Smoking tobacco cigarettes is an addictive habit and causes serious long term health problems. Many habitual smokers understand the health dangers of smoking and often attempt to give up without success because the process can be very difficult and stressful. However, research indicates that the long term effects of smoking can have serious implications on the health of the smoker and those who are in regular proximity to their tobacco smoke.
Health profesionals encourage smokers to actively seek strategies to quit the smoking habit and Queensland Health has a range of information, support, and ideas on options to help smokers quit.
USC has stringent smoking policies and it is in the interest of all smokers to become familiar with these campus rules.
Negative effects of smoking
Tobacco smoking is the single greatest cause of death and disease in Australia. According to health surveys tobacco use causes around 19,000 deaths and 142,500 hospital episodes annually.
Tobacco use reduces life expectancy and quality of life and many smoking related medical conditions can result in years of living with disabling health problems.
Smoking is a key risk factor in the development of the three conditions that cause most deaths in Australia:
- heart disease
- lung cancer
Smoking is responsible for around 80% of all lung cancer deaths and 20% of all cancer deaths and has been linked to a wide variety of cancers including cancers of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach and cervix.
Smokers are also at increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and reduced lung function. Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for both mother and child. Tobacco use has also been linked to a variety of other conditions such as diabetes, peptic ulcers, some vision problems, and back pain.
Smoke produced by burning tobacco products or exhaled by a smoker is known as second-hand tobacco smoke and when this smoke is inhaled by others it is referred to as involuntary smoking or passive smoking. Research has found that non-smokers who live with a smoker have a 25%-30% greater risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who live in a smoke-free environment.
Pregnancy and smoking
Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy can reduce the growth and health of babies and increase the risks of a number of complications and illness for both mother and baby. Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy have a greater chance of premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth and infant mortality. Smoking during pregnancy can also affect the development of baby’s lungs, which increases the risk for many health problems.
- Twelve hours after stopping smoking, almost all nicotine is out of your system with most by-products gone within five days.
- After 24 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped dramatically, meaning your body can take and use oxygen more efficiently.
- After two days, your taste and smell start to return.
- After two months, blood flow to your hands and feet improves.
- After three months, your lungs’ cleansing mechanisms will have completely recovered.
- After one year, there is a rapid decline in your risk of heart disease.
- After five years, your risk of stroke is the same as a similar aged person who has never smoked.
- After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is reduced by half.
- After 15 years, your risk of heart disease will be almost the same as someone who has never smoked.
Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding things a person can do. Most smokers say they would like to quit, and may have tried at least once. Some are successful the first time, but many try a number of times before they finally give up for good.