Think there are safe forms of tobacco? Think again.
While cigarette smoking has been on the decline, many alternative tobacco and nicotine delivery products have been gaining popularity. Many of these products are perceived to be safer substitutes for cigarettes. However, these products still pose serious health risks due to the chemicals and toxins they contain.
CIGARETTES and SECONDHAND SMOKE
Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. Many are poisonous, and at least 70 of them are known to cause cancer. These chemicals don’t just harm the smoker. Secondhand smoke is harmful for nonsmokers too. Cigarette smoke causes many chronic diseases and health issues including COPD, lung infections, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Also referred to as dip, snuff or chew, smokeless tobacco delivers nicotine to the bloodstream through the tissues in your mouth. Many believe that smokeless is a safer alternative to smoking, but that’s far from the truth. Smokeless contains many of the same toxic chemicals as cigarettes and three times the nicotine, making it harder to quit. It also causes a number of oral diseases including cancer.
A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke tobacco through cooled water. Hookah smoke contains considerably more tar and carbon monoxide than cigarettes. Smoking tobacco through water does not filter out toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. It can damage the lungs and heart just as much as cigarette smoke. Secondhand hookah smoke is just as dangerous to nonsmokers as secondhand cigarette smoke.
VAPING & E-CIGARETTES
Vaping and e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular and accessible in Oklahoma. These battery-powered devices heat a nicotine-infused liquid to produce vapor for inhalation. While long-term effects have yet to be determined, there are a few things we know for sure. The vapor produced is a toxic aerosol that contains cancer-causing substances as well as nicotine — a tobacco-derived product. Much like secondhand smoke, secondhand vapor can cause respiratory irritations, an increased risk of asthma and other adverse health effects.
No matter what form it takes, tobacco products are dangerous. To learn more about the negative effects and impacts of tobacco products, visit StopsWithMe.com.
If you or a loved one is trying to quit any form of tobacco, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides FREE nonjudgmental support, as well as tobacco-cessation resources and tips to help you quit. Plus, it’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit OKhelpline.com to learn more.