Smoking cigarettes or drinking too much alcohol can cause addiction and other serious health issues.
The risk of diseases associated with tobacco and alcohol increase for those who drink and smoke.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 443,000 people in the United States die of illnesses caused by tobacco each year. Meanwhile, about 88,000 die from alcohol-related illnesses.
Diseases caused by smoking tobacco
Smoking cigarettes can cause various types of cancer and chronic illnesses, including:
- Cataracts and blindness
- Periodontitis (gum disease)
- Chronic heart disease (high blood pressure)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (difficulty breathing)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cancer of the larynx, stomach, trachea, lung, esophagus and others
Note: Even those who do not smoke, but are exposed to cigarettes and tobacco, can develop health problems caused by second-hand smoke.
Free resources and help centers to quit smoking
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a good resource for smokers, offering plans to quit smoking, self-help materials, and a helpline at 1-800-784-8669, or 1-800-332-8615 (TTY for the hearing impaired).
- Smokefree.gov offers tips on how to quit smoking as well as pamphlets, information about medications and other advice. You can also subscribe to SmokefreeTXT to receive helpful messages on your phone.
- The CDC also has information about community tobacco control programs, campaigns and events in your state.
Diseases caused by alcohol consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can cause:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Cardiomyopathy (stretching of the heart muscle)
- High blood pressure
- Alcohol-induced hepatitis
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreatic blood vessels)
- A weak immune system
- Cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast
Free resources and help centers to stop drinking
- Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is a group that helps people with problems controlling how much alcohol they drink, and who wish to stop drinking. A.A. has meeting centers nationwide, as well as online support groups.
- Al-Anon is a supportive, safe group for people affected by alcoholic family members or friends. Find an Al-Anon meeting in your state.
- Alateen is another support group especially for teens dealing with a parent’s alcohol abuse.