Tobacco smoking is the largest preventable cause of cancer, responsible for more cancer deaths in Australia than any other single factor. It is also directly responsible for many heart and lung diseases. Smoking affects the smoker, as well as those around them.
What’s in a cigarette?

Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of over 7000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals come from burning tobacco. The remainder come from burning cigarette paper, agricultural chemicals left on the tobacco leaves and chemicals added during the cigarette making process. Once inhaled into the lungs, many of these chemicals pass through the lung walls into the blood stream, and are pumped around the body.
Disease and health problems caused by smoking

  • Cancers of the lung, throat, mouth, tongue, nose, nasal sinus, voice box, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, ureter, bowel, ovary, cervix, and bone marrow (myeloid leukaemia). Smoking-related cancers accounted for about 13% of all cancer cases in 2010.
  • Heart disease. Around 30% of all cases of heart disease in those under 65 years are due to smoking.
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes emphysema and small airways disease. Emphysema is rare in non-smokers.
  • Chronic bronchitis is a recurring cough together with frequent and increased phlegm. It occurs in about half of all heavy smokers.
  • Stroke. Smokers under 65 years are around three times more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers of the same age.
  • Peripheral vascular disease is a narrowing of the leg arteries that can lead to blockage and, in some cases, amputation. Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for this disease.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is the bursting of the lower part of the aorta leading from the heart. It often leads to sudden death. Cigarette smoking is the main preventable risk factor for this disease.
    Type 2 diabetes, and higher risks for diseases associated with diabetes in people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
    Peptic ulcer disease in persons who are Helicobater pylori positive.
  • Eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Lower fertility in women.
  • Low bone density in older women and hip fractures in both sexes.
  • Periodontitis, a dental disease that affects the gum and bones that supports the teeth.
  • Respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath, coughing, phlegm and wheezing. These symptoms occur in both child and adult smokers.
  • Faster decline in lung function, which is measured by how much air you can breathe out during a forced breath. All adults lose lung function as they age but this process occurs earlier and faster among smokers.
    Impaired lung growth among child and adolescent smokers and early onset of lung function decline in late adolescence and early adulthood.
  • Problems during pregnancy and childbirth including restricted foetal growth and low birth weight, ectopic pregnancy, complications that can lead to bleeding in pregnancy and the need for caesarean section delivery, and shortened time in the womb and preterm delivery (the baby is carried for less than 37 weeks). Smoking during pregnancy also causes death in early infancy (particularly from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), reduced lung function in childhood, and oral clefts (e.g. harelip) in infants.
  • Erectile dysfunction. Men who smoke increase their risk of impotence, and may have reduced semen volume, sperm count and sperm quality.
  • Tuberculosis disease and death.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Worsening asthma. Smokers with asthma have poorer asthma control, faster decline in lung function, more airway inflammation, and get less benefit from some asthma medications, compared to non-smokers with asthma.
    Smoking facts:

Every cigarette you smoke reduces your expected life span by 11 minutes

A single cigarette contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer
15 billion cigarettes are smoked worldwide every day
About 69% of smokers want to quit completely

The first European who learned to smoke from the natives was arrested back home because people thought he was possessed by the devil

Smoking near Apple computers voids the warranty
More than a third of the world’s smokers are Chinese
Tobacco addicts are most likely to consider quitting the habit on Mondays
Over 30% of cancer could be prevented by avoiding tobacco and alcohol, having a healthy diet and physical activity
Study after study has found that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
Freud never quit smoking despite having over 30 cancer surgeries because of it
Smoking makes your hair turn grey faster, a study found

The Chinese smoking population is higher than the entire population of the U.S
Smoking makes the risk of a heart attack 200% to 400% greater than that of non-smokers
Cigar and pipe smoking is every bit as dangerous as cigarette smoking, and possibly even more dangerous
In 2010, a 2-year-old boy from Indonesia, Ardi Rizal, made headlines for having a 40-a-day smoking habit
Even though the Hindenburg was inflated with 7 million cubic feet of highly flammable hydrogen gas, it had a smoking room

Roughly a third of the world’s adult population smokes
Smoking makes breasts sag faster than normal by breaking down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breast
The history of smoking can be dated to as early as 5000 BC, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world

Hitler led the first public anti-smoking campaign in modern history
One Hookah Tobacco Smoking Session Delivers 25 Times the Tar of a Single Cigarette

Preparing to quit:

Quitting smoking is like going into battle. For the best results, you need to plan your campaign carefully and prepare for the assault! The most effective way to quit smoking is with counselling to help break the smoking habit and medication to relieve the cravings for nicotine and withdrawal symptoms. The support and advice of a health professional has been shown to increase your chance of success.

Weigh up the pros and cons:

Write down the pros and cons in a list and see which way the balance tips. Is continuing to smoke worth it?

· Keep a smoking diary

· Stop smoking in the house or car

· Change your lifestyle

· Exercise

· Reduce caffeine

· What about alcohol?-Alcohol is a powerful trigger to smoke for many people.

· Get social support-Identify your ‘support team’, people in your life who can help you.

· Rewards

· Start your stop-smoking medication

· Set a Quit Day

Remember that there is no perfect time to quit