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Smoking Hurts Everyone

Many people think that the only people harmed by tobacco use are smokers who have smoked for a long time. The fact is that tobacco use can be harmful to everyone. This includes unborn babies and people who don't smoke.

If you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or use smokeless tobacco like chew and snuff, quit! It's the best thing you can do for yourself and for everyone around you.

Smoking Harms Infants & Children

When parents expose their children to smoke, or let others do so, they are putting their children's health in danger and sending a message that smoking is OK.

Secondhand smoke is the smoke a smoker breathes out. It's also the smoke that comes from the tip of lit cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. It contains about 4,000 different chemicals, many of which cause cancer. Because of exposure to secondhand smoke, about 3,400 nonsmokers die from lung cancer every year and 22,000 to 69,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease every year. Breathing in smoke can cause:

The best way to protect infants and children from smoke is to make your home and car smoke free all the time.

Smoking Harms Unborn Babies

Smoking during pregnancy or exposing pregnant women to smoke can lead to many serious health problems for an unborn baby, such as:

Smoking Harms Teens

Every day thousands of teens try smoking for the first time. About one third of them will die of a smoking-related disease. Other teen smokers may experience the same health problems as adult smokers, including:

  • Addiction to nicotine
  • Long-term cough
  • Faster heart rate
  • Lung problems
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Less stamina and endurance
  • Higher risk of lung cancer and other cancers
  • More respiratory infections
  • Bad breath
  • Yellow teeth
  • Yellow fingernails
  • Smelly hair and clothes
  • Skin wrinkles

Smoking Harms Adults

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. Think about the following facts. Every year in this country 438,000 people die from diseases related to smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking kills more people than alcohol, car crashes, suicide, AIDS, murder, and drugs combined.

Smoking causes 87% of lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading type of cancer in men and women. In addition to cancer, smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, chronic lung problems, and many other diseases.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated
The Risks of Tobacco Use (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 9/2012)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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