January is when smokers make a New Year resolution to quit. Some succeed but many fail. My wife told me that giving up smoking is easy – she has done it hundreds of times. Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality in the world.
Statistics from the United States show that smoking-related diseases cause an estimated 440,000 American deaths each year. Smoking costs the United States over $150 billion annually in health care costs. A 2004 Study by the US National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
Every day, 3,000 children smoke their first cigarette and at least 3 million adolescents are smokers. Tobacco use primarily begins in early adolescence, typically by age 16 and almost all first use occurs before children leave secondary school. Of every 100,000 15 year old smokers, tobacco will prematurely kill at least 20,000 before the age of 70. Of the 3,000 teens that started smoking today, nearly 1,000 will eventually die as a result of smoking.
Adolescent girls who smoke and take oral birth control pills greatly increase their chances of having blood clots and strokes. Teenagers who smoke are:
- Three times more likely to use alcohol
- Eight times are likely to smoke marijuana
- And 22 times more likely to use Cocaine
A person who starts smoking at age 13 has a more difficult time quitting, has more health-related problems and probably will die earlier than a person who begins to smoke at age 21. Children who smoke experience changes in their lungs and reduced lung growth; risk not achieving normal lung function as an adult; have significant health problems, including cough and phlegm production, decreased physical fitness and unfavourable lipid profile.
If your child’s best friends smoke, then your child is 13 times more likely to smoke than if his or her friends did not smoke.
Smokers pay twice as much for their life cover as those who don’t smoke.