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All use of tobacco can have deadly consequences

Dr. James Surrell, Journal columnist

I have previously given you information on the very significant health dangers of both smoking and chewing tobacco.

As I see people continuing to smoke, and young people also using tobacco products, I believe it is time to again review the very significant life-threatening dangers of any tobacco use.

It is also very important for our personal health to be aware of the very real and significant dangers of being anywhere around second hand smoke. Let us now briefly review smoking tobacco, second hand smoke, and chewing tobacco. Please pass this information along to anyone who has made the choice to smoke or to chew tobacco, and to anyone who is frequently exposed to second hand smoke.

Smoking tobacco — Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which are considered toxic. It is known that there are at least 43 components in cigarette smoke that have been proven to cause cancer. All smokers need to know the following. A person who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day has a risk for the development of lung cancer that is 25 times higher than a nonsmoker. It is also known that cigar and pipe smoking also causes lung cancer, although the risk is not quite as high as from cigarette smoking, due to its lower frequency of use. However, this risk is also very real and very significant. Cigar and pipe smokers have a risk of lung cancer that is at least five times greater than that of a nonsmoker. It is very important to understand that the overall life expectancy of a smoker is 14 years less than a non-smoker.

Second hand smoke — Second hand smoke is defined as the exposure to tobacco smoke by nonsmokers who associate socially with smokers or share living or working quarters with smokers. It is now known that second hand smoke carries a significant risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Research has shown that nonsmokers who reside with a smoker have a 24% increase in risk for developing lung cancer when compared with nonsmokers who do not reside with a smoker. Be aware that thousands of the annual USA lung cancer deaths are caused by exposure to second hand smoke.

Chewing tobacco — Following is a brief review of how chewing tobacco can cause very serious health problems. Know that there are about 30 chemicals in chewing tobacco that have been proven to cause cancer. The most common deadly life-threatening “smokeless” tobacco cancers are oral cancers that include your mouth, cheeks, gums, lips, and tongue. Chewing tobacco also dramatically increases esophageal cancer in your throat, and also increases the risk of stomach and pancreatic cancer. Any of these many cancers caused from chewing tobacco can kill you and/or make your day-to-day life miserable. People who choose to continue chewing tobacco dramatically increase their risk of needing a surgeon to have to remove all or part of your tongue, your lips, or your throat. If you use chewing tobacco, you need to ask yourself if it is really worth exposing yourself to this very profound health risk.

Further, smoking tobacco, second hand smoke exposure, and also chewing tobacco will result in significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke. Chewing tobacco also causes increased serious mouth conditions also including inflammation of the gums and increased tooth decay and the loss of many teeth. Let me now close with this reminder. We all live by choice, not by chance. Therefore, to stay healthy, choose not to smoke tobacco, choose to avoid all second hand smoke, and choose not to chew tobacco. And yes, these are my “Doctor’s Orders”!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books.Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.

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