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Today is the Great American Smoke-Out!

If you don't smoke, great!  If you do:  can you make it through just one day without a cigarette?  Today is the American Cancer Society's  27th annual "Great American Smoke-Out".  Like any day, it's a great day to quit.  Unlike most other days, there will be a concentrated effort among other smokers to join you, and among non-smokers to support you. 

The Great American Smokeout has helped to spotlight the dangers of tobacco use and the challenges of quitting, but more importantly, it has set the stage for the cultural revolution in tobacco that has occurred over this period.

Because of the efforts of individuals and groups that have led anti-tobacco efforts, there have been significant landmarks in the areas of research, policy and the environment.

Despite the abundance of information about the health risks and societal unacceptability of smoking, an estimated 47 million adults in the United States still smoke.  Approximately half of them will die prematurely from smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women, and this year alone, there will be about 169,500 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. More than 80 percent of lung cancers are believed to result from smoking.

For women, smoking is particularly dangerous.  

  • Women who smoke during pregnancy have babies that weigh, on average, 7 ounces less than babies of nonsmoking mothers.  These babies show nicotine levels in their blood equal to adult levels. . .and they go through nicotine withdrawal in their first days of life.
  • Mothers who smoke have children with significantly higher rates of ear infections, even when the mothers report that they "never" smoke in front of the child.
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) occurs more often in babies of smoking moms.
  • Women who smoke are twice as likely to lose their vision, even after they quit.
  • Women who smoke are 4 times as likely to have serious side effects from birth control pills.

Does this mean that women who smoke shouldn't take birth control pills?  No-it means that women who smoke should stop.

Created: 11/20/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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