The most important smoking fact: It’s never too late to quit

October 9, 2019

Q. I would like my husband to quit smoking. He knows it's bad for him, but I want all the ammunition I can get to convince him. Can you help me?

Here goes:

• Cigarette smokers die younger than nonsmokers. Smoking shortens lives by about 14 years.

• Smoking causes almost 90 percent of lung cancers.

• Smoking damages the immune system and increases the risk of infections.

• Many illnesses in smokers last longer than in nonsmokers.

• After surgery, smokers have a greater risk of complications and a lower survival rate.

• When smokers get skin wounds, they take longer to heal than those in nonsmokers.

• Smoking cigarettes causes heart disease. Smokers who have a heart attack are more likely to die within an hour than nonsmokers.

• Cigarette smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.

• Cigarette smoking causes emphysema, which destroys a person’s ability to breathe.

• Smokers commonly suffer from chronic bronchitis.

• More than 7 million current and former smokers suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the name used to describe both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. About 85 percent of COPD deaths are caused by smoking.

• Smoking causes peripheral artery disease that can affect blood flow throughout the entire body.

• Smoking causes many types of cancer, including cancer of the esophagus, larynx, mouth, bladder, pancreas, kidney and cervix.

• Smoking causes cataracts.

• Smoking makes your skin age faster.

• Smoking increases the risk of sexual impotence.

• Smoking cigars and pipes causes cancers of the lung, oral cavity (lip, tongue, mouth, throat), larynx (voice box) and esophagus. Pipe and cigar smokers, who often don’t inhale, are still breathing the secondhand smoke that surrounds them.

• Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing nearly 440,000 deaths each year.

• Because of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, aka secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer every year.

It’s never too late to quit. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked. Within minutes of smoking the last cigarette, the body begins to restore itself.


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