Health Matters Takes on Tobacco and Smoking

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014

The newest episode of Health Matters with Doylestown Hospital offers an eye-opening look at the dangers of smoking and tobacco use. The CBTV show includes a list of free resources for stopping smoking.

Ever seen the lung of a smoker up close?

It's not pretty.

The latest episode of "Health Matters with Doylestown Hospital" on CBTV, Chris Anderson, Director of Respiratory Therapy, offers up the lobe of a smoker diagnosed with emphysema and a cancerous tumor. The lung is black.

That's the tar, which never leaves the lung, says James McClurken, MD, Doylestown Hospital cardiothoracic surgeon, adding "the lungs of non-smokers are baby pink."

The blackened lung is a visual reminder of the dangers of smoking, which is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 85% of lung cancers.

Dr. McClurken notes that lung cancer that is caught early can be treatable. Doylestown Hospital offers low-dose CT screening for appropriate patients who meet criteria and are at high risk for lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Statistics

In Pennsylvania, 21.4% of adults (2.1 million) smoke; the national rate is 18.1%. Nearly 19% of high school students (about 125,000) smoke in Pennsylvania; the national rate is 15.7%.

On the national level, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including about 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

In this episode of Health Matters on CBTV, Dr. McClurken explains how smoking accelerates the aging process in people both inside and out, including developing wrinkles in the skin at a younger age.

Another number to consider is your potential salary. Health Matters moderator Sheri Putnam raises the point that an increasing number of companies and organizations are not hiring users of tobacco. Doylestown Hospital announced its decision not to hire tobacco users in July. The Doylestown Hospital campus, as well as all other Bucks County hospitals, have been tobacco free for several years.

Watch Video: "Health Matters" Takes on Tobacco and Smoking

E-cigarettes and Vaping

There is a new form of tobacco usage that is gaining popularity, especially among young people; the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or "vaping." "Vape," the 2014 Word of the Year according to the Oxford Dictionary, is defined as to " inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that e-cigarette use has tripled among teenagers in just two years. The recent report also indicates that among all high school students, 4.5 percent reported using e-cigarettes within the last 30 days and 1.1 percent of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days.

As usage among teens and middle school students is growing, vapor shops or parlors are also popping up all over the country, including locally.

Chris Anderson and Dr. McClurken both agree that while there needs to be more research on the effects of vaping, the use of tobacco is addictive and is not good for overall health.

It's Never Too Late to Quit

Dr. McClurken reminds Health Matters viewers that quitting smoking and other tobacco use is always a good idea. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of lung and other forms of cancer, the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

At the end of Health Matters, viewers can see a list of free smoking cessation resources both locally, statewide and national.

Health Matters with Doylestown Hospital airs regularly on CBTV. View the schedule online.

About Doylestown Health

Doylestown Health is a comprehensive system of inpatient, outpatient and community services connected to meet the health and wellness needs of all members of the community. Our independent and nonprofit system is dedicated to healthcare excellence from childbirth to end-of-life care.

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