WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, greatly increasing an individual’s risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases. In Washington State, more people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses than from alcohol, drug use, traffic accidents, suicide, homicide, AIDS, and fires combined.[i] Pregnant women who smoke subject their fetus to growth retardation and possible mortality.[ii] Tobacco use increases the risk of developing oral cancers and pre-cancers. In addition, secondhand smoke—for which there are no safe limits—is dangerous to all people. Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful for children and pregnant women.[iii]
[i] Washington State Department of Health, Burden of Tobacco in Washington State Fact Sheet (2010).
[ii] M. Bartal, “Health Effects of Tobacco use,” Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease 56, no. 6 (2001): 545-554.
[iii] Washington State Department of Health, Burden of Tobacco in Washington State Fact Sheet (2010).
Oregon Health Authority, Columbia County Tobacco Fact Sheet (2001).