Day 131 of 365

Second hand smoke causes far more problems than most people realize. I am a child of former smokers. My mom only smoked for maybe 2 years but my dad smoked until right before his life was taken by non-small cell lung cancer in 1998.

As a child I suffered from repetitive ear aches, there is scar tissue in my left ear to prove it.  Every year I suffer from horrible sinus infections and today is no exception. I am having extreme dizzy spells which we believe is being caused by my ear being clogged, which in turn is causing an unbalance in my equilibrium.

So why am I bringing all of this up? Because I know living in the house with a smoker caused these problems for me. If they caused this for me, imagine all of the others that second hand smoke has effected.

Here are some facts about lung cancer from the National Cancer Society:

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • Lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in our society. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • Lung cancer estimates for 2012 (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012):
  • New cases of lung cancer: 226,160
    Males: 116,470
    Females: 109,690
  • Deaths from lung cancer: 160,340
    Males: 87,750
    Females: 72,590
  • Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nasal cavity (nose) and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (mucinous), and acute myeloid leukemia. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths; this equals about 443,000 early deaths each year. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths and 80% of lung cancer deaths. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • Cigarette use has had a dramatic decline since the release of the first US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health in 1964. Even so, about 22% of men and 17% of women still smoked cigarettes in 2010, with almost 80% of these people smoking daily. (Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 9/10/10)
  • Cigarette smoking among adults age 18 and older went down 50% between 1965 and 2009 – from 42% to 21% – but nearly 47 million Americans still smoke. (Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 9/10/10)
  • Cigars contain many of the same carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) found in cigarettes. Between 1997 and 2007, sales of little cigars had increased by 240%, while large cigar sales decreased by 6%. Cigar smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus (swallowing tube), and probably the pancreas. (Source:Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • Little cigars are about the same size and shape as cigarettes, come in packs of 20, but unlike cigarettes, they can be candy or fruit flavored. In most states, they cost much less than cigarettes, making them affordable to youth. A 2009 CDC survey found that about 27% of 12th grade boys and about 10% of the 12th grade girls had smoked cigars in the past 30 days. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011; CDC Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary, 6/4/10)
  • In 1997, nearly half (48%) of male high school students and more than one-third (36%) of female students reported using some form of tobacco – cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco products – in the past month. The percentages went down to 30% for male students and 22% for female students in 2009. But among 12th graders, 40% of the boys and 26% of the girls had used tobacco in the past month. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2010; CDC Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary, 6/4/10)
  • Each year, about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke. Each year secondhand smoke also causes about 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
  • Among adults age 18 and older, national data from 2009 showed 7% of men and less than 1% of women were current users of smokeless tobacco. Nationwide, about 15% of US male high school students and more than 2% of female high school students were using chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip in 2009. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011; CDC Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary, 6/4/10)
  • Between 2000 and 2004, smoking caused more than $193 billion in annual health-related costs in the United States, including smoking-attributable medical costs and productivity losses. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)

If these aren't reason enough to quit smoking than look at the little faces around you, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews or grandchildren, aren't they worth it? I have heard all kinds of excuses from friends and family, that they do OK for a few months, but then all of the sudden they get irritable and mean, but just 20 minutes after quiting your body begins the healing process, so whatever side effects there are months after your last cigarette isn't the cigarettes anymore. 

I'd be a liar if I said I never tried smoking, because I did but it was as an adult and it was over the course of a weekend years ago and that is it. I can also see how one becomes addicted. I am so thankful that my BFF quit smoking and has continued to be successful. I pray daily for my brother to really want to quit to better his health and not follow our dad down the same road. I love you big brother....

Love, peace and a healthy heart and lungs

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