The Facts
Health Impacts 

known for decades that tobacco use is bad for every organ in our bodies. Yet tobacco continues to kill 480,000 Americans each year – more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.

An additional 16 million people suffer from illnesses directly related to smoking. And people who have never used tobacco can still suffer from secondhand smoke.

Tobacco use of any kind, as well as exposure to tobacco smoke, increases your chance of suffering from:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco increases the of many types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), lung, stomach, pancreas, uterus, cervix, ovary, urinary bladder, colon/rectum, and kidney.
  • Compared to people who have never smoked, the risk of developing lung cancer is 23 times higher among male smokers and 13 times higher among female smokers. In Colorado alone, 1,195 people die each year from lung cancer attributed to smoking. 
  • Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic, and at least 70 of these chemicals cause cancer. 
  • Smokeless tobacco, such as chew, also causes cancer. These products are made up of various cancer-causing chemicals and greatly increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, and pancreas. 

Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers. 
  • Cigarette smoking doubles a person's risk of stroke.
  • Tobacco smoke narrows the blood vessels and reduces blood circulation, creating a higher risk of peripheral vascular disease.
Respiratory Health Issues
  • Smoking is attributed to more than 103,000 respiratory disease deaths each year in the United States alone; 1,529 are Coloradans.
  • 90 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema, are attributed to cigarette smoking.
  • Smoking cigarettes has been linked to a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from COPD.
Reproductive Health Issues
  • Smoking affects estrogen hormones in women, which can result in difficulty becoming pregnant and/or carrying a baby to term.
  • Smoking can increase a woman's risk for an ectopic pregnancy, a dangerous condition in which a fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb. 
  • Men also develop reproductive health problems from smoking. Studies show smoking damages the DNA in sperm and ultimately decreases fertility.  

Oral Health Issues
  • Using smokeless tobacco products greatly increases the chance of developing gum disease and painful gum recession.
  • 3 out of 4 daily users of smokeless tobacco develop leukoplakia, or white patches in the mouth that can be precancerous. 
  • Tooth and bone loss around the roots of a smokeless tobacco user's teeth are common after regular use. 
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