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. (1) In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity. (1, 2)
In Washington State, tobacco kills about 7,600 people every year. For every person who dies from smoking, 20 more suffer from at least one serious illness related to tobacco. Tobacco use contributes to the start and worsening of chronic diseases. Find out more about the impacts of tobacco by reading the Surgeon General's guide on the devastating effects of smoking (PDF).
The only way to avoid the harmful
effects of tobacco is to avoid using tobacco all together and avoid areas where you could be exposed to secondhand smoke.
If you or someone you know currently uses tobacco, the best
option is to quit in order to reduce the risk of developing a tobacco-related
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of
Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2016 Dec 13].
2. Xu X, Bishop EE, Kennedy SM, Simpson SA, Pechacek TF. Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking: An Update. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2015;48(3):326–33 [accessed 2016 Dec 13].
There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous.
Many of these chemicals also are found in other consumer products, but these products have warning labels. While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in cigarette smoke.
Here are a few of the chemicals in cigarette smoke and other places they are found:
Using any amount of tobacco can quickly lead to nicotine dependence. Signs that you may be addicted include:
While most people relate tobacco use with cancer there are many other negative health effects and diseases that are associated with
For more about tobacco products and how they are harmful watch the three
videos below from the Food and Drug Administration.
There are a lot of ways to quit tobacco but it is hard to wade through all the options and find the ones that work.
There are seven Food and Drug Association (FDA) medicines
that are safe and effective for helping people quit:
There are five types of nicotine replacement therapy
*Available without a prescription
There are two non-nicotine medications
For more information about these cessation methods please visit the FDA website.
There are many resources to help you quit
tobacco. Not everyone has success using the same methods. Click here
to learn about resources that will work best for you.
Vaping devices, which include e-cigarettes, vape pens, mechanical modified nicotine delivery systems or MODS, and electronic hookahs, typically deliver nicotine, flavorings, and other additives to the user through an inhaled aerosol. The use of vaping devices is on the rise, especially among youth and young adults. Commonly perceived as a healthier or safer than traditional cigarettes, there are unique health risks associated with vaping devices and research is currently being performed to look at the potential long-term effects of vaping device use.
Marijuana can be an addictive substance, particularly for youth. Marijuana
use during childhood or adolescence is dangerous because the human brain does
not fully develop until around age 26, and drugs like marijuana can have
negative effects for young, developing brains.
Although marijuana use by adults (21+) has been made legal in
Washington State that does not mean it is without health risks. The
safety of marijuana has not been established. Just like tobacco and
alcohol, it has been associated with health and social problems.
The tobacco industry’s most recent response to the documented harms of cigarette smoking was to launch new heat-not-burn tobacco cigarettes. Heat-not-burn cigarettes are tobacco sticks soaked in propylene glycol, which are inserted in a holder and the tobacco is electronically heated to 350°C. The cigarettes are marketed as giving the feel of smoking a real cigarette with a reduced risk. While early studies show heat-not-burn may be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes they still pose a health risk to the user.