While many people know that smoking is bad for your health, most underestimate just how dangerous smoking is. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. This video discusses just how many people actually die from smoking every year.
“It’s only cigarette smoking. It’s not
like a crime punishable by death”
“So I failed in quitting smoking, big deal. I’m not going to feel guilty or be hard on myself. I mean, it is only cigarette smoking–it is not like a crime punishable by death.” I had to refrain from laughing at this statement. It was seriously quoted to me by a clinic participant who failed to abstain from smoking for even two days. She had the same old excuses of new job, family pressures, too many other changes going on.
But to say that cigarette smoking isn’t a crime punishable by death–that was news to me. According to the United Nations, tobacco kills 4.9 million users per year. While we know that these people were killed by tobacco, it is hard to classify these deaths. Were they murders, suicides or accidents?
When examining the influence of the tobacco industry, one is tempted to call all tobacco related deaths murder. The tobacco industry uses manipulative advertising trying to make smoking appear harmless, sexy, sophisticated, and adult. These tactics help manipulate adults and kids into experimenting with this highly addictive substance. The tobacco industry knows that if they can just get people started, they can hook them on cigarettes and milk them for thousands of dollars over the smokers’ lifetimes.
The tobacco institute always contradicts the research of all credible medical institutions that have unanimously stated that cigarettes are lethal. The tobacco institute tries to make people believe that all these attacks on cigarettes are lies. If the medical profession was going to mislead the public about cigarettes, it would be by minimizing the dangers, not exaggerating them. The medical profession has a vested interest in people continuing to smoke. After all, the more people smoke, the more work there is in treating serious and deadly diseases. But the medical profession recognizes its professional and moral obligation to help people be healthier. On the other hand, the tobacco industry’s only goal is to get people to smoke, no matter what the cost.
It could be argued that a smoking death is suicide. While the tobacco industry may dismiss the dangers, any smoker with even average intelligence knows that cigarettes are bad for health but continues to smoke anyway. But I do not believe in classifying most of the smoking deaths as suicidal. Although a smoker knows the risk and still doesn’t stop, it is not that he is trying to kill himself. He smokes because he doesn’t know how to stop.
A smoking related death is more accidental than suicidal. For while the smoker may die today, his death was in great part due to his first puffs twenty or more years ago. When he started smoking the dangers were unknown. Society made smoking acceptable, if not mandatory in certain groups. Not only did he not know the danger, but also he was unaware of the addictive nature of nicotine. So by the time the dangers were known, he was hooked into what he believed was a permanent way of life. Any smoker can quit, but unfortunately many don’t know how.
Whatever the classification–murder, suicide or accident–the end result is the same. You still have a chance, you are alive, and you know how to quit. Take advantage of this knowledge. Don’t become a smoking statistic – NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
© Joel Spitzer 1983
Premature deaths caused by smoking
Update to video “Premature deaths caused by smoking”
“It’s only cigarette smoking, it’s not like a crime punishable by death”
The real cigarette induced “roller coaster” ride
Consequences of smoking playlist
12. Consequences of Smoking
I often hear the comment that smoking is the “only” vice a person has left, like this somehow legitimizes smoking. “After all, I don’t do this and I don’t do that, all I do is smoke.”
If any person fully understands what the ramifications of smoking are he or she will quickly realize the foolishness of such a statement.. The fact is that smoking is responsible for more deaths than probably all of the vices that people are referring to when making such comments combined.
Below is a chart from 2006 showing the risks of dying from smoking compared to the risk of dying from other common problems. Many of these problems are caused from behaviors that are considered by some to be vices. Again, look at the numbers. If smoking is your only vice understand something. Your ONLY vice is destroying your health and if not dealt with will likely cause your premature death. The solution to your problem is not finding other vices either, it is simply getting rid of this one deadly addiction by sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!
Death by Smoking
Although the below chart was compiled primarily using 2006 United States, data, your nation’s overall death category percentages may be fairly similar.
Cause of Death
How to Prevent These Deaths
|AIDS||condoms, education, research||12,113|
|Asthma||no prevention, only treatment||3,613|
|Auto Accidents||seatbelts, airbags, highway safety, training||45,316|
|Bike Accidents||reflectors, lights, helmets and training||714|
|Breast Cancer||mammography and medical research||41,210|
|Drowning||life jackets, swimming lessons, supervision||3,579|
|Falls||awareness, safety harnesses and helmets||20,823|
|Fires & Burns||alarms, extinguishers, education and planning||3,109|
|Gun Accidents||deprive children of access and hunter training||642|
|Hepatitis||vaccine (A&B) and clean needles & testing (C)||7,250|
|Illegal/Legal Drugs||motivation, education and support||24,400|
|Leukemia||research, exercise, diet, and no tobacco||21,944|
|Lightening||stay indoors and wear rubber shoes||57|
|Liver Disease||sound diet, max. 2 oz. of alcohol, research||27,555|
|Murder||police, courts, prisons, awareness||18,573|
|Poisoning||secure cleaning fluids, poisons and pills||27,531|
|Prostate Cancer||testing, exercise, diet, research||28,372|
|Shark Attacks||awareness, education||1|
|Skin Cancer||limit sun exposure, use screening products||8,441|
|Snake Bites||awareness, boots, vaccines||5|
|Suicide||counseling, medication and love||33,300|
|Syphilis||abstinence, condoms, education||36|
|Tuberculosis||treatment, vaccine, education||652|
|Ulcers||avoid tobacco, alcohol and caffeine||3,323|
|TOTAL OF ALL OF THE ABOVE||397,479|
|SMOKING||TOTAL ANNUAL U.S. SMOKING DEATHS||443,000|