Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. Each year, cigarettes claim the lives of more than 480,000 Americans. And while many smokers are aware of the risks associated with their habit, they may not realize just how harmful smoking really is to their bodies.
Smoking damages nearly every organ in the body. The chemicals in tobacco smoke cause everything from cancer to stroke, and even secondhand smoke is dangerous. In fact, just being exposed to secondhand smoke increases your risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. And smokers are not just putting their own health at risk; they are also harming those around them. Smoke from cigarettes contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. Secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for approximately 41,000 deaths each year, and children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems.
Smokers often think they can offset the risks of smoking by exercising or eating healthy foods, but there is no safe way to smoke cigarettes. The best way to protect your health is to quit smoking for good.