Tobacco is deadly in all its forms

| November 18, 2010 | 0 Comments

Lorraine Lobos
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — Is chewing tobacco as bad as cigarettes? Yes, both cigarettes and chewing tobacco are toxic to the body. 

Chewing tobacco can cause sores and white patches in the mouth, as well as diseases and cancers of the mouth, gums and throat. Chewing can causes bad breath, discolor teeth and tooth loss. One chew contains 15 times the nicotine of a cigarette, meaning the risk of addiction is much higher. 

Is smoking cool? Definitely not. But every day, we see images on the Internet and in movies that depict smoking as cool, sexy, professional and glamorous. What we don’t see is that every day, 3,000 children become regular smokers, and this youthful smoking can have severe, lifelong consequences. Teens who smoke are more likely to use illicit drugs and drink more heavily than their nonsmoking peers. 

Smoke from pipes and cigars is harmful, too. Many people who smoke pipes and cigars do not inhale, but they have more risk of getting cancer of the lips, mouth, tongue or throat. Additionally, most people who switch from cigarettes to pipes do inhale. 

All forms of tobacco are addictive. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff are all ways of getting nicotine into the body. 

When smoking a cigarette, nicotine is absorbed quickly through the lungs and into the bloodstream. Once it is in the bloodstream, nicotine reaches the brain within seconds. Nicotine in chewing tobacco and snuff is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth or nose. 

Tobacco causes bad breath, stained teeth and hands; a cough or sore throat; problems breathing, or feeling tired and out of breath; wrinkles; cancer, heart disease and gum disease; burns in vehicles or clothes; and bad-smelling clothes, hair and skin. 

Quitting causes a brighter smile, healthier teeth and gums, reduced risk of cancer, and reduced disease and high blood pressure. At $3 or more a can, a chewer can save a lot of money by quitting. Cutting out one can a day saves more than $1,000 a year.

Why not set a quit date? Announce the date to a group and ask for quit buddies, or join a group that has already formed, to provide extra support and add accountability. 

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a variety of smoking cessation products, including prescription medicines and over-the-counter products, such as skin patches, lozenges and gum. 

Smoking cessation products are regulated through the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which ensures the products are effective and the benefits outweigh any known associated risks. 

Remember, smoking kills not only your health and well-being, but also that of others. Start to live healthier today because tomorrow could be too late. 

Category: Army News Service, News, Observances

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