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What are the major diseases caused by smoking?

Lung cancer tops the list of killer diseases caused by smoking. Fully 87% of all deaths by cancer are attributed to lung cancer and cigarette smoking is by far the number one cause of lung cancer.

And it's not just lung cancer.

There are plenty of other very serious health problems that have smoking as a root cause. Tobacco has been implicated as the culprit in diseases such as bladder cancer, cervical cancer, cancer of the kidneys and several other kinds of health issues.

Here is a partial list of diseases caused by smoking.

  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Cancer of the larynx
  • Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx
  • Bladder cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cervical cancer
As you can see, there are plenty of diseases whose causes can be traced back to the habit of inhaling cigarette smoke.

What is it that makes tobacco smoke so harmful to human beings?

It is estimated that there are almost 4000 chemical agents present in tobacco smoke. This includes approximately 60 chemicals that are known to be carcinogens -- cancer causing substances. Cigarette smoke is quite a deadly cocktail.

Apart from that, tobacco smoke contains highly toxic substances like lead, carbon monoxide, arsenic (!), tar, etc. Each of these substances can cause significant harm to the human body.

Most of the major organs of the body are harmed in one way or another by smoking. Apart from causing the various cancers listed above, cigarette smoking greatly enhances the chances of developing, heart disease, respiratory illnesses and stroke.

The risk goes up with the length of time for which the person has been a smoker, the number of cigarettes smoked, the size of each puff, the frequency of each puff, the extent of the person's exposure to second-hand smoke, etc. The risk also increases if the person started the smoking habit at an earlier age.

Researchers conclude that stopping smoking does offer health benefits. It is estimated that a person who stops smoking before age 50 has only half the chance of developing diseases caused by smoking over the next 15 years as compared to someone who continues to smoke.

Someone who stops smoking cuts down his chances of developing chronic lung diseases, various cancers, strokes, heart attacks and other illnesses. Quitting the habit earlier enhances the health benefits. It should be noted that smoking so-called low-yield / low tar & nicotine cigarettes does not offer any clear benefits over smoking normal cigarettes. It is better by far to stop smoking altogether.

Nor are the risks limited to those who smoke. People who do not themselves smoke but are exposed to second hand smoke from others are at significantly increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses, lung cancer and other cancers. They also have higher probabilities of developing other problems like heart diseases. Exposure to smoke let off by others is often referred to as passive smoking. It is formally known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). There is enough evidence to show that ETS causes cancer.

The seriousness of the diseases caused by smoking makes is critical that the habit be kicked as soon as possible. Many countries have various Governmental and non-profit agencies that can assist people to quit smoking.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Ten facts about lung cancer
Lung cancer survival rate
What causes lung cancer?

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