Smoking rates have plummeted, but not far enough

Cigarettes are the only legal substance guaranteed to addict and eventually kill you.

We all are aware of the risk posed by cigarettes for lung cancer and other forms of chronic lung disease. However, there are other risks caused by smoking:

  • Smoking is the leading correctable risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.
  • Older children whose parents smoke get sick more often because their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke.
  • Children of smokers are more likely to get bronchitis and pneumonia.
  • Children whose parents smoke around them are more likely to get ear infections.
  • Babies of parents who smoke can be susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), even from smoke left on garments.
  • Smoking can trigger asthma attacks.

Progress has been made with smoking cessation in the United States. Today, only one in five Americans smokes, compared to 50 percent of Americans 50 years ago.

A new smoking threat

There are new risks for smoking for children because of e-cigarettes. A growing industry, e-cigs are marketed from 44 companies and comprise $2 billion in annual sales. Although claimed to be healthier than cigarettes, the effects of long-term inhalation of nicotine and formaldehyde is not known. These e-cigs are marketed in ways — with bright colors and glossy logos and flavor varieties — that draw the attention of children. This habit developed before the age of 26 can lead to a life of tobacco addiction.

We can successfully protect our future generations from becoming addicted to tobacco by insisting that states regulate e-cigarettes, restrict e-cigarette sales to children, limit advertising to adults and strengthen the Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigs as products that cannot be smoked in public settings.

If you would like to quit smoking, contact the Delaware Quitline at 1-866-409-1858. To learn more about how smoking impacts your health, visit Million Hearts Delaware.