Addiction is characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking or use of a substance despite harmful consequences. Addiction is often accompanied by adverse physical and psychological dependence on the substance. Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco.
The 1982 Surgeon General's Report stated that "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States." This statement is as true today as it was in 1982. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use is an acquired behavior, one that the individual chooses to do, smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society.
About 87% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, and is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. It is very hard to detect when it is in the earliest, most treatable stage. Fortunately, lung cancer is largely a preventable disease. Groups that promote nonsmoking as part of their religion, such as Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists, have much lower rates of lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers.
But cancers account for only about half of the deaths related to smoking. Smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke, and contributes to the severity of pneumonia.
It isn't easy giving up something that is so much a part of what you do every day?
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