Smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer cases, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and it is responsible for many other cancers and diseases. Because it causes more than 438,000 deaths each year, the American Lung Association says that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the nation.
Secondhand smoke is also dangerous for people of all ages. In fact, secondhand smoke is responsible for more than 41,000 deaths each year.
The smoke from marijuana contains many of the same irritants, toxins, and cancer-causing carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
E-cigarettes are now the number one tobacco product among teens in the U.S., according to the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report: E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults, with use by high school students growing by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015. E-cigarettes, also known as “vapes” or “vaping,” surpassed traditional cigarettes and the preferred tobacco product among teens in 2014. Fruity flavors and the myth that vaping is safe promote the growth of e-cigarette use among teens and adults.
The use of hookahs is also dangerous. The charcoal used to heat tobacco in a hookah contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and carcinogens. Hookah sessions tend to last longer and involve many more puffs than smoking a cigarette, with the typical one-hour hookah session involving the inhalation of 200 or more puffs of smoke.
The benefits of quitting smoking begin almost immediately. Your heart rate will drop to normal within 20 minutes of your last smoke, and carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal within 12 hours. Your risk of heart attack begins to drop two weeks to three months after quitting, and you cut your risk for coronary artery disease in half after one year. You reduce your risk of stroke and several types of cancer in the following years, sometimes reducing your risk to that of a non-smoker.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. There are many products, methods, and support groups to help you quit. Smokers have a better chance of quitting with a support program like those offered through hospitals, health departments, online programs, and help hotlines. There are also handy apps that tell you how long it has been since your last cigarette and will play a game with you to help you forget your cravings.
Once you have quit smoking or vaping, consider an Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT) scan to determine the overall health of your lungs. Understanding the overall condition of your lungs will help you quit smoking and work towards restoring the health of your lungs.
Life without cigarettes, vaping, and secondhand smoke improves your health. Quit today and improve your chances of living a long, healthy life. Virtual Imaging can check the state of your lungs through preventative screening. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 770.730.0119 today to make an appointment with Virtual Imaging.