The Power of Nicotine
Many Americans with severe health problems continue to smoke!

January 2, 2002

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that 23.1% of the adults in the United States smoke. That's 46,400,000 people puffing away their health!

It's a fact that smoking is bad for our health, but many people continue to smoke despite this knowledge. Approximately 57% of the smokers surveyed continued to smoke even though their doctors told them to stop. Moreover, many smokers continued to puff away even if they had lung problems or other health disorders. Of the smokers surveyed by the AHRQ:

37.9% had emphysema
24.8% had asthma
20% had hypertension (high blood pressure) or cardiovascular problems
18.5% had diabetes.

These data point to the strength of nicotine addiction. Smokers may continue to smoke because they think the damage to their bodies is already done and that there is nothing they can do about. This belief is not true: the damage caused by smoking can be partially reversed. Research from Duke University and the American Cancer Society has shown that people who quit smoking at age 35 years can add 6.1 to 8.5 years to their lives. Even people who quit smoking later in life show benefits. A 65 year old who quits smoking is expected to gain 1.4 to 3.7 years of life.

It's never too late to stop smoking!

Reference and further information:

  1. Smoking Status of Adults - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  2. Taylor Jr., D.H., Hasselblad, V., Henley, S.J., Thun, M.J. and Sloan, F.A. Benefits of Smoking Cessation for Longevity, American Journal of Public Health, 92:990-996, 2002.
  3. Nicotine and the Brain - Neuroscience for Kids
  4. Cigarette Ads - A Promise Broken - Neuroscience for Kids

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