Smoking Kills: It is Never too Late to Stop!
Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.
15% of Americans smoke, amounting to 36.5 million people. A majority of these are heavy smokers. Every year cigarettes kill close to half of a million Americans, with an additional 40,000 deaths resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke. In this sense, smoking is not solely a personal decision – other people may be affected even if they themselves do not smoke.
Another aspect of the wider reaching consequences of tobacco use are the health care costs. According to a 2014 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), national smoking-related costs amount to $300 billion each year, including both direct medical care and lost productivity.
Apart from the cost to taxpayers and the burden on the medical system, cigarette smoking is very expensive to the individual smoker as well. American smokers spend up to $80 million every year on cigarettes or about 70$ per week.
While most people understand that smoking increases the risks of cancer, fewer may realize that smoking also has an adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is linked to one-third of deaths from CVD.
While smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, cardiovascular disease is the single greatest cause of death. More than 16 million Americans have heart disease, and 800,000 Americans die of heart disease every year.
Heart attack and stroke affect 15 million Americans every year.
What this amounts to is that smoking is a very dangerous habit that can seriously impact overall health, and in particular can affect cardiovascular health.
Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes per week may be increasing their risk of early CVD, and this risk increases both with a number of cigarettes smoked daily and the number of years a person smokes for.
So how does smoking contribute to heart disease? The chemicals in cigarettes inflame the cells lining arteries, leading to an increased buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the blood along the arteries – this is known as plaque. Plaque can form dangerous clots that can travel to the brain or the heart, causing a blockage that leads to heart attack or stroke. The narrowing of arteries due to the buildup of plaque is called atherosclerosis, a condition that can be treated with medication. However, medication is no replacement for quitting smoking.
Other cardiovascular conditions that have been linked to smoking are peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and peripheral vascular disease which is what happens when plaque causes the narrowing of blood vessels feeding the body’s extremities.
When blood flow is reduced and the limbs deprived of oxygen and nutrients, symptoms will include aching and muscle exhaustion, and in extreme cases may even result in infection and amputation.
Smoking is the most common preventable cause of PAD.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when the portion of the aorta that is in the abdomen suffers restricted blood flow. If an aneurysm ruptures it can be life-threatening – almost all deaths from abdominal aortic aneurysms are caused by smoking.
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease and a leading cause of death in the United States. When combined with other preventable and non-preventable risk factors, such as genetics, obesity, and high-cholesterol, smoking can greatly exacerbate the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Although smoking is very harmful and is increasingly harmful over time, even long-time smokers can reduce or even reverse these harms rapidly once they quit. Within just one year the risk of heart attack drops dramatically. Within five years, smokers who quit may cut their risk of stroke down to that of a person who has never smoked a single cigarette. Therefore, while smoking is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is never too late to quit. Even just a few cigarettes a week can cause damage, so the safest strategy to prevent or reverse this damage is to quit as soon as possible.
At Dr. Leonard Pianko’s office, we treat the whole patient and not just disease.
This means that we are here to help you improve your overall well-being and day-to-day health holistically and preventatively rather than waiting for problems to appear.
If you smoke, we are here to advise and guide you through the process of quitting. Smoking is a serious addiction, and those who break free need serious support – our entire staff is dedicated to total care of every patient, including through the difficult process of quitting smoking. The gains of quitting are immeasurable, and we are here to help our patients attain their health goals. If you are interested in consulting with Dr. Pianko, please schedule an appointment at any time.
Smoking Kills: It is Never too Late to Stop!
Smoking Kills: It is Never too Late to Stop! Smoking Kills: It is Never too Late to Stop! Smoking Kills: It is Never too Late to Stop!
About the Author
Jeff has been the CEO of Senior.com for 12 years. Senior.com has grown under Jeff’s leadership, in fact when the website was first launched, the member base grew form Zero to over 700,000 in less the 3 years. Current, has over 1,600,000 registered members.
Jeff received his MBA degree in Managerial Finance and Investor Relations from the University of Phoenix and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting from California State University, Fullerton.View All Articles