The Air Force Medical Service is dedicated to the health and wellness of all our Service members and their families. Reducing the use of tobacco products is an essential strategy in improving the overall health of our total force. Raising awareness of the health effects of tobacco products is one step in our plan to reduce overall tobacco use. There are also many military and civilian programs that assist individuals who want to be tobacco free.
Adverse effects of tobacco use
It’s a fact that smoking and using smokeless tobacco products are harmful to the human body. Cancer of the lungs, mouth, and throat are the most common health conditions associated with smoking; however, every system in the body is affected. Health conditions that are associated with tobacco use can include:
- Poison found in cigarette smoke can cause cancer and weaken your body’s ability to fight disease
- Smoking can cause cancer anywhere in the body
- The most common form of cancer caused by smoking is lung cancer
- Nine out of ten cases of lung cancer are caused by cigarette smoking
- Smoking increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease
- Smoking is responsible for up to one-third of deaths due to cardiovascular disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- COPD refers to diseases that block airflow in the lungs, causing breathing problems
- Chronic bronchitis
- Smoking is the leading cause of COPD
- Smoking causes eight out of ten COPD-related deaths
Tobacco-free living is avoiding use of all types of tobacco products - including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipes and hookahs - and also living free from secondhand smoke exposure.
If you’re a smoker, the best way to prevent undesired health consequences is to quit smoking immediately. It takes time, but most of the damage caused by smoking can be resolved after quitting. The risk of a heart attack drops significantly after one year and, after two years, the chance of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Five years after quitting, the risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, and bladder cancer drops by 50 percent.
There are also many benefits to smoking cessation aside from preventing disease. Quitting makes it easier to breath, making physical activity easier and more enjoyable. Many people also report an improved sense of taste and smell after quitting smoking. It’s important to note that by choosing not to smoke, you are preventing your family, friends, and co-workers from being exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke.