Medical Implications of Smoking

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 17th, 2002, 9:28 pm #11

Last edited by John (Gold) on July 7th, 2009, 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Starlite NC
Starlite NC

January 18th, 2002, 2:06 am #12

Another medical complication is with any one who has had back or neck fusions..
Take it from someone who knows the risk and the complications.. In 1984 I had to have my first back surgery with a fusion and in just 2 short years the fusion had deteriorated to the point that there was no fusion left.. and 90% of the reason this happened is from my smoking... So once again in 86 I had to have a second surgery, with more fusions in more places.. and I did wise up for a short time and stop smoking for 2 years but using excues I went right back to smoking once again when I had to have a neck surgery this time...
This pattern went on for a long time, mostly with me smoking away.. Now after 3 back surgeries and 3 neck surgeries and really no where to go now but live with Pain meds and the outlook of more surgeries,, What I should had done YEARS AGO AND STAYED WITH IT.... I am ready to never take a Puff again....
The part that makes me the madess is I was well equiped with the knowlage and choose not to use it...
Six days, 12 hours, 7 minutes and 47 seconds. 234 cigarettes not smoked, saving $20.96. Life saved: 19 hours, 30 minutes.


February 6th, 2002, 8:14 pm #13

As Sisyphus pointed out today--this is serious. Quitting is truly a fight for your Freedom from and active nicotine addiction, your health and your very life. For anyone ever doubting the importance of this fight, refer to the post in the Srings that illustrate the damage from smoking. They can make the importance of qutting picture clear. To keep this quit going and eliminate the risk of losing a battle that can cost you your life always remember to never take another puff!



July 24th, 2002, 8:49 pm #14

Joel Sent: 6/20/2002 7:54 AM        Smoking's Impact on the Lungs

I see all the links in the post above no longer work. Here is an updated version that should work for six months or so, until the next update:

I have a number of strings now that are starting to build a real profile of the dangers posed by cigarette smoking. I am going to use this string to keep them all together so as to be able to bring them up for all new members and lurkers. Also I will attach the links to articles specifically on the dangers of smoking.

Most of what we do at the site is help people in understanding the nicotine addiction and how to treat it. The posts referred to in this string are not really indicative of that specific support supplied here at Freedom, and are more for the reinforcing ones ammunition of why they should quit and stay off smoking. But if people come across this section first, please continue reading other stings here throughout the Freedom board for the vast majority of the activity here at Freedom are not about the dangers of smoking but more importantly on the benefits of quitting and the joy of being an ex-smoker.

Pictorial stings:
Last edited by Joel on April 8th, 2011, 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 30th, 2004, 6:53 am #15

As shown by the below list of fairly recent articles, aside from the combined harms inflicted by the 4,000 other chemicals generated when a cigarette burns, nicotine itself -- regardless of delivery device -- is under the gun lately as a pretty destructive chemical in its own right.
National Institute for Health and Medical Research, Paris - May 2002

University of Minnesota Cancer Center - November 2000

Stanford University School of Medicine - July 2001

Causes Hardening of Arteries - Atherosclerosis
Stanford University School of Medicine - July 2001

Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati - Nov. 2000


November 18th, 2004, 3:29 am #16

From an American Cancer Society press release from early this year:

More Cancers Linked to Smoking
Leukemia, Cervix, Pancreas, Stomach, and Kidney Cancer Cited in Report
Five new cancers and four other serious diseases have been added to the list of health problems caused by tobacco.

In the 2004 report, "The Health Consequences of Smoking," the US Surgeon General announced that smoking has been conclusively linked for the first time to acute myeloid leukemia, and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas, and stomach. Smoking is now also known to cause pneumonia, abdominal aortic aneurysm, cataracts, and a serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.

"We've known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this report shows that it's even worse than we knew," said Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD. "The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows."

Nearly Every Organ Harmed

Indeed, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, the report said, damaging a smoker's overall health even when it doesn't cause a specific illness.

Smoking has been linked to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases since 1964, when the first Surgeon General's report on smoking was released. Since that time, the list of tobacco-related illnesses has expanded to include mouth, throat, bladder, and other cancers, as well as heart disease, the top killer of American men and women.

The new report confirms that smoking kills about 440,000 Americans each year and drains $157 billion in medical costs and lost productivity.

Those staggering figures make the fight against tobacco all the more important, said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

"We need to cut smoking in this country and around the world," he said. "If we are going to be serious about improving health and preventing disease we must continue to drive down tobacco use, and we must prevent our youth from taking up this dangerous habit."

Quitting Instantly Helpful

The report notes that quitting smoking has immediate health benefits.

"Within minutes and hours after smokers inhale that last cigarette, their bodies begin a series of changes that continue for years," Carmona said. Circulation improves and heart rate drops, reducing the risk of heart attack. Quitting can also reduce a smoker's chance of developing cancer.

But the report warned that trading in regular cigarettes for "light" or "low tar" brands won't have any health benefits. Previous studies have determined that smokers who choose these seemingly less harmful brands actually inhale just as many harmful chemicals as smokers of regular cigarettes, because they tend to inhale deeper and hold the smoke in their lungs longer.


November 26th, 2008, 1:04 pm #17

If you are off cigarettes now, stay off
When things get rough and you feel like you want a cigarette, just take it one day at a time.
You can always go out and buy cigarettes tomorrow. You cannot go out and buy health.
I guess that is why it is said that "The best things in life are free."
(Taken from Joel's original message)

Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

January 24th, 2013, 3:13 pm #18

21st-Century Hazards of Smoking and
Benefits of Cessation in the United States
Prabhat Jha, M.D., Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, M.Sc., Victoria Landsman, Ph.D., Brian Rostron, Ph.D., Michael Thun, M.D., Robert N. Anderson, Ph.D., Tim McAfee, M.D., and Richard Peto, F.R.S.

New England Journal of Medicine 2013; 368:341-350January 24, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1211128


Background Extrapolation from studies in the 1980s suggests that smoking causes 25% of deaths among women and men 35 to 69 years of age in the United States. Nationally representative measurements of the current risks of smoking and the benefits of cessation at various ages are unavailable.

Methods We obtained smoking and smoking-cessation histories from 113,752 women and 88,496 men 25 years of age or older who were interviewed between 1997 and 2004 in the U.S. National Health Interview Survey and related these data to the causes of deaths that occurred by December 31, 2006 (8236 deaths in women and 7479 in men). Hazard ratios for death among current smokers, as compared with those who had never smoked, were adjusted for age, educational level, adiposity, and alcohol consumption.

Results For participants who were 25 to 79 years of age, the rate of death from any cause among current smokers was about three times that among those who had never smoked (hazard ratio for women, 3.0; 99% confidence interval [CI], 2.7 to 3.3; hazard ratio for men, 2.8; 99% CI, 2.4 to 3.1). Most of the excess mortality among smokers was due to neoplastic, vascular, respiratory, and other diseases that can be caused by smoking. The probability of surviving from 25 to 79 years of age was about twice as great in those who had never smoked as in current smokers (70% vs. 38% among women and 61% vs. 26% among men). Life expectancy was shortened by more than 10 years among the current smokers, as compared with those who had never smoked. Adults who had quit smoking at 25 to 34, 35 to 44, or 45 to 54 years of age gained about 10, 9, and 6 years of life, respectively, as compared with those who continued to smoke.

Conclusions Smokers lose at least one decade of life expectancy, as compared with those who have never smoked. Cessation before the age of 40 years reduces the risk of death associated with continued smoking by about 90%.
Copyright © 2013 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.

Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

January 23rd, 2014, 1:07 pm #19

Beyond statistics: the hidden
face of smoking-related cancer The Russian dictator Joseph Stalin infamously said that a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. And in tobacco control, there are statistics to die for. Tobacco caused about 100 million deaths last century. But a projected one billion people will die from tobacco-caused disease this century if present trends continue.

The average smoker takes 12.7 puffs per cigarette. A person who starts smoking at age 15, and smokes 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years, will baste the delicate pink linings of their mouth, throat and lungs with a cocktail of 69 carcinogens 3,710,940 times by the time they reach just 55.

Half of long-term smokers die early from a tobacco caused disease, taking an average of ten years off the normal life expectancy. A cigarette takes about six minutes to smoke. So for every cigarette that a person like former Beatle George Harrison – who died from lung cancer at 58 – smoked, they lost more than five times the time it took to smoke them, off the end of their life.

On and on it goes, but statistics on tobacco deaths have become banal for many. People rationalise that life’s a jungle of risks, that feeling fine or seeing longevity in a smoking relative means that they are bullet-proof, and cling to self-exempting beliefs like air pollution causes most lung cancer or that putting on some weight if they quit is more dangerous than smoking.

What is so often missing from these reflections about smoking is any real appreciation of the suffering and greatly diminished quality of life or the years that people can spend living with smoking caused disease.

On many occasions across my career I’ve received unsolicited letters, calls and email from people living with tobacco caused disease. Two in particular stand out.

An articulate 52 year old woman called me a few years ago. Give the “smoking kills” line a rest, she urged:
I’ve smoked for thirty years. I have emphysema. I am virtually housebound. I get exhausted walking more than a few metres. I have urinary incontinence, and because I can’t move quickly to the toilet, I wet myself and smell.

I can’t bear the embarrassment, so I stay isolated at home. Smoking has ruined my life. You should start telling people about the living **** smoking causes while you’re still alive, not just that it kills you.
Then last week, amid publicity on the 50th anniversary of the first historic United States Surgeon General’s report on smoking, an amazingly brave woman, Karen Daniels, wrote to me. Her words moved me to tears and with her permission, you can read them below.

Smoking tobacco causes around 70% of oral and pharyngeal cancers in men, and around 55% in women. In Australia in 2009, 3031 Australian were diagnosed with various head and neck cancers, and in 2010, 1,045 died.

Karen’s story

Karen Daniels: amazingly brave.
This cancer is brutal! Treatments are cruel! Daily for six to eight weeks during radiotherapy treatments our head and face is covered with a tight mask and bolted to a slab while radiotherapy is blasted at our mouth teeth jaw face and neck. Damage during and after this treatment is horrendous. Many of us will never speak clearly, swallow or function normally again.

Patients endure tracheotomies inserted in their wind pipe because we cannot breath naturally through our mouth and nose due to swelling and other side effects.

Many people are left with PEG feeding tubes shoved in their stomach for the rest of their lives because they will never swallow normal food via their mouth again. I had a PEG tube for three and a half years. A tube hanging from our stomach is sickening and depressing. Think about never eating another meal or swallowing again! You can’t imagine the never ending physical and emotional **** this particular disease causes.

I was diagnosed in 2007 at 46 years of age. Yes, I smoked for several years. I have endured 12 surgeries since 2007 trying to improve my quality of life.

Almost all my entire tongue, lower jaw, gums and beautiful teeth have been removed and reconstructed because of treatments to remove cancer. Bone was taken from my hip to reconstruct my jaw. Normal function is gone… Permanently. My perfect face is now disfigured.

I have not sat down to a normal meal with friends or family in almost seven years. Those pleasures of socialising, eating at restaurants and dinner parties that everyone regularly attends are history for us. I struggle to control saliva because of oral cavity nerve damage and facial trauma. Sometimes I dribble when I try to speak. I will never kiss again.

My life has been destroyed by this cancer, as has many other wonderful people around Australia. We lose our careers. Relationships fall apart.

We can’t make appointments over the telephone or ask for something over a counter. No one can understand us! We write down questions during appointments because we can’t speak and Doctors don’t understand what we’re saying. That doesn’t work! This is frustrating, humiliating and extremely upsetting.

The aftermath from this disease is debilitating and permanent. Dental issues are painful and relentless, yet the previous Federal Government abolished the Enhanced Care Dental Scheme. This is shameful!

We can’t just pick-up from where we left off. We can’t “do coffee” with friends and chat about our issues like most other cancer patients because we can’t speak or drink as normal. We can’t cover our mouth with a piece of clothing and get on with it. Our face is our identity!

Many smokers say things like “oh well, I’m going to die anyway” or “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow”. Well, from my experience I can honestly say dying immediately would be much easier than the long slow suffering this disease puts patients through. In 2007 while in hospital I had a cardiac arrest because the tracheotomy blocked. Once resuscitated, little did I know I had years and years of pain, ongoing treatments and loss of normal function ahead of me! It’s devastating!

My lower face and mouth has been cut and shut many times. My neck/throat has been dissected twice ear to ear. It’s been a long difficult road! I’ve undergone six surgeries in the past three years trying to improve mouth function and facial appearance. More than likely there’s a few more down the track. I have a wonderful plastic surgeon who genuinely cares!

Karen’s hopes are for more resources to be given to care and support for people like herself. I hope her story stimulates far greater attention to some of the cancers like hers that do not enjoy the publicity of some of the higher profile cancers.

But with so much potential for head and neck cancers to be prevented, I hope too that her unforgettable words will be passed along to anyone still smoking.

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