Smoking is a major health risk associated with nicotine dependence. About half of all smokers die of a smoking-related illness, often cancer. About 90% of lung cancers are linked to smoking. Smoking also causes such other lung problems as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as worsening the symptoms of asthma. Other cancers associated with smoking include cancers of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, kidney, and bladder. Smoking accounts for 20% of cardiovascular deaths. It significantly increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and aneurysm. Women who smoke during pregnancy have more miscarriages, premature babies, and low-birth-weight babies. In addition, secondhand smoke endangers the health of nonsmokers in the smoker's family or workplace. Although most of these effects are not caused directly by nicotine, it is dependence on nicotine that keeps people smoking.
Even though it is difficult for smokers to break their chemical and psychological dependence on nicotine, they should remember that most of the negative health effects of smoking are reduced or reversed after quitting. Therefore, it is worth trying to quit smoking at any age, regardless of the length of time a person has had the habit.
The best way to avoid nicotine dependence and withdrawal is to avoid the use of tobacco products.