The Slow Killer
As smokers, we learn early on to put up a mental wall of denial between our smoking habit and the harsh reality of the damage we’re inflicting on ourselves with every cigarette smoked.
We tell ourselves lies that allow us smoke with some level of comfort. We say we have time to quit…that cancer doesn’t run in our family…that we can quit any time we want to…that the bad things happen to other people. And because smoking is typically a slow killer, those lies support the framework of our wall of denial for years and years.
Eventually though, most smokers find that the wall begins to crumble, and bit by bit, smoking becomes a fearful, anxious activity. This is when most smokers start seriously thinking about how they might find a way to quit smoking for good.
A crucial step in the recovery process from nicotine addiction involves breaking through that wall of denial to put smoking in the proper light. We need to learn to see our cigarettes not as the friend or buddy we can’t live without, but as the horrific killers they truly are.
Over 4000 chemical compounds are created by burning a cigarette, many of which are toxic and/or carcinogenic. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia are all present in cigarette smoke. Forty-three known carcinogens are in mainstream smoke, sidestream smoke, or both.
It’s chilling to think about not only how smokers poison themselves, but what others are exposed to by breathing in the secondhand smoke. The next time you’re missing your old buddy, the cigarette, take a good long look at this list and see them for what they are: a delivery system for toxic chemicals and carcinogens.
Cigarettes offer people only a multitude of smoking-related diseases
If you’re thinking that it’s time to quit smoking, or have just quit and need some motivation to keep going, use the smoking facts below to fuel the fire in your belly that will help you beat your smoking habit, once and for all.
Smoking Facts and Tobacco Statistics
1) There are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today, and if current trends continue, that number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by the year 2025.
2) China is home to 300 million smokers who consume approximately 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year, or 3 million cigarettes a minute.
3) Worldwide, approximately 10 million cigarettes are purchased a minute, 15 billion are sold each day, and upwards of 5 trillion are produced and used on an annual basis.
4) Five trillion cigarette filters weigh approximately 2 billion pounds.
5) It’s estimated that trillions of filters, filled with toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke, make their way into our environment as discarded waste yearly.
6) While they may look like white cotton, cigarette filters are made of very thin fibers of a plastic called cellulose acetate. A cigarette filter can take between 18 months and 10 years to decompose.
7) A typical manufactured cigarette contains approximately 8 or 9 milligrams of nicotine, while the nicotine content of a cigar is 100 to 200 milligrams, with some as high as 400 milligrams.
8) There is enough nicotine in four or five cigarettes to kill an average adult if ingested whole. Most smokers take in only one or two milligrams of nicotine per cigarette however, with the remainder being burned off.
9) Ambergris, otherwise known as whale vomit is one of the hundreds of possible additives used in manufactured cigarettes.
10) Benzene is a known cause of acute myeloid leukemia, and cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure. Among U.S. smokers, 90 percent of benzene exposures come from cigarettes.
11) Radioactive lead and polonium are both present in low levels in cigarette smoke.
12) Hydrogen cyanide, one of the toxic byproducts present in cigarette smoke, was used as a genocidal chemical agent during World War II.
13) Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemical compounds, 11 of which are known to be Group 1 Carcinogen
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If you’re a smoker wishing you could quit, make your mind up to dig your heels in and do the work necessary to get this monkey off your back now.
You’ll never regret it.
14) The smoke from a smoldering cigarette often contains higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke than exhaled smoke does.
15) Kids are still picking up smoking at the alarming rate of 3,000 a day in the U.S., and 80,000 to 100,000 a day worldwide.
16) Worldwide, one in five teens age 13 to 15 smoke cigarettes.
17) Approximately one quarter of the youth alive in the Western Pacific Region (East Asia and the Pacific) today will die from tobacco use.
18) Half of all long-term smokers will die a tobacco-related death.
19) Every eight seconds, a human life is lost to tobacco use somewhere in the world. That translates to approximately 5 million deaths annually.
20) Tobacco use is expected to claim one billion lives this century unless serious anti-smoking efforts are made on a global level.
Tobacco offers us a life of slavery, a host of chronic, debilitating illnesses and ultimately death.
And think about it: We pay big bucks for those “benefits.” Sad, but true.
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More commonly referred to as whale vomit, ambergris is one of the hundreds of possible additives used in cigarettes. Ambergris is a fatty, waxy substance that forms in the intestines of the sperm whale. Lumps of ambergris often have the hard beaks of squid and cuttlefish buried within, so it’s suspected that it acts as a vehicle for the expulsion of undigestible bits of what these whales eat.
Benzene is present in cigarette smoke and accounts for half of all human exposure to this health hazard. While definitive conclusions have not yet been drawn, it is generally thought that smokers face an increased risk of leukemia over their nonsmoking counterparts
When the ingredients in cigarettes are burned, they produce a whole host of chemical compounds, many of which are poisonous and/or carcinogenic.
Larger amounts may cause:
- irregular heartbeats
- rapid death
Generally, the more serious the exposure, the more severe the symptoms. Similar symptoms may be produced when solutions of cyanide are ingested or come in contact with the skin.
Treatment for hydrogen cyanide poisoning includes breathing pure oxygen, and in the case of serious symptoms, treatment with specific cyanide antidotes. Persons with serious symptoms will need to be hospitalized.
Group 1 Carcinogen
A carcinogen is defined as any substance that can cause or aggravate cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer assigns carcinogens a rating by grouping them into one the following five standard classifications:
- Group 1: The agent is carcinogenic to humans.
- Group 2A: The agent is probably carcinogenic to humans.
- Group 2B: The agent is possibly carcinogenic to humans.
- Group 3: The agent is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.
- Group 4: The agent is probably not carcinogenic to humans.
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