After witnessing his father’s slow death from emphysema caused by smoking, Patrick Reynolds made it his life’s mission to fight against Big Tobacco, the industry his family helped build. Patrick is the grandson of R.J. Reynolds, who founded the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1875. Today, he runs the anti-smoking organization Tobacco Free Earth, and he wants to help you quit smoking.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans yearly — more than AIDS, alcohol abuse, car accidents, murders, and suicides combined.
Most smokers have tried to quit smoking in the past. Many have failed several times. Every time they fail, many become more convinced they can’t quit.
The truth is, failing is part of the normal journey toward becoming a non-smoker.
Most do it without a program, and 95% go back to smoking within a year. Even with the best programs available, the failure rate is still high. Even so, the numbers provide a compelling reason to get into a program.
About a third of smokers will die from the disease, and studies show the other two-thirds will likely suffer from other diseases and have significantly shorter lifespans. If that’s not enough, below are ten more reasons to stop smoking.
1. Secondhand Smoke Can Kill Those You Love
Secondhand smoke exposure can cause lung cancer, heart disease, and other respiratory problems in nonsmokers. The CDC estimates that secondhand smoke exposure causes approximately 34,000 deaths from heart disease and lung cancer each year in nonsmokers. It’s also a known risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Smoking is also a leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths, accounting for 20% of all fire deaths each year.
So if you’re a smoker, you are putting your own health at risk and endangering the lives of the people around you. Quitting smoking is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of tobacco smoke.
2. Smoking Hurts The Environment
Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. They’re made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that can take up to 12 years to degrade. Each year, billions of cigarette butts end up in landfills, parks, and beaches.
Tobacco production is also a leading cause of deforestation. In 2012, tobacco companies cleared more than 400,000 hectares of forestland. This deforestation contributes to climate change, as trees play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Smoking also pollutes the air and water. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, including lead, mercury, and arsenic. These toxic chemicals are released into the environment when cigarettes are burned.
So, not only does smoking hurt your health, but it also hurts the planet.
3. Smoking Is Expensive
The average smoker spends about $130 per month on cigarettes, which adds up to more than $1500 per year. When you quit smoking, you could save enough money to take a nice vacation or make a significant dent in your debt.
Tobacco taxes I have skyrocketed in recent years, making tobacco products prohibitively expensive. Taxing tobacco is popular with lawmakers of both parties because the data shows it prices many teens out of the market, it brings in the needed revenue for state governments, and gives smokers a strong financial incentive to quit, saving millions on Medicare and Medicaid costs.
Smoking cigarettes is costly not only to your wallet but also to the economy. Every year smoking costs the United States more than $240 billion in healthcare spending, nearly $185 billion in lost productivity from smoking-related illnesses and health conditions, nearly $180 billion in lost productivity from smoking-related premature death, and $7 billion in lost productivity from premature death from secondhand smoke exposure.
So, not only will quitting smoking save you money, but it will also help reduce the burden on our healthcare system.
4. Smoking Causes Wrinkles and Premature Aging
Smoking cigarettes causes wrinkles and premature aging. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the collagen and elastin in your skin, which leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, and a dull complexion.
Smoking also decreases the blood flow to your skin, which results in a loss of nutrients and oxygen. This can make your skin dry, thin, and more susceptible to wrinkling.
Not only does smoking damage your appearance, but it also increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
If you’re looking for a reason to quit smoking, your appearance should be enough motivation!
5. Smoking Can Damage Your Senses
Tobacco smoke damages the delicate lining of your nose and mouth, which can cause a decrease in your ability to smell and taste.
Tobacco smoke also irritates your eyes, leading to redness, watering, and blurred vision.
6. Smoking Causes Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that damage the gums and teeth, which can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, receding gums, and bone loss. Gum disease is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
7. Smoking Increases your Risk of Cancer
Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States. In 2020 cancer was the second leading cause of death after heart disease in the United States. Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in the U.S. and is the leading cause of cancer worldwide, causing almost six million deaths each year.
The prognosis for lung cancer is poor. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 18%. This means that only 18% of people diagnosed with lung cancer will be alive five years after diagnosis.
Smoking also increases your risk of developing other types of cancer, such as bladder cancer, cervical cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, pancreatic cancer, and kidney cancer.
8. Smoking Increases your Risk of Heart Disease
Above all, smoking increases the risk of developing heart disease. Tobacco smoke damages the lining of the arteries, which can lead to a build-up of plaque. This can cause a narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Smoking Can Also Cause:
- Peripheral Artery Disease – Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which the arteries outside your heart and brain become narrowed or blocked. This can lead to reduced blood flow to your limbs, causing pain, numbness, or weakness. PAD can also lead to ulcers or gangrene (dead tissue) in your legs or feet.
- Aortic Aneurysm – An aortic aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from your heart to your body. An aortic aneurysm can rupture and cause life-threatening internal bleeding.
- Sudden Cardiac Death – Sudden cardiac death is a sudden, unexpected death caused by a change in heart rhythm (cardiac arrest).
- Respiratory Disease – Smoking also increases your risk of other respiratory diseases, such as emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 85% of COPD deaths.
Smoking is also linked to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death is a sudden, unexpected death caused by a change in heart rhythm (cardiac arrest).
Smoking is harmful to your health, and there are many ways that it can damage your body. If you’re looking for a reason to quit, consider your health. The benefits of quitting smoking are numerous, and your health is worth the effort.
9. Smoking Can Kill Your Unborn Child
Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Smoking during pregnancy increases your risk of having a low-birth-weight baby, premature birth, placental abruption, and stillbirth.
Smoking is also linked to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby under the age of one.
If you’re pregnant, quit smoking to give your baby a better chance at a healthy start in life.
10. Cigarettes Contain Many Harmful Chemicals
Cigarettes contain more than 7000 chemicals, including arsenic, carbon monoxide, lead, and formaldehyde. These chemicals are known to cause cancer.
When you inhale tobacco smoke, these harmful chemicals enter your bloodstream and are distributed throughout your body. They can damage your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and reproductive system.
Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce your exposure to these harmful chemicals.
There Are Many Resources Available To Help You Quit Smoking
If you’re ready to quit smoking, many resources are available to help you. Nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, and counseling can all be effective quitting aids. There are many anti-smoking organizations that can provide support and motivation.
Quit Smoking Resources
National quit smoking line for free phone counseling (800) QUIT NOW or (800) 784-8669
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 800-CDC-INFO
- Quitting tips at www.tobaccofree.org/quitting/
- CDC’s quit-smoking website, www.Smokefree.gov
- Tobacco Free Earth: Tobaccofree.org 310-577-9828
- Action on Smoking and Health: 202-296-5469
- American Cancer Society: 800-227-2345
- American Lung Association: 800-586-4872
- American Heart Association: 800-424-4301
If you’re not ready to quit smoking, try cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Whatever you do, don’t give up on quitting smoking. You can stop tobacco use!
There are plenty of resources available to help you stop smoking.
Have a family member who died from cigarettes?
Help change the world by supporting an anti-smoking organization like Tobacco Free Earth, an international anti-vaping and anti-smoking group with a global outreach and mission.
Tobacco Free Earth prevents kids from starting tobacco, and empowers those addicted to stop smoking. They work with schools, youth groups, and community organizations. Their outreach is global, thanks to their website and a major grant from Google Ads. This raises public awareness about the dangers of smoking and tobacco use around the world.
The group also advocates for stronger local, state, and federal tobacco control laws.
You can help change the world by supporting an anti-smoking organization like Tobacco Free Earth, by sharing your story and raising awareness about the dangers of smoking. If you have a loved one who died from smoking, you donate in their memory at the group’s website.
Tobacco Free Earth is a tax-exempt, public foundation. If you’d like to support this worthy group, please donate now. Your gift will save lives.