Tobacco use is a global health concern – responsible for more than 8 million annual deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).1 To help combat this epidemic, the WHO established World No Tobacco Day in 1987 –an international observance that draws attention to the preventable death and diseases caused by tobacco.
For World No Tobacco Day 2022, the WHO is tackling the tobacco industry’s destructive impact on the environment. With more than 16 million people in the U.S. living with a disease caused by smoking, it’s important to continue to share crucial health information about the dangers of smoking and tobacco use.2
A Few Facts About Smoking and Tobacco
All types of tobacco – including smokeless products, cigars, waterpipe tobacco (hookah), and more – are harmful, though cigarette smoking is the most common worldwide.1 Consider the following facts about tobacco use here in the U.S.:2
- Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death
- Cigarette smoking accounts for almost all tobacco-related illnesses3
- More than 480,000 people die from cigarette smoking every year
- Over 41,000 annual deaths are the result of secondhand smoke
- Smokers die an average of 10 years earlier than nonsmokers
- Every day, more than 300 people under the age of 18 become daily cigarette smokers
It’s important to note that while e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, many contain nicotine (an addictive, chemical found in tobacco), and are classified as “tobacco products” by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).4,5 The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still being explored.4
How Smoking Impacts Your Health
Did you know that smoking can harm nearly every organ of the body?2 Since tobacco is such a pervasive health threat, understanding the relationships between smoking and prevalent conditions is essential to driving awareness – encouraging smokers to quit, or avoid initiating tobacco use altogether.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking can cause the following illnesses:2
- Cancer: the American Cancer Society reports that smoking causes about 80% of lung cancers, 20% of all cancers, and 30% of all cancer deaths in the U.S.6
- Heart disease and stroke: smoking is a major cause and risk factor for many types of heart diseases. Tobacco smoke damages your heart and blood vessels – causing high blood pressure and increasing heart attack and stroke risk.6
- Lung diseases: smoking causes serious lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.6
- Diabetes: smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who don’t smoke, according to the CDC. Smoking also makes diabetes more difficult to manage, leading to increased risk for serious complications like kidney disease, poor blood flow, and more.7
In addition to cancer and chronic diseases, smoking increases your risk for conditions like tuberculosis, some eye diseases, immune system issues like rheumatoid arthritis, and can affect the reproductive system.2,6
Commit to Quit for World No Tobacco Day
Tackling the tobacco epidemic may seem like an overwhelming challenge, but you can make a difference for your health one butt at a time. According to the CDC, there are benefits of quitting smoking at any age, no matter how long or how much you’ve smoked.8 If you don’t smoke or use tobacco – don’t start.
If you’re concerned about an increased risk for health conditions due to tobacco use or secondhand smoke exposure, seek guidance from your healthcare provider. They may recommend diagnostic testing to discover valuable information about your health. From diabetes to certain cancers, BioReference and GenPath®, a division of BioReference, offer a number of tests that can provide you and your healthcare provider with answers, empowering you to live a healthier life.
If you are a healthcare provider, click here to begin ordering supportive diagnostic tests, today.