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Cigarette Smoking (cont.)

Cigarette Smoking Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of cigarette smoking are frequently obvious even to a casual observer. Besides the confirmatory evidence (a person actually smoking a cigarette in public view), nicotine-stained fingers and teeth, the characteristic smell of smoke impregnated clothing and household items, the chronic "smokers cough," the gravelly voice, and often the visible pack of cigarettes and lighter in a person's pocket or purse are signs and symptoms that a person smokes. However, new (teenage) smokers or "infrequent" smokers may exhibit few or none of these signs and symptoms. In addition, many teens will try to "cover up" any evidence of cigarette use for any number of reasons (for example, their parents forbid any smoking).

Signs and symptoms of tobacco related diseases often depend on the specific illnesses they cause. (There are many other symptoms of tobacco-related diseases, and these listed here are simply examples.)

  • Shortness of breath may be a sign of emphysema or heart disease.
  • Chest pain may signal angina pectoris caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart or a heart attack.
  • Difficulty swallowing, or persistent hoarseness, may signal a cancer in the mouth or larynx.
  • Painless bloody urination may signal bladder cancer.
  • The presence of any of the following common symptoms associated with tobacco use should prompt a visit to the doctor or hospital's emergency department:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • persistent cough
    • coughing up blood
    • frequent colds and upper respiratory infections
    • persistent hoarseness
    • difficulty or pain on swallowing
    • change in exercise capacity
    • sudden weakness on one side of the face or body; or difficulty speaking
    • leg pain while walking that goes away when at rest
    • unexplained weight loss
    • persistent abdominal pain
    • blood in the urine

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