Tobacco

Cigarettes

Cigarettes are made of a variety of chemicals including formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nicotine.

Nicotine is the active ingredient in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products that gives the users a "buzz" and leads to addiction. Tar results from burning tobacco and increases the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. Carbon monoxide increases a person's risk for cardiovascular disease.

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke is the combination of the smoke emitted by the burning of the end of a tobacco product and mainstream smoke exhaled by smokers. It is a major cause of respiratory irritation and diseases in nonsmokers including lung cancer and coronary heart disease. More than 50 different carcinogens have been identified in the smoke that nonsmokers breathe in.

Smokeless Tobacco

There are two types of smokeless tobacco: chewing tobacco (loose leaf) and snuff (finely ground tobacco that can be dry or moist). Users of smokeless tobacco typically keep the tobacco in their mouth against their gums or cheek and absorb nicotine this way.

Smokeless tobacco causes a higher risk of nicotine addiction and dependence and users have a higher tendency to pick up smoking tobacco as well. Research has found that smokeless tobacco contains 28 carcinogens and contributes to cancer of the mouth. Other oral problems linked to smokeless tobacco include Leukoplakia (a soft tissue lesion of plaque that cannot be scraped off) and recession of the gums of the mouth.

Tobacco Mortality Statistics

  1. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It is attributed to roughly 438,000 deaths per year, or 1 out of 5 deaths overall.
  2. On average, adults who frequently smoke cigarettes die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
  3. More deaths in the United States are associated with tobacco use than the combined mortality figures of people with HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and murders.

Websites for Tobacco

General Information:

www.cdc.gov/tobacco/ Smoking and tobacco use
www.tobacco.org Tobacco news and information

Quit Programs:

www.smokefree.gov An online quide to help you quit smoking
www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/ Surgeon General, smoking cessation site

Anti-Smoking Activism:

Interesting tobacco facts by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health - www.MakeSmokingHistory.org