Monday, December 18, 2017
 

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Cancer

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Where There’s Smoke, There’s Cancer

Smoke usually rises, but smoking has actually been falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 36.5 million adult Americans smoked cigarettes, which is down from 45.1 million in 2005. That being said, in an article in The Washington Post titled, “Smoking declines dramatically but linked to 40 percent of cancer cases,” smoking-related cancer still accounts for 40 percent of all cancer diagnoses.

While every adult is free to make their own decisions regarding their health -- even bad decisions such as smoking, eating fatty or sugary foods, or not exercising -- they should be given the facts regarding the consequences. When it comes to smoking cigarettes, the consequences are usually dire.

Of those smokers who are then diagnosed with cancer that’s been caused by smoking, data shows that more than half will die. From 2009 to 2013, the CDC noted that 660,000 people were diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer and 340,000 of those people died from it. That’s a staggering statistic that should not be ignored.

Furthermore, in another Washington Post article titled, “Forget those occasional cigarettes: There is no safe smoking level,” even people who smoke fewer than one cigarette a day, on average, have an increased risk of an early death compared to non-smokers. A study by the National Cancer Institute showed that the risk of an early death for these one-cigarette-per-day people rose 64 percent. If you smoke one to 10 cigarettes a day, then your risk of an early death increased to 87 percent. I’m not a gambling man, but I would consider that high a percentage to be an almost certainty.

Of course, some groups of adults smoke more than others. According to the first Washington Post article referenced, men, especially African American men, had the smallest decline in smoking along with people who didn’t graduate high school or are over age 65. The good news from all of this is that the number of people smoking continues to drop.

This issue should not be ignored and employers should offer smoking cessation help to employees who want to quit. After all, smoking is an addiction and it’s not easy to stop, but reducing the risk of cancer should be the goal of any individual.

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