Just saying no to tobacco


It’s not news that tobacco is bad news. And yet, it still represents a significant health risk for people around the world.

Today is World No Tobacco Day—and a good time to remember why you should “just say no.”

Tobacco is the number one risk factor for cancer. Thirty percent of cancer deaths are a result of tobacco alone. In addition to lung cancer from smoking, tobacco use increases the risk of a number of other cancers. They include larynx, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum, and cervical cancers as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Even users of smokeless tobacco are at higher risk for cancer, specifically of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas.

There are a number of non-cancer related risks, particularly for smoking, as well. These include heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts. Smoking also exacerbates asthma in adults. And smokers are quicker to contract pneumonia, tuberculosis and other infections.

If you are currently a smoker, quitting reduces your risk of mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder cancer by half in five years and lung cancer by half after 10 years.