Take charge of your health and quit smoking

May 13 2010 - 4:28pm

The 1982 United States Surgeon General's report in 1982 stated that "cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality (death) in the United States." This statement is as true today as it was in 1982.

Smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use are acquired behaviors -- activities that people choose to do -- smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society.

About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year about 443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to cigarette smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined.

Cigarettes, cigars, and spit and pipe tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves, as well as ingredients added for flavor and other reasons. More than 4,000 different chemicals have been found in tobacco and tobacco smoke. Among these are more than 60 chemicals that are known to cause cancer (carcinogens).

There are hundreds of substances added to cigarettes by manufacturers to enhance the flavor or to make smoking more pleasant. Some of the compounds found in tobacco smoke include ammonia, tar, and carbon monoxide. Exactly what effects these substances have on the cigarette smoker's health is unknown, but there is no evidence that lowering the tar content of a cigarette lowers the health risk. Manufacturers do not usually give out information to the public about the additives used in cigarettes, so it is hard to know the health risks.

Take charge of your health and sign up for the tobacco cessation classes at the Health and Wellness Center. Team Hill federal employees will be offered 12 weeks of free tobacco cessation medication while attending classes. Funding is limited.

Call the Health and Wellness Center at (801) 777-1215 for further information.

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