Smoking-The Orlando Times
Cigarette Smoking Is Not Good For Good Health
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
If nobody smoked, one in every three cancer deaths in the United States would not occur.
“The tobacco companies have perfected this product which contains nicotine, which has been proven to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine,” said Bethany Coz, Program Director, Tobacco Free Florida. “So even with a lot of the education about the health impacts, many of the tobacco users in Florida are highly addicted. There’s the psychological component and there’s the physical addiction.”
Smoking has been proven to cause serious health conditions. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers. It also harms nearly every organ of the body, which can translate into birth defects and a reduction in fertility.
Florida ranks 26 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia with a lung cancer incidence of 63.3 per 100,000 people.
The percentage of African-American men diagnosed with lung cancer each year is at least 30 percent higher than among white men despite similar smoking rates.
While African-American women are less likely to smoke than white women, they are about as likely to develop lung cancer and die from lung cancer as white women. African-Americans also tend to be diagnosed with lung cancer at a younger age.
Menthol cigarettes have long been marketed to the African-American community. These cigarettes are easier to smoke and harder to quit because the chemical compound ‘menthol’ creates a cooling effect, reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke and suppresses coughing. About 85 percent of all Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, a rate that is nearly three times higher than white smokers.
“These communities are highly targeted by tobacco industries. If you look at a city like Washington D.C and go to an African American neighborhood you will see 10x the amount of cigarette advertising,” said Eric Asche, CMO for the Truth Initiative.
The tobacco industry spends $9.1 billion per year marketing its products, which comes to $25 million per day, recruiting new smokers to replace the more than 1,300 smokers who die each day from tobacco-related death.
“Their business model requires them to find what they call ‘replacement’ smokers,” said Asche. “Their business models are built on this necessity to replace their customers because when they use their product the right way a third of them go on to die from using it.”
In fact, Florida received $1.586 billion (estimated) in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2018.
Significantly, the current statewide smoking rate is 15.5 percent. However, each county’s rate is different: Lake is 16.90, Osceola is 16.39, Seminole is 15.81, and Orange is 14.55.
According to a 2011 survey from the Center for Disease Control, in the state of Florida, it was revealed that males, those with a lower education level, and those in the age range of 25-64 rank the highest in percentage of smoking.
Causing more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Not to mention the risks of second-hand smoke, which causes more than 41,000 deaths per year. Causing or making worse a wide range of health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma.
There is hope though. One year after quitting smoking, the risk for a heart attack drops significantly. Within two to five years after quitting, risk for stroke could fall to about the same as a nonsmoker’s. Within five years, risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder drop by half. After ten years, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.
Tobacco Free Florida provides free and proven-effective resources that can increase your chances of quitting for good, including events such as last month’s The Great American Smokeout. The Quit Your Way program offers a 2-Week Starter Kit of nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine Text2Quit, Email Tips and a Quit Guide. More than 188,000 Floridians have successfully quit tobacco using Tobacco Free Florida’s free resources.
“One of the first things Tobacco Free Florida recommends is selecting a quit date, so having a plan. Most people who just go on a whim are less likely to be successful,” said Coz. “They can begin with little changes so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.”
Floridians can call the quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669). For more information visit www.truthinitiative.org, www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway.
Stay tuned next week for information about the dangers of e-cigarettes and its growing popularity with the youth.