Think about it – why would anyone need to exaggerate? To scare people? Hardly! The truth is that smoking is dangerous enough and there’s really no need to exaggerate.
We’re giving you current information - important information. Information the tobacco companies don’t want you to know. Ignorance is far too profitable for them!
The smoke released by a cigarette contains over 4,000 chemical products, including over 50 that cause cancer.
Even if you smoke cigarettes where the label claims they are 100% natural or light, it doesn’t change A THING:
- When you burn a plant – whether it’s tobacco, pot (yes, pot) or your mother’s geraniums, the smoke that’s produced NATURALLY contains all kinds of chemical products like tar, carbon monoxide, cadmium, etc.
- When you breathe the smoke from burning vegetation, you’re absorbing all those chemicals into your lungs.
- Some of those chemical products occur NATURALLY in the soil where the plant grew. Some of them are the result of chemical reactions that occur NATURALLY when a plant burns.
- A third group of substances (a minor amount compared to the other two) comes from products added by the manufacturers to improve the taste and texture of their cigarette and to control the rate at which they burn. Some people even believe certain cigarette brands contain additives or genetically-modified tobacco to increase nicotine’s “bioavailability” – that is, its ability to get people (especially young people) addicted more quickly.
- These chemical products (be they natural or industrial) are all, to varying degrees, poisonous for your lungs and for your body as a whole. The difference in the impact on your health of smoking so-called “natural” cigarettes and those from the big manufacturers is equivalent to jumping from the 30th floor of a building instead of the 35th…
- It isn’t dangerous, however, to breathe in other types of smoke on very rare occasions, such as smoke from fireplaces, incense, and burning dead leaves (which we like to smell because of their aromas).
- How come? Because your respiratory system’s natural defences manage to eliminate almost all the garbage contained in this type of smoke.
- Why? Because there’s only a little bit at a time (low concentration) and because it doesn’t happen often.
The smoking trap
But this is where we run into a problem with tobacco: when we start to inhale tobacco smoke, we end up breathing it more frequently, repeatedly exposing the respiratory system to the thousands of chemical compounds found in the smoke.
Why do you regularly breathe tobacco smoke into your lungs, and not smoke from your mother’s geraniums or your neighbour’s fir tree?
Yes, that’s right - because of nicotine. Only tobacco NATURALLY contains nicotine.
You know what? Nicotine is one of the most powerful addictive substances around. It’s a drug.
- Nicotine addiction is as strong as cocaine or heroin addiction (see the Smoking and Nicotine section).
- Eight out of 10 people who start to smoke become addicted.
- The younger you are when you start to smoke, the harder it’s likely to be to quit. (See the Smoking and Nicotine section.)
The impact of cigarettes on your health
So you see that becoming addicted to a product that injects over 4,000 chemical substances into your body with each puff, including fifty or so that cause cancer, is not something that will help you lead a long and full life.
Here are some sad statistics...
- Tobacco smoke kills more than 37,000 people in Canada each year (about 10,400 in Quebec). That’s four times the number of people killed by murder, alcohol, road accidents and suicide combined.
- Smoking is directly responsible for 33% of all cancer cases.
- 85 to 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco.
- Smokers also develop more cancers and diseases of the heart, throat, mouth, gums, tongue, teeth (cavities, tooth loss), pancreas, uterus, bladder, kidneys, etc.
- The longer you smoke, the longer you expose yourself to the harmful effects of tobacco’s 4,000 chemical products.
- Smokers have more frequent and more severe respiratory problems (shortness of breath, coughing, asthma, flu, bronchitis, emphysema, etc).
- Smokers have a higher risk of developing or aggravating psychological health problems such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, etc.
- Smoking reduces the lungs’ vitality and can prevent them from working at full capacity.
- Smoking ages skin prematurely: more and deeper wrinkles, greyish skin tone, etc.
- Smokers can show early signs of problems linked with cardio-vascular disease.
- Among smokers who started to smoke as teenagers and who keep smoking, half will die of a disease caused by tobacco:
- 50% of them will die between the ages of 35 and 69 (22 years earlier than the average life expectancy).
- 50% of them will die after the age of 70 (8 years earlier than the average life expectancy).
- And so on...
The good news
If you decide to stop smoking, most of the damage caused to your body by tobacco smoke will be reduced or eliminated! Isn’t that interesting?
Each year, thousands of smokers decide to free themselves from tobacco, and they succeed. So it can be done!
What’s more, by quitting, you’ll no longer be endangering the health and even the lives of non-smokers. Second-hand smoke will cause the deaths of over 1,000 non-smokers in Canada this year.
So, how would you answer the following questions?
- Why continue smoking?
- What’s it good for?
- Can you get the so-called benefits of smoking some other way?
Think about it if you want to, then come back and tell us about it.