An in-depth report on the health risks of smoking and how to quit.
- Smokers lose 10 years of life on average from smoking-related illness.
- About 17% of adults in the United States, smoke.
- Heavy smoking (pack a day) has been on the decline over the past few decades. Smoking cessation programs and smoke-free environments have played a role in the decline.
- Despite this progress, as of 2014, about 7% of people who smoke consumed 30 or more cigarettes a day.
- Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning smoking in restaurants, bars, and/or workplaces.
- In addition to lung and circulatory damage, smoking is associated with several negative health outcomes, including poor pregnancy outcomes (such as birth defects), lower survival rates after diagnosis from prostate cancer, and Alzheimer disease later in life.
- Quitting smoking can prevent or reverse many smoking-related illnesses.
- Specially tailored online provider programs (WeBREATHe) can encourage clinicians to discuss smoking with children and adolescents.
- Pediatric counseling and interventions are key to stopping smoking before it starts.
- Workplace interventions can help, whether administered through the workplace or other organizations.
- Interventions that combine medication with behavioral counseling (at least 4 to 8 sessions) are more effective than brief advice or usual care.
- Quitting smoking significantly lowers the risk of surgical complications, including heart problems, lung problems, and poor wound or bone healing. Smoking cessation interventions during the 1 to 2 months before surgery or immediately after surgery may reduce the occurrence of these complications.
- Electronic, online, and computer cessation programs have a small but important impact on cessation compared to no intervention or self-help materials. The relatively low cost of electronic interventions make the approach a good option.
- All forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as gum, patch, spray and tablets, can be effective in promoting smoking cessation. NRT increases the quit rate by 50% to 70% for at least 6 months or longer. Most of the research is focused on adults, but adolescents may also benefit from NRT.
- Although not proven, E-cigarettes may help some people quit smoking, and are hoped to be less toxic than smoking cigarettes. Yet, researchers worry that they may serve as gateway products leading to tobacco use, and that the risk of chemicals and toxins in E-cigarettes is not well known. The FDA has announced that it will regulate E-cigarettes in the same way that it regulates tobacco products. Larger-scale studies are necessary.
- In people who have no history of lung cancer, annual low-dose CT screening for lung cancer should be offered. Screening should be performed in current and former smokers who are between the ages of 55 to 74 years, have smoked at least 30 pack years, and are currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years.
- Chest x-rays should not be offered as a screening tool.