Facts about Tobacco – Smoking & Chewing

How much worse are cigars?
As you probably know, any type of tobacco is harmful, including cigars, pipes, bidis (small flavored cigarettes), clove cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco. Our website has more information about cigars; go to “Resources” then “Tobacco Products.” The amount of tar and nicotine in a cigar is much greater than what’s in a cigarette. Smoking one cigar is like smoking several cigarettes since most cigars have more tobacco in them, up to the amount in a cigarette PACK! Cigar smoking increases the risk of cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, and larynx (voice box). Most cigar smokers (especially former cigarette smokers) do inhale, and this seems to also increase the risk of heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Cigars also give off more secondhand smoke, making them especially harmful for people who don’t smoke but are around cigar smoke. Basically, if you are only smoking cigars, or smoking them along with cigarettes, it’s best to stop. The same ideas about quitting cigarettes apply to quitting cigars.

Are the 4,700 chemicals inherently in tobacco or did the cigarette companies add them?
Great question! Many chemicals get added through the process of making cigarettes, in order to make them more addictive and more flavorful. Some chemicals, however, are in the tobacco itself and many others are produced when the cigarette is burning. Of the 4,700 chemicals that are in the cigarette smoke, 43 are cancer-causing substances and there are about 400 toxins. Nicotine itself is a pesticide and is the natural ingredient in tobacco which makes it highly addictive. That is why even smokeless tobaccos, or spit/chew tobaccos also have their share of harms to offer since the nicotine and other substances are absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. Thus, they too can cause oral cancer and other diseases. There are so-called natural tobacco products available in the market as well. These claim to be free from a lot of the harmful additives, but it’s important to keep in mind that these claims are questionable. What great reasons to stay tobacco-free!

Is it true that nicotine does not cause cancer? Does tobacco?
Nicotine is not believed to cause cancer. Nicotine is the addictive stimulant drug in tobacco. It’s what gets you hooked. It’s why you start out with one cigarette and soon start smoking half a pack, and then a pack – you develop a tolerance and need to smoke more to get the same effect. According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoke contains over 4,700 chemicals and over 50 human cancer-causing agents, also called carcinogens. According to a recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report, the carcinogens in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too quickly, which causes cancer. Smokeless tobacco also contains cancer-causing agents and increases the risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity. Thank you for pointing out another really good reason to become and remain tobacco-free.

How much nicotine difference is there when compared to wearing the patch? The first step 1 patch has 21 mg. of nicotine. How many mg. of nicotine is there in a pack of cigarettes?
Each cigarette contains approximately 1 mg. of nicotine-“light” cigarettes have been found to have similar amounts of nicotine, or the smoker makes up for the lesser amount by smoking more or sucking in harder.  Basically, the nicotine in the 21 mg. patch is equivalent to about a pack of cigarettes.

I have smoked for so many years. Will my body react to the absence of nicotine?
Your body will react when you quit, but there are a number of things you can do to make that reaction tolerable. You will experience withdrawal from the drug of nicotine. Irritability, fatigue, moodiness, coughing, and constipation are examples. Each is time-limited (the first 3-4 days are the worst), and each has a remedy. Anyone smoking 10-15 cigarettes or more, except for people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, and teens, should consider using stop-smoking medication. Using any of the nicotine replacement therapies (nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray, inhaler) and/or the medications Zyban or Chantix helps with decreasing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Cutting down on how many cigarettes you smoke before your quit date helps too, but be sure to set a quit date and quit for good when you are smoking 5-10 cigarettes.

If a parent smokes, 9 times out of 10 their kids will smoke. Is this true?
If both parents smoke, a teenager is more than twice as likely to smoke than if the parents are both non-smokers. In households where only one parent smokes, teenagers are also more likely to start smoking. Many parents decide to quit to become smoke-free role models for their kids. If you did grow up in a smoking household, you still have the choice of whether to smoke or not to smoke–it’s not a foregone conclusion that you will be a smoker.

It is not how many years we live, but what we do with them. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount Cigarettes Brands

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