Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. Over 41,000 of these deaths are from breathing secondhand smoke. That’s about one in every five deaths, or 1,300 per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Smoking often causes serious health issues, such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and other cancers. Smoking also increases your risk for blindness.
Other oral and inhaled tobacco products also cause health problems. These products include chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, cigars, and pipes. As with cigarettes, using these products often leads to cancer, heart disease, and other serious health conditions.
Some smokers try “vaping” to help them quit. Vaping is the use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco but instead heat up nicotine to produce a smoke-like vapor that is then inhaled. Some smokers find that vaping helps them quit smoking for a few months, but they often go back to smoking. A recent study found that after one year since starting to vape, 90% of study participants were still smoking cigarettes.
Quitting tobacco is hard. UAB Medicine wants to help you “kick the habit.” Quitting now is one of the best things you can do for your health. We generally recommend three steps:
- Ask your doctor for medicine to ease your cravings, or choose a nicotine replacement product such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum.
- Get counseling to help you make a plan to quit that fits your lifestyle and preferences. Free counseling is available by calling 1-800-QUITNOW (or en español 1-855-dejelo-ya).
- Get more activity or exercise.
If you are ready to quit, we suggest you start by:
- Watching our Emmi informational videos about smoking and vaping.
- Visiting one of these websites:
- Downloading a free app to your smartphone or tablet that provides assistance in quitting tobacco, such as:
PODCAST: Vaping: New Research on Risks Associated with e-Cigarettes
Susan Walley and Kathy Harrington — As cigarette smoking seems to be on the decline, another method of nicotine use has managed to hook today’s youth. Some smokers find that vaping helps them quit smoking for a few months, but they often go back to smoking.
UAB Medicine provides a complete range of primary and specialty care services, as well as the most up-to-date treatments and innovations in health care. It is anchored by UAB Hospital, which was established in 1945 as the teaching hospital for what now is the UAB School of Medicine. One of the largest and most advanced in the nation, UAB Hospital is the centerpiece of a sprawling medical campus that includes numerous research labs and clinics. Among those clinics is The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, which is home to dozens of medical specialties under one roof and is one of the largest outpatient centers in the nation.
Low-Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer
Low-dose CT (computed tomography) screening for lung cancer is a way of finding tumors before they become too advanced and become difficult to treat successfully. This screening method has been shown to reduce the risk of death from lung cancer in high-risk patients by 20% compared to chest X-ray alone. However, many lung nodules (growths) detected from the low-dose CT screening are not cancerous, so follow-up CT scans or other tests may be needed to determine the presence of cancer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT scans in adults age 55-80 who have a 30-pack-per-year smoking history and currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years. Medicare approved screening for patients age 55-77, and this is the age group that UAB Medicine provides screening for. Screening is stopped once a person has not smoked for 15 years, develops a health problem that seriously limits life expectancy, or does not wish to have lung surgery. The CT scan itself lasts only about 20 seconds. Patients being screened are asked to hold their breath for a few seconds as the scan is performed. All patients must be referred for the test by a physician after a shared decision-making appointment. It is important that a responsible health care provider manages follow-up care for patients with a positive test.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
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