Tobacco and Your Health

Whether you’re smoking, chewing or sniffing tobacco, you are increasing your health risks and may be jeopardizing the health of others.

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1. Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is hard, but worth it:

  • Within 8 hours of quitting, carbon monoxide level drops in your body and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.
  • Within 48 hours, your chances of having a heart attack start to go down and your sense of smell and taste begin to improve.
  • Within 72 hours, bronchial tubes relax making breathing easier and lung capacity increases.
  • Within 2 weeks to 3 months, circulation improves and lung functioning increases up to 30 per cent.
  • Within 6 months, coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath improve.
  • Within 1 year, risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut in half.
  • Within 10 years, risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.
  • Within 15 years, risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a person who never smoked.

When you decide to quit smoking, know what you are getting into. If you know what to expect, you have a better chance of success. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known.

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2. Nicotine and the Body

In its pure form, nicotine is a strong poison. A small dose of it, injected directly into the bloodstream, will kill a person within an hour. Because it is inhaled, it only takes seven to 10 seconds to reach the brain – twice as fast as intravenous drugs and three times faster than alcohol.

Once there, it mimics some of the actions of adrenaline. After a few puffs, the level of nicotine in the blood skyrockets, the heart beats faster and the blood pressure increases. The result is that the smoker feels more alert and may actually think faster.

In addition, nicotine may produce a calming effect by triggering the release of natural opiates called beta-endorphins. Thus, smoking produces two feelings: alertness and calmness.

Since nicotine can't be stored in the body, you must smoke more to maintain a relatively constant level in the blood. This is why you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop using.

Find more information about tobacco at Health Canada and get help quitting at the Smokers’ Helpline.

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3. Smokestream

Smokestream is an innovative anti-tobacco campaign, targeted at youth across Saskatchewan from 11 to 14 years old. This age group is particularly vulnerable to experimenting with tobacco and the campaign encourages them to remain tobacco free or quit using tobacco.

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4. Electronic Smoking Products

Electronic cigarettes and other electronic smoking products do not contain tobacco, so The Tobacco Control Act and The Tobacco Control Regulations do not apply. Health Canada is advising Canadians not to purchase or use electronic smoking products (such as electronic cigarettes), as these products may pose health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy by Health Canada.

For any questions or concerns related to the use or sale of these products in Saskatchewan, please contact the Health Canada Inspectorate - Manitoba and Saskatchewan Operational Centre.

The Inspectorate can be reached by e-mail at Insp_MSOC-COMS@hc-sc.gc.ca by telephone at (204) 984-1341 or toll-free at 1-800-267-9675.

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5. Federal Tobacco Product Labelling Regulations

The Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars) increase awareness of the health hazards and health effects associated with tobacco use on the labels of cigarettes and little cigar packages. The requirements include:

  • Graphic health warnings that cover 75% of the front and back of packages and include a pan-Canadian quitline number and web address;
  • Health information messages enhanced with colour; and
  • Easy to understand toxic emissions statements.

Find more information about the tobacco product labelling at Health Canada.