Sara Bellum
October 12 2011

You probably know that smoking is NOT cool—and that it’s really dangerous, too. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and kills nearly a half a million people each year.

The chemicals found in cigarette smoke have been linked to serious long-term side effects, including cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and even death. People who smoke may become infertile, and pregnant women who smoke are more at risk for stillbirths, having babies with low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will require prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States. Check out the new warning labels here: http://www.fda.gov/tobaccoproducts/labeling/labeling/ucm2023662.htm.

But cigarette smoking doesn’t just affect the smoker—“secondhand” smoke also affects families and friends and many thousands of others.

Secondhand smoke is exactly what it sounds like: nonsmokers inhale the smoke that “firsthand” smokers exhale from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that each year, secondhand smoke causes as many as 3,400 lung cancer-related deaths in the United States.

So, if you want a longer, healthier life, better to indulge in activities like sports, yoga, running, and spending time with friends and family.

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