Tobacco use is costly. While there is a significant financial loss due to tobacco use, the cost to a user's health is the most critical cost of using tobacco products. Users may develop increased blood pressure and heart rate, periodontal disease, chronic lung disease, various cancers, adverse pregnancy outcomes and cardiovascular disease, and they may increase their risk of stroke. A voluntary decision to start using tobacco soon initiates changes in the brain that lead to an addiction, making it very difficult for the user to stop using tobacco. With determination, though, a user can seek treatment and behavioral therapy that can reverse the addiction.
Of course, the best protection against tobacco addiction and associated medical conditions is never to start in the first place. Prevention is a key goal in the tobacco-free living focus of the Healthy Base Initiative. Education about the harmful effects of tobacco use does help to deter that first puff or dip. Emphasizing that it is so much easier to never start than to fight the addiction can reduce the number of first-time users. That's one decision with a valuable reward: health.