Puffing yourself to death


By the time you finish reading this article, about 28 people will die from complications of cigarette smoking. It is estimated that seven people die every minute from tobacco related illnesses. Every cigarette smoked shortens a person’s life by 11 minutes. 


According to the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention an estimated 45.3 million people, or 19.3 percent of all adults in the United States smoke cigarettes.  


For many people smoking is just enjoyable, while others smoke cigarettes because their bodies are addicted to nicotine. Although smoking cigarettes may start as a way to have fun or look cool, it is possible that its results will cause death.


Tallahassee resident, Tavaris James, 24, is having a tough time with his smoking addiction.  He works full-time to support his family and said smoking helps him deal with stress.  


“I’ve been smoking since I was 17, and it just helps me relax through difficult times.”  James said he is worried about the long-term effects on his body and for that reason he wants to quit.


“I want to see my children grow old, and I don’t want cigarette smoking to ruin my life,” said James.


 More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. 


Sherene Moreland, a physician assistant at Capital Regional Medical Center said there is a growing concern for the younger generation in regards to tobacco use.  She said people between the ages of 17-years-old and 25-years-old are overlooking the long-term effects of their current decisions to use drugs.


“Young people, especially college students are playing with fire, putting themselves at great risk of a lifelong addiction to drugs.”  Moreland said. “I see patients everyday who are suffering from nicotine related diseases because of the careless choices they have made in their lives.” 


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths, or one in every five deaths each year.  About 3,000 people die from second hand smoking. Smokers put their families, friends, roommates, and children at risk. 


Smoking cessation is growing more popular in the Unites States.  Americans are realizing the negative impact smoking has had on the population.  In a growing number of countries, there are more ex-smokers than smokers.  Surprisingly many of those who have quit smoking have done so without any professional help or medical assistance.


Corie Young, a English graduate student from Jacksonville, said during his undergrad years he smoked over five times a day because and it helped him cope with the stress.


“It made me feel at peace.  It would calm me down in stressful situations,” said Young.


Young has recently quit smoking and is now focused on living a healthier lifestyle. 


 “I quit because I realized it wasn’t doing anything but negatively affecting my health.  I knew that the entire time, I just didn’t care before.”


 “I am so happy I quit smoking, best decision I’ve made thus far in my life” said Young.


If you or anyone you know is trying to quit smoking, you can receive free resources and assistance to quit by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or by visiting smokefree.gov