Smoking Tobacco
(cigarettes, cigars, pipes)

Facts on smoking


Facts on Smoking

Facts on Teen Smoking

  • 1 in 3 adolescents is a daily smoker.
  • Every day 6000 kids under the age of 18 try their first cigarette. Every day about half of them become addicted. If this trend continues 5 million of these kids will die from a disease caused by smoking.
  • Teens can become addicted to cigarettes within 2 weeks.
  • Of the high school seniors who smoke 1 to 5 cigarettes a day, 70% will be smoking 5 years after graduation.
  • Half of all teens who smoke started by age 14.
  • 10% of adult smokers began between the ages of 9 and 10.
  • Teens are more likely to smoke if their parents, friends or siblings smoke.
  • People who casually smoke are also addicted.
  • People who graduate from college are 3 times less likely to smoke than people who end their education immediately after high school.

Why do people smoke...

  • They're addicted
  • They're curious
  • It makes them feel good

Why does it make them feel good?

  • It lets them relax.
  • It gives them an excuse to go outside and/or take a break from work.
  • They're taking deep breaths
  • They feel a buzz

Why can't they take a break from work,
take deep breaths and relax without smoking?

  • They can. None of these actions require a cigarette.

What are other easier, healthier ways to feel good?

  • Stand up straight
  • Breathe deeply
  • Look up and around you
  • Put a grin on your face

The ways we gesture and act physically can send positive messages to our brain, which causes our mood to improve automatically! Take a break, step outside and take deep breaths of fresh air. Slap a big stupid grin on your face and look up at the sky or the trees or the architecture around you. There is no need to light up! ...unless you're addicted.

Think of the "buzz" you can get by...

  • Attracting one of the many people who are turned off by cigarettes.
  • Not having all your clothes reek of carcinogenic nicotine.
  • Not having yellow teeth.
  • Not having a mouth that tastes like a dirty ashtray to the people you kiss.
  • Being able to smell fragrances you were never aware of before.
  • Not being chained to a pack of cigarettes.
  • Not being dependent on a cigarette.
  • Not letting a little cigarette butt control your life and dictate your schedule.
  • Appearing more intelligent to others.
  • Not wasting your money little by little every day on something you burn.
  • Respecting the amazing machine that is your body and taking better care of it.

Who's manipulating who?

As a teen-ager you are bombarded with orders to say no to drugs. However you aren't always given the reasons why. A teenager like most people generally don't like being ordered to do something or manipulated by other adults, whether it be your parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Therefore, they smoke as a form of rebellion. But what you might find interesting is that there is another group of powerful adults that try to manipulate you and tell you what to think about tobacco. They're called the tobacco industry.

The tobacco industry...

  • Has always seen teenagers as nothing more than future addicts it can make money off of.
  • Has portrayed tobacco as defiant and therefore cool regardless of the health risks, in order to attract young consumers.
  • Has given away products to young consumers using them as walking advertisements who are statistically more likely to become consumers themselves.
  • Made 431 billion dollars between 1980 and 1999 off Americans, 7.5 million of which died due to smoking.
  • Is literally making blood money off killing their consumers.
  • Gave 4.5 million dollars to political parties and spent another 53 million dollars influencing political decisions in 1997 alone.

"The Quick and Dirty Truth"

Cigarettes are a proven carcinogen. What's more they are extremely addictive, making it extremely difficult for even the strongest person to quit. If you have a single brain cell in your head, you will realize it is pointless to start smoking unless you want to die a painful death, and pay a large percentage of your future income to the tobacco industry. Frankly the tobacco industry doesn't deserve your lifetime donations, because it manipulates people using addictive chemicals and marketing schemes to make money off of the misery of its customers.

The Facts...

Tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans and 4 million people worldwide every year, most of which die of lung cancer or heart disease.

According to the World Health Organization, by 2030, the annual loss of life will more than double, making cigarettes the leading cause of premature death around the globe, outstripping malaria, AIDS and other scourges.

One in every five deaths in the U.S. is smoking related.

Habitually smoking can take 6 to 9 years off your life. It doesn't sound like much, especially when you assume it will be many years down the road. But, just imagine if you died a painful death in 4th grade. How tragic that would be: 9 years of memories, achievements, wisdom, growth, precious moments and life experiences from 4th grade through high school graduation inaccessible to you as you lie in a coffin. Every stage of life is precious. If any one of these stages is cut short by lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, bronchitis, or other unpleasant smoking related illnesses, you will regret touching that first cigarette.

The typical response - "Live hard die young. I don't want to grow old. It's my life so I should be able to decide whether I have fun now or not. I'm just a social smoker. I've had a bad week." If you have similar thoughts, it might be because nobody has given you the complete story. Please read on. You have a right to know...

Cigarettes and Alcohol: the Deadly Duo

Cigarette carcinogens initiate cancers while alcohol promotes their development.

Take mouth and pharynx cancer for instance. If you just drink or just smoke you have 2 to 3 times the risk of developing this cancer. If you smoke and drink your risk is 15 times greater!

Smoking and Addiction...

  • 70% of smokers wish they could quit or had never started
  • Only 3% of smokers trying to quit succeed due to their strong addiction.
  • Tobacco companies have worked hard to find ways to boost the amount of nicotine delivered to your body from cigarettes because of its addictive properties.
  • 3 out of every 4 teen smokers have already attempted to quit unsuccessfully.

Smokers are breathing...

  • Mercury: A liquid metal used in thermometers that can damage the brain, the kidneys, the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs, the eyes and the ability to reproduce.
  • Ammonia: A gas used to clean toilets that can cause severe eye damage and asthma.
  • Carbon monoxide: A deadly gas found in car exhaust that suffocates the body of oxygen, decreases heart and muscle function, impairs driving skills, and causes low birth weight and mental retardation in newborns.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide and Phosphorous: Two chemicals found in rat poison.
  • Formaldehyde: A chemical used in embalming fluid that causes cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Lead: A metal found in hair dye, paint, and gasoline that stunts growth and causes anorexia, weight-loss, vomiting and brain damage.
  • Arsenic: A chemical found in ant killer that can cause burning lips, smelly breath, vomiting and death.
  • Acetone: A chemical found in nail polish remover that can cause dizziness and damage to the liver and kidneys.
  • Methoprene: A chemical found in flea spray that stunts larvae development.
  • Cadmium: A chemical found in batteries that causes liver, kidney and brain damage and stays in your system for up to 22 years.
  • DDT: A pesticide outlawed in the United States but still used in other countries that is known to adversely affect the nervous system and may cause liver cancer. DDT is stored in the body's fat and can be transferred to a mother's infant through her breast milk.
    DDT was the greatest threat to the American bald eagle, primarily responsible for reducing the bird's numbers from around 50,000 to a mere 900 birds. DDT within the environment, caused the eggs of many bird species to be dangerously thin and prone to break before the babies had a chance to develop and hatch. Why would anyone want to ingest this crap? It's not only hazardous to your health Ð It's simply un-American!
  • More than 50 known cancer-causing agents
    have been found in tobacco smoke.

Something gross to think about
Do you wash fruit or vegetables before you eat them because of pesticides or fertilizer. Then why would you trust the tobacco industry (known to lie, manipulate, and disregard the health of its consumers) to wash your tobacco crop? Why would you set this tobacco product on fire, thus releasing the long list of trapped toxins within it, including those from pesticides, fertilizers (from the feces of animals), and additives? Finally why on earth, would you then inhale the released toxins directly into your lungs insuring their absorption into your blood stream?

Smoking and Cancer

  • More than 50 known cancer-causing agents have been found in tobacco smoke.
  • Smokers are 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer if female.
  • Smokers are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer if male.
  • More than 80% of lung cancers are due to smoking.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women.
  • 22% of all cancers are lung cancer.
  • 33% of all cancer deaths in men are due to lung cancer.

Smokers are also more likely to develop the following cancers:

  • Cancer of the lips.
  • Cancer of the mouth.
  • Cancer of the pancreas, having no known effective treatment, and usually ending your life within a month after diagnosis.
  • Cancer of the esophagus.
  • Cancer of the bladder.
  • Cancer of the uterus.

Smoking and your cardiovascular system

  • The largest number of smoking related deaths are caused by disease of the cardiovascular system.
  • Smokers are 3 times more likely to die of a heart attack.
  • Smokers are more likely to have a stroke. A stroke kills a part of your brain leaving it unable to function for the rest of your life.

Other Smoking Perks

  • Smokers are 19 times more likely to develop emphysema, a crippling respiratory disorder that destroys the lungs' elasticity, slowly suffocating the victim as he/she gasps for breath day after day after day.
  • Smokers are at a higher risk for impotence. (The inability to have sexual intercourse or to have children.)
  • Smokers are 4 times more likely to develop severe depression.

Smoking and your life span

  • Tobacco kills one person every 72 seconds in America.
  • 430,000 Americans die from smoking every year. If terrorists want to kill Americans they'd be more successful funding the tobacco industry.
  • Smokers cut off 3 minutes of their life with ever cigarette.
  • Each year more Americans die from smoking-related illnesses than the number of Americans who were killed in World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
  • If three 747's crashed every day with no survivors for a year, it still wouldn't equal the number of Americans killed by smoking within a year.
  • Smoking causes more deaths than AIDS, illegal drugs, alcohol, fire, automobile accidents, homicide and suicide combined.

It's cool? BS! Smoking causes...

  • Bad breath
  • Bad kisses: Try licking a dirty ashtray sometime and you'll know what you taste like. "Don't stick your carcinogenic tongue in my mouth!"
  • Yellow teeth
  • Smelly clothes
  • Stained fingers
  • Wrinkles: Women who smoke have the equivalent wrinkles of someone 20 years older. You to freeze your ass off during the winter just to light up a cigarette.
  • Severe dependency: If this is your way of looking independent you're not helping the cause.
  • A broken voice: That deep voice you acquire isn't sexy. It means your lungs are covered in deadly tar, and in ten years you can look forward to sounding like the lead singer of ACDC.
  • Smokers themselves don't usually notice these effects because they have grown used to them. Their senses of smell and taste have been dulled by exposure to nicotine. However nonsmokers can sense the unhealthy aroma and appearance of a smoker instantly.

Smoking can damage people close to you.

Woman who smoke during pregnancy are...

  • Almost twice as likely to miscarry or spontaneously abort.
  • More likely to have a stillborn (to deliver a dead baby).
  • More likely to have an abnormally small newborn.
  • Feeding their infant breast milk containing nicotine, DDT, and many other toxic chemicals.

Smoking is the largest preventable cause of premature death and disability in the U.S.

If you're planning to stop smoking when you are pregnant, consider this. You cannot be aware of the conception that occurs at a microscopic level inside your fallopian tube. You cannot be aware of implantation of an egg in your uterus. When you realize you are pregnant, your baby has already felt the effects of smoking.

Furthermore, if your planning on quitting smoking because it can damage your infant's life, isn't that a good indication that you are consciously damaging your own.

What makes you think you'll be able to quit immediately once you're pregnant. As you know, smoking is extremely addictive. It's a lot easier to quit if you start now and wean yourself off nicotine gradually. If you wait until your pregnant to suddenly quit all at once, you may not be able to. You will also be much more likely to continue smoking after you've given birth.

Friends of smokers listen up...

  • Annually, exposure to secondhand smoke (or environmental tobacco smoke) causes an estimated 3,000 deaths from lung cancer among American adults.
  • Scientific studies have linked secondhand smoke to heart disease.

Children of smokers are...

  • More likely to die of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
  • More likely to die of respiratory problems.
  • 50 percent more likely to develop childhood cancers if their parent smokes over 10 cigarettes a day.

Children of smokers may...

  • Have lower IQ scores
  • Have difficulty reading
  • Have difficulty adjusting socially
  • Be significantly shorter than children of nonsmokers.

The financial costs of smoking...

  • Every pack of cigarettes you buy is money down the drain.
    1 pack a day for ten years = $14,600
    1 pack a week for 10 years = $2080
  • Smokers cause more than 25% of fires.
  • Health insurance rates are more expensive for smokers.
  • Life insurance rates are more expensive for smokers.
  • Car insurance is more expensive for smokers. Taking your eyes off the road to light up or pick up a dropped cigarette have caused enough car wrecks to cause insurance companies to offer cheaper rates to nonsmokers.

If smoking is so bad for you, why doesn't government ban it like other illegal drugs?

The simple answer: money
Excise taxes and duties on cigarettes and corporate income tax paid by manufacturers stuff the government's pockets. Some countries make more money from a pack of smokes than the tobacco companies make. Countries belonging to the European Union keep over 70% of the retail price from each pack of Marlboro cigarettes. China, the world's largest cigarette maker, makes 13% of its annual income from tobacco sales and taxes. Politicians and tobacco-industry lobbyists will argue that less smoking will mean economic dislocations, lower revenues and lost jobs. Lets address these arguments one at a time...

  • Economy: For the vast majority of countries, the tobacco business amounts to only a small part of national economic output. Economists at the World Bank say that less smoking will have unprecedented health benefits without bursting budgets or harming economies. Consumers will have more money to spend on other industries stimulating the growth of those industries. The countries whose economy could be hard hit, are those heavily dependent on tobacco-leaf exports such as Zimbabwe.
  • Revenue: Smokers are highly addicted to cigarettes. Thus they're less responsive to price increases than other consumers. Raising taxes on cigarettes, is one method suggested to reduce cigarette use. Although it will reduce some consumption, two recent World Bank studies concluded that the higher price will outweigh the drop in consumption thus generating more revenue for the government.
  • Jobs: If cigarette consumption decreases, consumers will have more money to spend on other industries, generating more jobs in those other industries.

Knowledge is power

All these facts are based on scientific studies. We can't blame our parents for the damage their smoking has caused, because they weren't given this valuable information. But now you have been informed thanks to science. You cannot say you weren't educated on the dangers of smoking. You carry knowledge that was acquired from millions of people who lost their lives to smoking related illness. We are not telling you not to smoke. We are desperately and strongly urging you, on the bases of these facts, to please think about this information, embrace it and better your life by choosing not to smoke.


Use more than one strategy to give yourself a better chance of quitting. When you want to beat the addiction of smoking do not screw around! If you want to quit, you mean business. Hit that slime-ball addiction with all the artillery you have access to.

  • Group support: Meet with other smokers who are trying to quit and discuss your progress.
  • Counseling: Seek professional help, whether it's a school counselor, nurse, doctor, or psychologist.
  • Nicotine replacement products: It's easier to wean yourself off an addiction to minimize the effects of withdrawal. Stop smoking and use the nicotine patch. This product will deliver controlled amounts of nicotine to your brain.
  • Medication: Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) can be prescribed by your doctor to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
  • Aerobic Exercise: This will replace the buzz you get from nicotine by the energy and endorphins (natural euphoric chemicals) you get from exercising and staying in aerobic shape.
  • Friend Support: Call your friend when cravings hit too hard, or to celebrate each month you stay off cigarettes.
  • Read: There are many books available with helpful information and inspiring stories that may give you the extra wisdom to make quitting a little easier. Read Taking Control of Your Life as many times as you need to.

Weight gain

People who quit smoking usually gain about 5 pounds within a few months to a year after quitting.


  • Nicotine speeds up your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories). Once you quit, your metabolism returns to normal. You can regain a high metabolic rate plus many additional benefits by exercising.
  • Smoking numbs your sense of taste and smell. Once you quit, the taste and smell of food can be more inviting.
  • Some people deal with their cravings by eating.

Ways to avoid weight gain:

  • As mentioned exercise is important.
  • Eating 3 square meals a day and eating slowly will reduce your appetite for snacks. If you must satisfy a craving to smoke by putting something else in your mouth, drink some water, chew some sugar-free gum or a eat a low calorie fruit or vegetable.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks.
  • For more tips, see controlling weight gain.

Remember: The health risks of smoking far outweigh the health risks of gaining 5 pounds.

Nutrition for smokers who are weaning themselves off cigarettes

  • Carotene, found in yellow, orange and leafy green vegetables, and Vitamin B12 may help prevent vision dimness due to the cyanide content in cigarettes.
  • Cadmium found in cigarettes causes emphysema. Zinc and Vitamins C and E can help deactivate and eliminate cadmium.

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Related Info

American Cancer Society Information on quitting smoking

Smoking, Tobacco and Health Information Line

Tips 4 Teens - Stop Smoking Help