Smoking Among Seniors

Smoking Among Seniors

Seniors face increased risks associated with smoking which include hip fractures, cataracts, and COPD. It's never too late to quit smoking. The health benefits of cessation start within minutes of the last cigarette.
  • Smoking reduces bone density among menopausal women.
  • Smoking is casually related to an increased risk for hip fractures in men and women.
  • Of the 850,000 fractures among those over age 65 in the United States each year, 300,000 are hip fractures. Persons with a hip fracture are 12% to 20% more likely to die than those without a hip fracture. Estimated costs related to hip fractures range from $7 billion to $10 billion each year.
  • Smoking is related to nuclear cataracts of the lens of the eye, the most common type of cataract in the United States. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide and a leading cause of visual loss in the United States. Smokers have two to three times the risk of developing cataracts as nonsmokers.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is consistently among the top 10 most common chronic health conditions and among the top 10 conditions that limit daily activities. Prevalence of COPD is highest in men and women 65 years of age and older (16.7% among men and 12.6% among women). 

Health Effects of Smoking

Health Effects of Smoking

Smokers have a harder time healing from surgeries, and have more overall health issues than do nonsmokers. This results in more time away from work, and more doctor and hospital visits. Smoking compromises a person's health in so many ways.

* Smokers are more likely to be absent from work than nonsmokers, and their illnesses last longer.
* Smokers tend to incur more medical costs, to see physicians more often in the outpatient setting, and to be admitted to the hospital more often and for longer periods than nonsmokers.
* Smokers have a lower survival rate after surgery compared to that of nonsmokers because of damage to the body's host defenses, delayed wound healing, and reduced immune response. Smokers are at greater risk for complications following surgery, including wound infections, postoperative pneumonia, and other respiratory complications.
* Periodontitis is a serious gum disease that can result in the loss of teeth and bone loss. Smoking is causally related to periodontitis. This may be because smoking affects the body's
ability to fight infection and repair tissue.
* Peptic ulcers, which are located in the digestive tract (stomach and duodenum), usually occur in people with an infection caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. Among persons with this infection, smokers are more likely to develop peptic ulcers than nonsmokers. In severe cases, peptic ulcers can lead to death.
* Although only a small number of studies have looked at the relationship between smoking and erectile dysfunction, their findings suggest that smoking may be associated with an increased risk for this condition. More studies are needed, however, before researchers can conclude that the effect of smoking is causally related to erectile dysfunction.



When people think of cancers caused by smoking, the first one that comes to mind is always lung cancer. Most cases of lung cancer death, close to 90% in men, and 80% in women are caused by cigarette smoking. There are several other forms of cancer attributed to smoking as well, and they include cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, bladder, stomach, cervix, kidney and pancreas, and acute myeloid leukemia. The list of additives allowed in the manufacture of cigarettes consists of 599 possible ingredients. When burned, cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, with over 40 of them being known carcinogens.

* Cancer is the second leading cause of death and was among the first diseases causally linked to smoking.
* Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and cigarette smoking causes most cases.
* Compared to nonsmokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer and women who smoke are about 13 times more likely. Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% in women.
* In 2003, an estimated 171,900 new cases of lung cancer occurred and approximately 157,200 people died from lung cancer.
* The 2004 Surgeon General's report adds more evidence to previous conclusions that smoking causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lung and bladder.
* Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly.
* Cigarette smoking is a major cause of esophageal cancer in the United States. Reductions in smoking and smokeless tobacco use could prevent many of the approximately 12,300 new cases and 12,100 deaths from esophgeal cancer that occur annually.
* The combination of smoking and alcohol consumption causes most laryngeal cancer cases. In 2003, an estimated 3800 deaths occurred from laryngeal cancer.
* In 2003, an estimated 57,400 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed and an estimated 12,500 died from the disease.
* For smoking-attributable cancers, the risk generally increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years of smoking, and generally decreases after quitting completely.
* Smoking cigarettes that have a lower yield of tar does not substantially reduce the risk for lung cancer.
* Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing mouth cancers. This risk also increases among people who smoke pipes and cigars.
* Reductions in the number of people who smoke cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other tobacco products or use smokeless tobacco could prevent most of the estimated 30,200 new cases and 7,800 deaths from oral cavity and pharynx cancers annually in the United States.

New cancers confirmed by this report:

* The 2004 Surgeon General's report newly identifies other cancers caused by smoking, including cancers of the stomach, cervix, kidney, and pancreas and acute myeloid leukemia.
* In 2003, an estimated 22,400 new cases of stomach cancer were diagnosed, and an estimated 12,100 deaths were expected to occur.
* Former smokers have lower rates of stomach cancer than those who continue to smoke.
* For women, the risk of cervical cancer increases with the duration of smoking.
* In 2003, an estimated 31,900 new cases of kidney cancer were diagnosed, and an estimated 11,900 people died from the disease.
* In 2003, an estimated 30,700 new cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed, attributing to 30,000 deaths. The median time from diagnosis to death from pancreatic cancer is about 3 months.
* In 2003, approximately 10,500 cases of acute myeloid leukemia were diagnosed in adults.
* Benzene is a known cause of acute myleoid leukemia, and cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure. Among U.S. smokers, 90% of benzene exposures come from cigarettes.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and has negative health impacts on people at all stages of life. It harms unborn babies, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.
The effects of smoking....

Smoking: what are the effects?

Smoking: what are the effects?

Effects of tobacco smoke

Tar in cigarettes coats the lungs and can cause lung and throat cancer in smokers. It is also responsible for the yellow–brown staining on smokers' fingers and teeth.
Carbon monoxide in cigarettes robs the muscles, brain and blood of oxygen, making the whole body — especially the heart — work harder.
Over time this causes airways to narrow and blood pressure to rise, and can lead to heart attack and stroke. High levels of CO, together with nicotine, increase the risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries and other circulatory problems. A first-time smoker will often feel dizzy and sick.

‘Light’ or ‘low tar’ cigarettes
Research has shown that there is little difference between the amount of chemicals inhaled by people who smoke ‘light’ or ‘low tar’ cigarettes and those who smoke regular cigarettes. People who smoke ‘light’ cigarettes have the same risk of developing smoking-related diseases as people who smoke regular cigarettes.

Immediate effects
Soon after smoking tobacco, the following effects may be experienced:

* initial stimulation, then reduction in brain and nervous system activity;
* enhanced alertness and concentration;
* mild euphoria;
* feelings of relaxation;
* increased blood pressure and heart rate;
* decreased blood flow to body extremities like the fingers and toes;
* dizziness, nausea, watery eyes and acid in the stomach; and
* decreased appetite, taste and smell.

Although rare, it is possible to overdose on the nicotine in tobacco. Very large doses of nicotine can result in an increase in the unpleasant effects, including feelings of faintness and confusion,
and a rapid decrease in blood pressure and breathing rate.
In some cases, it can lead to convulsions and death from respiratory failure. 60 milligrams of nicotine taken orally can be fatal for an adult.

Long-term effects
It is estimated that more than 140,000 hospital episodes and 19,000 deaths in Australia can be attributed to tobacco use every year. The principal diagnoses are cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Passive smoking
Passive smoking can cause a number of health problems including heart disease, lung cancer and irritation of the eyes and nose. It involves breathing in tobacco smoke from other people's cigarettes:

smoke that has been exhaled or smoke from the end of a lit cigarette.
50 Australians die every day from smoking, compared to 10 who die from alcohol-related conditions and 4 who die as a result of road accidents.

Tolerance and dependence

People who use tobacco tend to develop a tolerance to the effects of the nicotine in the tobacco very quickly. This means they need to smoke more and more in order to get the same effect.
With repeated use of tobacco, the risk of dependence on nicotine is high. Dependence on nicotine can be physiological, psychological or both.
People who are physically dependent on nicotine find their body has become used to functioning with the nicotine present and may experience withdrawal symptoms when they reduce their nicotine intake.

People who are psychologically dependent on nicotine may find they feel an urge to smoke when they are in specific surroundings, such as at the pub, or in particular situations such as during their lunch break or socialising with friends.
Research has shown that smoking is often associated with different roles and meanings for smokers, including the following.
* Social roles, such as enjoyment of the company of friends, the drinking of coffee or alcohol, and promoting social confidence and feelings of independence (particularly for young women).
*Emotional roles — caring for the self, such as helping to deal with stress and anxiety, weight control and providing ‘companionship’.
* Temporal roles, such as connecting the flow of events or time in the smoker's day, providing a break from work or activities and relieving boredom.This may be why smoking is sometimes referred to as the most difficult drug to give up.

If a person who is dependent on the nicotine in tobacco suddenly stops using it or reduces the amount they use, they will experience withdrawal symptoms because their body has to readjust to functioning without the drug.
Most of these symptoms will disappear within days or weeks of quitting smoking, but cravings may persist for years after stopping using tobacco.

Symptoms include:

* cravings;
* irritability, agitation, depression and anxiety;
* insomnia and disturbed sleeping patterns;
* increased appetite and weight gain;
* restlessness and loss of concentration;
* headaches;
* coughing and sore throat;
* body aches and pains; and
* stomach and bowel upsets.

The Effects of Smoking

Smoking Effects on the Human Body

Smoking Effects on the Human Body

The effects of smoking on human health are serious and in many cases, deadly. There are approximately 4000 chemicals in cigarettes, hundreds of which are toxic. The ingredients in cigarettes affect everything from the internal functioning of organs to the efficiency of the body's immune system. The effects of cigarette smoking are destructive and widespread.

* Toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several different ways.
* Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk.
* Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen.
* Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly.
* The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers.
* Smoking affects the function of the immune system and may increase the risk for respiratory and other infections.
* There are several likely ways that cigarette smoke does its damage. One is oxidative stress that mutates DNA, promotes atherosclerosis, and leads to chronic lung injury. Oxidative stress
is thought to be the general mechanism behind the aging process, contributing to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and COPD.
* The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells. Smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers.
* Smoking is associated with higher levels of chronic inflammation, another damaging process that may result in oxidative stress.
The effects of smoking..