Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience and a medical advice columnist for Newsmax Magazine. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Is Smoking a Danger to Everyone?

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013 10:23 AM

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Question: I’m 15 years old I have just started smoking, about three to four cigarettes a day. How long will it take before I could start having problems? I’ve heard many older people smoke with no noticeable health problems.

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
How foolish you are to start smoking now. Your tissues are sensitive to damage as a teen, and you are setting yourself up for the scarring lung changes and pre-cancerous conditions seen in smokers.
 
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a disabling scarring condition of the airways and lungs and little can be done to reverse the damage once it occurs from smoking. As a smoker, you also increase your stroke and heart attack risk, not to mention cancer.

For detectable damage, it may take as little as 6 months, but the disabling disease risks start to really escalate at 10 years, and become more pronounced after two decades. It is true that there are a very few who manage to escape the ravages of smoking damage, and this seems to relate to genetics and is not well understood.
 
If this is what you are betting on, a safer bet might be a lottery ticket with its odds in excess of one in a million.

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