Written by Dr. Sherif Fayed, Pulmonary Specialist
Facts about smoking: Did you know that, according to research, cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals? These include carbon monoxide, tar and a multitude of other harmful substances such as arsenic, lead and benzene. Cigarette smoke has also been found to contain approximately 50 carcinogenic substances.
Beyond causing the commonplace annoyances of coughing, shortness of breath, phlegm, and premature aging of the skin, smoking is one of the main risk factors for serious illnesses, and it reduces life expectancy by an aver
age of approximately 10 years. The health problems that smoking causes include peptic ulcers, hypertension, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, arteriosclerosis, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Many types of cancer, including lung, neck and throat (larynx, esopharynx, oropharynx), esophagus, bladder, kidney and cervical cancer, are attributable to smoking.
Smoking is the number-one preventable cause of death in the world. Yet, the addictive power of tobacco is so strong that barely 3% to 10% of smokers succeed in quitting for one year without assistance. Success rates increase to between 15% and 20% when smokers benefit from some form of support.
The good news is that you can quit smoking—even after a long history as a smoker!
The sceptics will be happy to know that the risks for disease greatly diminish just a short time after smoking is stopped. Research has also shown that the risk for heart attack decreases mere days after smoking cessation and is cut in half in just one year. Five years after cessation, the risk for heart attack is essentially the same as for someone who has never smoked!