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Cigarette Smoking and Its Health Risks. Why do I need to know about the health risks of cigarette smoking? Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of illness and death. Cigarettes are filled with nicotine, which acts like a poison in your body. What are the health risks of cigarette smoking? You may have breathing problems that make it difficult for you to do daily activities or play sports. You have a higher risk of bone fractures because smoking can cause osteoporosis (brittle bones). If you fall asleep with a lit cigarette, you can start a fire. Cigarette smoking can also cause the following health problems: Cancer: Smoking increases your risk of many kinds of cancer. The most common cancers are lung, lip, mouth, or throat cancer. Heart and blood vessel disease: The nicotine in tobacco causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine also causes your blood vessels to narrow. This can lead to blood clots in your heart or brain and caused a heart attack or stroke. Cigarette smoke has carbon monoxide in it. This can decrease the amount of oxygen flowing to your heart and other organs. Lung disease: The chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage your lungs. This causes a buildup of dirt and waste products in your lungs. Many people who smoke have a long-term cough as a result. Cigarette smoking may also cause long-term lung infections or diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. You are also at higher risk for respiratory illnesses, such as colds or pneumonia. Gastrointestinal disease: Cigarette smoking increases the amount of acid in your stomach. This can cause an ulcer or gastric reflux. Women and smoking: You have a higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease if you smoke and take birth control pills. The risk is more serious is you are 35 years or older. You may have a harder time getting pregnant if you smoke. If you are pregnant and smoke, you have a higher risk of miscarriage or having a stillborn baby. Babies born to mothers who smoke often weigh less and are at higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).Why should I quit smoking? Your health will improve and your risks for many diseases will decrease. Your breath, clothes, and hair will no longer smell like smoke. Tobacco will no longer stain your teeth. Tobacco smoke is dangerous to others. If you quit, you will decrease the risks to those around you, such as your children or family members. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking Health Effects Fact Sheets Overview Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general. Smoking and Death Smoking causes death.

• The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.2,3 • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.2,4 • Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.1 • An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.1

Smoking and Increased Health Risks Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of

• coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times,
• stroke by 2 to 4 times,
• men developing lung cancer by 23 times,
• Women developing lung cancer by 13 times, and dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times.

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

• Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.1 • Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries) and puts smokers at risk of developing peripheral vascular disease (i.e., obstruction of the large...
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