According to Scientific American magazine, cigarette smoke remains “ the single greatest controllable risk factor for lung cancer and the most common preventable cause of all premature deaths in the United States.” Statistics show that half of all smokers die prematurely of diseases that are related to smoking.
And while the figures go on to point out that the risk of lung cancer is greatest among those who begin smoking at an early age, the practice of daily smoking among many young people continues unabated. More shocking still is the number of hospital and health related employees who should know better, but who continue to smoke. You see many parading outside of their institutions, some even in surgical gowns.
For prostate cancer patients, word from a study at New York’s famed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center could not be more sobering: “ those who were still smoking at the time of their radiation therapy for prostate cancer had worse outcomes following radiation treatment compared to those who had never smoked.”
In that same study on a review of 2,156 prostate cancer patients at MSKCC treated with radiation therapy between 1988 and 2005, compared to non-smokers and smokers had:
- A 40 percent increased risk for PSA relapse following treatment
- Double the risk in developing distant metastases
- Double the risk of death from prostate cancer
- An 80 percent increase in urinary incontinence, obstruction
According to doctors at Johns Hopkins if you stop smoking, within 24 hours your heart rate returns to normal. Your blood level of carbon monoxide declines. Carbon monoxide cuts down the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Your risk of a heart attack declines. And your lung function improves significantly over time.
Doubters of scientific proof are quick to suggest that e-cigarettes are perfectly safe. E-cigarettes are gaining in popularity in the U.S. Manufacturers, retailers and advertisers are claiming that these cigarettes are “healthier” than ordinary cigarettes and can even help people stop smoking altogether.
The truth is that these battery-operated e-cigarettes heat up a liquid containing nicotine mixed with flavorings and create a vapor or mist that is then inhaled.
But and it’s a big but—there is no scientific long term evidence to support the claims that are made that these products are safe. The jury on e-cigarettes is still out.
And for now, the best advice remains: Stop smoking. FDA strategies to put down those cigarettes include: nicotine-replacement products; oral medications like Chantix; and when all else fails, counseling and support.