Tobacco Fact File


- Approximately 85% of secondhand smoke is in the form of invisible, odourless gases with only the particulate matter in the form of smoke being visible to the human eye.
- Three out of every ten cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking
- Studies suggest that babies of mothers who smoke are up to five times more likely to be at risk from Sudden Instant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Passive smoking is known to cause illness in children.
- Second-hand smoke can cause asthma and increases the severity of the condition in children who are already affected.

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- Each year, more than 17,000 children aged under five are admitted to UK hospitals because of exposure to other people's cigarette smoke.
- Passive smoking has been established as a cause of heart disease.
- Passive smoking has been established as a cause of stroke
- Passive smoking has been established as a cause of lung cancer.
- Around 42% of children in the UK are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home.
- Cigarettes are as addictive as drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
- On initial use, the risk of addiction to nicotine is greater than that of cocaine or alcohol.
- Additives such as ammonia raise the pH levels in the smoke, creating high levels of "free nicotine" which can be absorbed by the body more quickly.
- Chemical additives are used to reduce and mask secondhand smoke as well as alter the visibility and odour, in general, to reduce the perception of secondhand smoke.
- Menthol and other additives are used to numb the throat so the user does not feel the irritating effects of smoking.
- Smokers of low tar or 'light' cigarettes tend to compensate for lower nicotine yields by taking more puffs, inhaling more deeply and blocking the vent holes in the filter.
- 28% of UK smokers thought that 'light' cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes.
- Nicotine is a 'reinforcing' drug, which means that users desire the drug regardless of the damaging effects.

- Stopping smoking as early as possible is important, but cessation at any age will extend a smokers life.
- According to the U.S. Lung Health Study, weight gain for men averaged 4.9 kg and 5.2 kg. for women in the first year after quitting.
- The risk of feline lymphoma is doubled for a cat that shares a home with a smoker.
- The number of female smoking related deaths in the EU rose from 10,000 in 1955, to 113,000 in 1995.
- Lung cancer is rising more rapidly among women than among men in the EU.
- In 1995, 60% of female smokers in the EU aged 45 to 64 smoked 'light' cigarettes.
- About a third of British women continue to smoke during pregnancy.
- Perinatal mortality in the UK is increased by approximately a third in babies of smokers.
- Women who smoke are more likely to experience primary and secondary infertility and delays in conceiving.
- Smoking increases the risk of sexual impotence by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s.
- Smoking is one of the major causes of coronary heart disease in women.
- Among women who use oral contraceptives, those who smoke have a particularly high risk of coronary heart disease.
- Women who smoke are at an increased risk of ischaemic stroke and subarachnoid haemorrhage.
- Women who smoke have a markedly increased risk of developing and dying of chronic pulmonary disease, which include chronic bronchitis and emphysema with airflow obstruction.
- By 1987, lung cancer had surpassed breast cancer to become the leading cause of cancer death among women in the US.
- Many studies have found that post-menopausal women who smoke have lower bone densities than non-smoking women.
- In the UK in the last year 38% of smokers have sought some kind of help for stopping smoking.
- The main reason smokers in the UK want to stop smoking is for health-related reasons.
- In the UK, 79% of current smokers had tried to give up smoking in the past, and half (51%) had made a serious attempt in the last 5 years.
- People in the UK have a generally high level of knowledge about the dangers of passive smoking.
- The more cigarettes smoked in a household, the greater the risk of cot death.
- Food service workers have a 50% increase in lung cancer risk.
- By 15 years old, one in four children in the UK are regular smokers.
- Smoking is the most important public health problem in the UK today.
- Over a third (35%) of the population in Britain between 20-34 are current smokers.

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