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Dangers of Smoking Label

The FDA’s 9 New Cigarette Health Warnings

September 22, 2012 marks a monumental change in the appearance of cigarette packaging in the United States.

At this time, new warning labels must appear on all cigarette packs. Each warning targets a specific danger of smoking with a graphic color image that communicates the intent of the warning. There were 9 significant warnings decided upon out of the initial 36 proposed in November 2010 when the label revamping ruling selection began. Part of the process included a time of evaluating public comments.

On September 22, 2012 big tobacco manufacturers will no longer be able to distribute cigarettes in the United States unless their package designs display the one of the 9 warning labels.

Graphic Incentives to Quit Smoking

New FDA Cigarette Package Warning LabelThe final selection of 9 FDA cigarette warning labels hope to target youth smokers making them more aware to empower them to never start smoking. The labels also increase awareness of the some of the health risks and diseases related to smoking by providing a graphic incentive to appeal to smokers to get them to quit.

Since research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol and that the frequency of smoking is often what prevents people from quitting, a strong intent behind these graphic labels is that perhaps each time someone picks up a pack, the image could put them over the edge into the say no or quit category.

The 9 cigarette label warnings cover these concerns:

  1. Cigarettes are addictive.
  2. Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
  3. Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
  4. Cigarettes cause cancer.
  5. Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
  6. Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
  7. Smoking can kill you.
  8. Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
  9. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

Along with each of the warnings are corresponding smoking facts that give smokers a lot to think about.

Not Soon Enough for Many

We can’t help but think how many lives would have been different had smokers truly been informed of the dangers of inhaling tobacco smoke before they picked up their habit or exposed others to the toxic fumes. I think only those with a death wish would have started smoking or exposed their loved ones.

Just recently, we received this heartbreaking letter from a caregiver taking care of a parent who developed serious health problems brought on from smoking and died a horrible death. Should we all have the choice of a better quality of life?

Smoking Killed my Mom: 4 Years As A Caregiver

FDA Warning LabelThere are no words to express fully express our condolences to the author of this letter. For their privacy we are not including their name, but the content is published in its unedited form:

Thank you so much for taking the time to express your condolences. I am devastated by the loss of my mother, and I am not handling her death well at all. The fact that it was so senseless makes it that much harder to bear. The fact that she suffered so needlessly…

She had gangrene in her little toe. That’s how it all started. She needed surgery to unblock her right carotid artery. It was discovered that her circulation was completely blocked from her right hip to her foot. The surgeons unblocked the arteries and put stents in. Her toe even healed, but she wouldn’t quit smoking. When she started showing signs of the same problem, I made her quit. We got into huge arguments, but it was already too late. They ended up amputating the entire front of her right foot.

Every day, I had to change her bandage at least twice. I had to flush this gaping, horrific wound, put antibiotic cream over it, then re-wrap it in clean gauze. Every night, I had to listen to her beg me for more pain medication that I could not give her. After three months of hell, the doctors amputated her right leg below the knee. This wound healed, but her independence had been seriously compromised forever. Her ability to breathe was rapidly deteriorating as well.

StethoscopeNear the end of March 2010, she said she needed to go to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe. Five minutes more, and they would have had to intubate her. They put her on steroids to help reduce the inflammation in her seriously damaged lungs. A few days later, they did a bronchoscopy and suctioned a bunch of crap out of her lungs. She was sent to a nursing home to recoup. The steroids raised her blood sugar and made insulin necessary. They also caused her to gain a significant amount of weight, which further hindered her ability to breathe.

Right before she was due to come home, the nursing home sent her to the ER. When my best friend and I arrived, she wasn’t in any distress. Mom really wasn’t sure why they had sent her at all. Unfortunately, sitting on the gurney for so long caused a massive cramp in her hip. She went into respiratory distress and deteriorated rapidly. She wound up staying in the hospital for a week. That’s when her doctor called and told me that there was no way I would be able to handle her care on my own anymore. He ordered her to be placed in a nursing home. You don’t even want to know the hell that the two of us went through with that place. She had pneumonia in December of 2010. When she had sufficiently recovered, they had to amputate her left leg below the knee as well.

The Saturday before she died (she died the week of Easter Sunday), I went to pick up her laundry as usual. She was sleeping, but very restless. She cried out in pain and sat straight up in bed. I asked her if she was okay. She said yes. I asked her why she hadn’t eaten any of her dinner yet (her tray was untouched, unusual for her). She picked up her fork and started pushing the food around. “I’ve been eating” she said. I went to fill her pitcher with fresh ice water. I came back and she was sound asleep again.

I asked the two aides in the room how long she had been like this. They shrugged and said, “She’s been making those funny noises all day.” I explained to them that only once in a while was normal and that they should be a ‘tad more concerned’ (I was being very sarcastic, of course). I went out into the hall to speak with the nurse, who informed me that Mom had been complaining of pain in her right hip, so they gave her (insert name of a narcotic pain pill here). I shook my head ‘no’, and told the nurse that the only pain reliever her doctor had ever approved was regular-strength Tylenol. Narcotic pain pills suppress the breathing too much in people with COPD. She said that’s what the doctor had ordered. Turns out it wasn’t her doctor, but the doctor on call.

Symbol for No SmokingTuesday morning at 6:30 a.m., the phone rings. Mom’s eyes were open, but she was non-responsive. By the time my brother and I reached the hospital she was already gone. To have to see her laying on that gurney just about killed me. I honest to god don’t think I’m going to get through this. I am beyond furious that these companies can literally get away with murder. Nobody you love should have to die the way my mother did. I did everything in my power to make her well. I failed. I don’t think I can live with that, especially since I’m about to lose our house and everything my family ever owned. I am terrified out of my wits. Sorry this is so long…I just needed to talk. There’s so much that I left out of this…so much more. Never have I known a hell like what we had to go through. It just isn’t right.

It is our hopes that you will pass on this article on to others who are enticed to smoke, or your loved ones who do. Sometimes a wake up call like this true story can make a huge difference.

Dangers of 69 Cancer Causing Chemicals in Cigarettes to Men, Women and Unborn Babies

There are 69 known cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke.

While nicotine itself isn’t thought to be carcinogenic, it’s the reason why smokers continue the habit.

This highly addictive drug is toxic and potentially lethal in large doses.

Apart from its use in tobacco products, nicotine is a scheduled poison under the State Poisons Act. When they get their dose of nicotine, smokers also inhale about 4,000 other chemicals.

Most of these compounds are chemically active, and trigger profound and damaging changes in the body.

Tobacco smoke contains dangerous chemicals. The most damaging compounds in tobacco smoke include:

Picture of a smoker1,3-butadiene – or BDE is an industrial chemical used in rubber manufacture. Some scientists believe that of all the chemicals in tobacco smoke, BDE may present the greatest overall cancer risk. It may not be as good at causing cancer as some of the other chemicals listed here, but it is found in large amounts in tobacco smoke.

Ammonia – ammonia is a strong chemical, found in household cleaners and formaldehyde (used for preserving organs of dead people in morgues), which also damages the lungs.

Arsenic – is one of the most dangerous chemicals in cigarettes. It can cause cancer as well as damaging the heart and its blood vessels. Small amounts of arsenic can accumulate in smokers’ bodies and build up to higher concentrations over months and years. As well as any direct effects, it can worsen the effect of other chemicals by interfering with our ability to repair our DNA.

Acrolein – is a gas with an intensely irritating smell and is one of the most abundant chemicals in cigarette smoke. It belongs to the same group of chemicals as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, both of which can cause cancer.

Benzene – is a solvent used to manufacture other chemicals, including petrol. It is well-established that benzene can cause cancer, particularly leukemia. It could account for between a tenth and a half of the deaths from leukemia caused by smoking.

Cadmium – is a metal used mostly to make batteries. The majority of cadmium in our bodies comes from exposure to tobacco smoke. Smokers can have twice as much cadmium in their blood as non-smokers.

Carbon monoxide – this odor less gas is fatal in large doses because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood. Each red blood cell contains a complicated protein called hemoglobin; oxygen molecules are transported around the body by binding to, or hanging onto, this protein. However, carbon monoxide has an even greater affinity for binding to hemoglobin than does oxygen. This means that the heart of a smoker has to work much harder to get enough oxygen to the brain, heart, muscles and other organs.

Formaldehyde – is a smelly chemical used to kill bacteria, preserve dead bodies and manufacture other chemicals. It is one of the substances in tobacco smoke most likely to cause diseases in our lungs and airways.

Hydrogen cyanide – the lungs contain tiny hairs (cilia) that help to ‘clean’ the lungs by moving foreign substances out. Hydrogen cyanide stops this lung clearance system from working properly, which means the poisonous ingredients of tobacco smoke are allowed to remain inside the lungs.

Metals – tobacco smoke contains dangerous metals including arsenic, cadmium and lead. Many of these metals are carcinogenic.

Nitrogen oxides – animal experiments have shown that nitrogen oxides damage the lungs. It is thought that nitrogen oxides are some of the particular chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause the lung disease emphysema.

Polonium-210 – is a rare, radioactive element and polonium-210 is its most common form. Polonium strongly emits a very damaging type of radiation called alpha-radiation that can usually be blocked by thin layers of skin. But tobacco smoke contains traces of polonium, which become deposited inside their airways and deliver radiation directly to surrounding cells.

Chemical properties of polonium-210

Radioactive compounds – tobacco smoke contains radioactive compounds, which are known to be carcinogenic.

Tar – this is the collective term for all the various particles suspended in tobacco smoke. The particles contain chemicals including nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Tar is sticky and brown, and stains teeth, fingernails and lung tissue. Tar contains the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene that is known to trigger tumour development (cancer).

Smoking Effects on the Respiratory system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the respiratory system include:
–Irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box).
–Reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages.
–Inability of the lungs to cough out and clear poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage.

Smoking and the Circulatory system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the circulatory system include:
–Raised blood pressure and heart rate.
–Constriction (tightening) of blood vessels in the skin, resulting in a drop in skin temperature.
–Less blood, which carries oxygen, available to the body.
–Stickier blood, which is more prone to clotting.
–Damage to the lining of the arteries, which is thought to be a
contributing factor to atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls).
–Increased risk of stroke and heart attack due to blockages of the blood supply.

Cigarettes Effects on the Immune system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the immune system include:
–The immune system doesn’t work as well.
–The person is more prone to infections.
–It takes longer to get over an illness.

Smoking Addiction Dangers to Musculoskeletal System

The effects of tobacco smoke on the musculoskeletal system include:
–Reduced blood flow to extremities like fingers and toes
–Tightening of the muscles
–Reduced bone density.

Other Effects Of Smoking On the Body

Other effects of tobacco smoke on the body include:
–Irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines
–Increased risk of bleeding ulcers along the digestive tract
–Reduced ability to smell and taste
–Premature wrinkling of the skin
–Higher risk of blindness and hearing loss
–Gum disease.

Smoking and The Male Body

The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the male body include:
–Lower sperm count
–Higher percentage of deformed sperm
–Reduced sperm mobility
–Lower sex drive
–Reduced levels of male sex hormones
–Impotence, caused by reduced blood flow to the penis
–Increased risk of reproductive system cancers, including penile cancer.

Smoking Effects on the Female Body

The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the female body include:
–Reduced fertility.
–Lower sex drive.
–Reduced levels of female sex hormones.
–Menstrual cycle irregularities or absence of menstruation.
–Menopause reached one or two years earlier.
–Increased risk of reproductive system cancers, including cancers of the cervix, vulva and breast.
–Greatly increased risk of stroke and heart attack if the smoker is aged over 35 years and taking the oral contraceptive pill.
–Can increase facial hair.
–Can lead to depression.

Smoking Dangers to the Unborn Baby

The effects of maternal smoking on the unborn baby include:
–Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
–Low birth weight.
–Increased risk of cleft palate and cleft lip.
–Greater risk of developmental problems, such as attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
–Paternal smoking can also harm the fetus if the non-smoking mother is exposed to passive smoking.

If the mother continues to smoke during her baby’s first year of life, the child has an increased risk of ear infections, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood cancers such as acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

Diseases Caused by Long Term Smoking

A lifetime smoker is at high risk of developing a range of potentially
lethal diseases, including:
All types of cancer, such as cancer of the lung, mouth, nose, throat,
pancreas, blood, kidney, penis, cervix, bladder and anus. Lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Coronary artery disease, heart disease and heart attack. Ulcers of the digestive system. Osteoporosis. Poor blood circulation in extremities, which can lead to amputation.

Things to Remember

Most of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are chemically active and
trigger profound and potentially fatal changes in the body.

The most damaging substances in tobacco smoke include tar, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, metals, ammonia and radioactive compounds.

Sources: Surgeon General, U.S
National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
UK’s “Smoke is Poison” campaign, funded by the Department of Health.