The statistics on the harm smoking does keep rolling in:
- Smoking causes more deaths annually in the USA than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries and firearm-related incidents, combined.
- More than 10 times as many US citizens have died from smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the USA and 8 out of 10 COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) cases are caused by smoking.
- Male smokers are 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smoking populations.
- Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer in the US. If nobody smoked, it’s estimated that one of every three cancer deaths in the USA would not happen.
- Smoking affects men’s sperm count, reducing fertility, while secondhand smoke increases incidence of birth defects and miscarriage.
- Smoking affects hormonal balance, including testosterone and can decrease sexual desire and cause impotence. Male smokers have a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction than any other population.
IH providers are encouraged to ask questions about smoking on intake forms. Ask patients if they smoke, how long, the quantity, and are they interested in quitting? If they say no, simply offer medical facts. If patients say, ‘yes’, offer advice on how to quit. The CDC has an excellent fact sheet at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm and the NCCIH has integrative healthcare resources for persons who wish to quit smoking at https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/smoking?nav=govd