Tobacco Facts
IL Tobacco Quitline:
Quick Facts:
Second Hand Smoke-Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the
smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar
and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers.
smoke is a serious health hazard causing more than 41,000
deaths per year.  It can cause or make worse a wide range of
damaging health effects in children and adults, including lung
cancer, respiratory infections and asthma.  

Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause 7,300 lung cancer
deaths annually and
33,950 heart disease deaths in
non-smokers each year.

Between 1964 and 2014, 2.5 million people died from exposure
to secondhand smoke, according to the 2014 report from the U.S.
Surgeon General.  

There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and
even short-term exposure potentially can increase the risk of
heart attacks.

Secondhand Smoke contains hundres of chemicals known to be
toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl
choloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.

Children are especially susceptible: their lungs are still
developing and childhood exposure to secondhand smoke
results in decreased lung function. Children who breathe
secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma, the
leading serious chronic childhood disease in the US.

In the U.S., 4
1 percent of children are exposed to second-hand

Click here for more information on Secondhand Smoke and
Secondhand Smoke in the Workplace

Healthy Lung
Lung with Emphysema
E-Cigarettes          Tips for Quitting          Help Me Through

Why is it so hard to quit smoking?
Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” Maybe you’ve tried to
quit, too. Why is quitting and staying quit hard for so many people? The answer is nicotine.

Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is highly addictive – as addictive as heroin or
cocaine. Over time, the body becomes both physically and psychologically dependent on
nicotine. Studies have shown that smokers must overcome both of these addictions to be
successful at quitting and staying quit.

Nicotine Withdrawal
When smokers try to cut back or quit, the absence of nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal is both physical and mental. Physically, the body reacts to the absence of nicotine.
Psychologically, the smoker is faced with giving up a habit, which requires a major change in
behavior. Both must be addressed in order for the quitting process to work.

Withdrawal symptoms can include any of the following:
•  dizziness (which may only last 1-2 days in the beginning)
•  depression
•  feelings of frustration and anger
•  irritability
•  sleep disturbances, including having trouble falling asleep,
staying asleep and having bad dreams or even nightmares
•  trouble concentrating
•  restlessness
•  headaches
•  tiredness
•  increased appetite

These symptoms can lead the smoker to start smoking cigarettes again to boost blood levels of
nicotine back to a level where there are no symptoms.

If a person has smoked regularly for a few weeks or longer and abruptly stops using tobacco or
greatly reduces the amount smoked, withdrawal symptoms will occur. Symptoms usually start
within a few hours of the last cigarette and peak about 2 to 3 days later. Withdrawal symptoms
can last for a few days to several weeks.

When smokers quit, what are the benefits over time?

 20 minutes after quitting: your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

 12 hours after quitting: the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

 2 – 3 months after quitting: your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

 1 – 9 months after quitting: coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like
structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the
ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

 1 year after quitting: the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

 5 years after quitting: your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after

 10 years after quitting: the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s;
the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.

 15 years after quitting: the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good.  Quitting smoking lowers your
risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps your heart and lungs.

Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers.  Quitting
smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about

Quitting while you're younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give
back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Are spit tobacco and snuff safe alternatives to cigarette smoking?
There are many terms used to describe spit tobacco, such as oral, smokeless, chewing, and
snuff tobacco. The use of spit tobacco by any name is a significant health risk, and it is not a
safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. The amount of nicotine absorbed is usually more than the
amount delivered by a cigarette. Overall, people who dip or chew receive about the same
amount of nicotine as regular smokers. The most harmful cancer-causing substances in spit
tobacco are tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), which have been found at levels 100 times
higher than the nitrosamines that are allowed in bacon, beer, and other foods.

The juice from the smokeless tobacco is absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth. This
creates sores and white patches (called leukoplakia) that often lead to cancer of the mouth.

Spit tobacco users greatly increase their risk of other cancers including those of the pharynx
(throat). Other effects of spit tobacco use include chronic bad breath, stained teeth and fillings,
gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, tooth abrasion, and loss of bone in the jaw. Users may
also have problems with high blood pressure and be at increased risk for heart disease.

What are the health risks of smoking pipes or cigars?
Many people view cigar smoking as more “civilized” and “glamorous,” as well as less dangerous
than cigarette smoking. Yet a single large cigar can contain as much tobacco as an entire pack
of cigarettes.

Most of the same cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes are found in cigars. Most cigars
have as much nicotine as several cigarettes. When cigar smokers inhale, nicotine is absorbed
as rapidly as it is with cigarettes. For those who do not inhale, it is absorbed more slowly through
the lining of the mouth. Both inhaled and non-inhaled nicotine are highly addictive.

Where can I go for help?
It is hard to stop smoking. Bur if you are a tobacco use, you can quit! More than 46 million
Americans have quit smoking for good. Email the
Health Educator at the Marion County Health
Department for more information, or call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 1 (866) QUIT-YES.