FAQ

What makes tobacco so harmful?
When tobacco is burned, over 4,000 chemicals and gases are released in the cigarette smoke that goes into your body. Many of these chemicals, including carbon monoxide, cyanide, arsenic, and lead, are poisonous. There are 3,150 chemicals in smokeless and spit tobacco. These tobaccos do not expose you to gases since you do not light them, but the juice from smokeless tobacco is absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth. This causes sores and white patches (leukoplakia) that can lead to cancer of the mouth. Each year in the United States, tobacco accounts for over 440,000 deaths (1 in 5 of all deaths), making tobacco the #1 cause of disease and death in this country. In Indiana, 27 persons die every day as a result of tobacco use. Indiana has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation. Tobacco companies have test-marketed new products in Indiana for years because of the state’s high usage rate.

What are the signs of regular tobacco use?
Wheezing, coughing, bad breath, smelly hair and clothes, stained teeth and fingers, frequent colds, decreased sense of smell and taste, gum disease, frequent mouth sores, slow wound healing, and difficulty keeping up with sports and
athletic activities.

Isn’t it my right to smoke?
Using tobacco is not a constitutional right. It is a health issue. Anyone who smokes puts the health of family and friends at risk – more than 126,000 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke in homes, vehicles, workplaces, and public places. Every year in the United States, secondhand smoke is responsible for about 3,000 deaths from lung disease and another 22,700 to 69,600 premature deaths from heart disease in otherwise healthy nonsmokers. There is no safe risk level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposures can be dangerous.

Are menthol cigarettes less harmful than non-menthol cigarettes?
NO. Evidence suggests that quitting is much more difficult for smokers of menthol-flavored cigarettes. Menthol “numbs” your lungs, so you can inhale deeper and hold the smoke longer.

Is smokeless or spit tobacco safe?
NO. Remember, “no smoke” doesn’t mean that smokeless tobacco is safe. Even a little smokeless tobacco
contains enough nicotine to get you addicted. The use of smokeless tobacco can lead to many types of health problems including cancers (lip, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, pancreas, and stomach) and oral health problems, such as
leukoplakia (characterized by white patches and oral lesions on the cheeks, gums, and tongue), enamel erosion, gum disease, gingivitis, and gum ulcers.

What is an electronic cigarette or ‘e-cigarette’?
An electronic cigarette is a battery-powered device that delivers doses of nicotine by way of a vaporized liquid nicotine solution that is inhaled. In July 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a press release discouraging the use
of electronic cigarettes and banning their importation. Therefore, marketing in the U.S. of electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and their components as cessation aids is a violation and is subject to enforcement action.

What about dissolvable tobacco products?
These products are being marketed as an “alternative” to smoking. They are smokeless, spitfree, made from finely milled tobacco, and held together by food-grade binders. Dissolvable tobacco products may contain up to 3 times the amount of nicotine found in 1 cigarette. Dissolvable tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
If a child, teen, or adult develops symptoms (such as vomiting or shaking) after ingesting a dissolvable tobacco product, the Indiana Poison Center should be called immediately (1-800-222-1222).

Is waterpipe smoking, the type of smoking that takes place in HOOKAH bars and cafés, a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes?
NO. Evidence indicates that because of the longer, more sustained period of inhalation and exposure, a waterpipe
user may inhale smoke that is equal to the smoke of 100 or more cigarettes – during just one session. Heat sources used to burn the tobacco, such as wood cinders or charcoal, are likely to increase the health risks from waterpipe use
because of releasing high levels of potentially dangerous chemicals, including carbon monoxide and metals. Also, shared mouthpieces and the heated, moist smoke may enhance the opportunity for infectious diseases to spread such as
tuberculosis and viruses such as herpes and hepatitis.

What methods are available to help me quit tobacco use?
Several non-tobacco methods or combinations of methods have been shown to be effective for quitting tobacco use. They include pharmacotherapies such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and also such methods as individual or group counseling and telephone quitlines.

What is nicotine replacement?
Nicotine replacement gives your body some of the nicotine it’s used to getting, and can make the physical symptoms of withdrawal easier. You gradually reduce the amount of nicotine you use until your body doesn’t need it anymore. Nicotine replacement comes in 5 forms: gum, lozenges, patch, inhaler, and nasal spray. They put nicotine into the bloodstream without the tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxic chemicals of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Will I gain weight when I quit smoking?
Many smokers gain weight when they quit, but usually no more than 5 or 10 pounds. A healthy diet and active lifestyle can shed the pounds and also help you keep focused on your main goal of quitting smoking.