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The Dangers of Smoking When Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas he found the natives using tobacco in much the same manner as it is used today The American Indians believed it to possess 0medicinal properties which was the main reason for its introduction into Europe Tobacco was important in Indian ceremonies such as the smoking of the pipe of peace Health issues The detrimental effects of tobacco smoking have long been recognised As early as the 19th century isolated reports were circulated that cigar and pipe smoking caused cancer of the mouth It was not until the 20th century 1950 in fact that firm evidence was established that lung cancer was directly related to cigarette smoking Lung cancer is now the most common cause of cancer related deaths in the men of most Western countries Because cigarette smoking became a popular and fairly widespread habit amongst men during World War II and because this disease has a long latency period the rise in the incidence of lung cancer during the second part of the 20th century was expected In the late 20th century in many countries as many as one-third of all cancer deaths in men and 10 percent of those in women are attributed to cigarette smoking As the current trend of males to give up smoking continues the male percentage will decline However increasingly more women picked up the habit in the 1950s and 60s the proportion of women dying from a tobacco-related cancer thus was increasing In general the risk of developing a tobacco-related cancer depends on the intensity of the habit as determined by duration ie number of cigarettes smoked per day tar content of the cigarette and the depth of inhalation Cigarette smoking not only is related to the development of lung cancer but also affects the development of cancer of the bladder oral cavity and oesophagus As noted the risk of developing one of these
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