Health Effects of Smoking

Essay by racer4536High School, 11th grade September 2006

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About 50 million people in the United States alone currently smoke a total of 570 billion cigarettes each year. In each one of these cigarettes there are around 4000 different chemicals, some of which are highly toxic. Nicotine, a main ingredient of tobacco smoke, is the most addictive drug known to man. Two main topics about smoking in general I would like to discuss are the various health effects of smoking and the anti-smoking actions which society has taken.

The American Cancer Society estimates that smoking is single handily responsible for about 419,000 deaths in the United States each year. Among the many cancer contributions to lung cancer amounts to 30% of all U.S. cancer deaths. The risks of dying of lung cancer deaths are 22 times higher for male smokers and 12 times higher for female smokers than for non-smokers. Among other types of cancers smokers are at increased risk for are cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas.

Aside from cancer smoking also increases the risk of stroke by 50%. Not only are smokers killing themselves, every time they light up they are killing others as well. The effect of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on non-smokers is deadly.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that exposure to ETS, which contains all the toxic agents that are inhaled by a smoker, causes 3000 cancer deaths per year in non-smokers. The smoking habit almost always begins at an early age. In the U.S. over 70% of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18. Today about 6 million American teenagers smoke regularly. Despite the many restrictions on smoking in public areas plus the many known health hazards that we are aware of, the number of new teen smokers is doing nothing but rising. The only...