Smoking and Physically Challenged: Helping a Community to Be Smoke-Free

Individuals living with physical challenges are statistically more susceptible to smoking than individuals who are not. We must come together and support these brave souls in overcoming their challenge of quitting smoking.

Author: Christina Matthews
Last updated: March 4, 2019
A disabled man is sitting in a wheelchair

According to CDC, approximately 17% of all deaths each year is attributable to smoking. Unfortunately, every one of these deaths were avoidable. Smoking is the nation’s leading cause of preventable deaths. Today, more than 25% of those living with a disability smoke cigarettes. This not only increases the mortality rate among those with a disability, but it also increases their risk of contracting new illnesses, diseases, and new disabilities to live with.

Smoking and the Physically Challenged

Smoking harms virtually every organ in the human body. It leads to heart disease, COPD, emphysema, respiratory disease, macular degeneration, numerous cancers, bone disease, hearing loss, and more. Smoking causes over eight million individuals to live with at least one form of illness or more.

Smoking affects those living with physical disabilities more so than those without preexisting physical challenges. The reason for this may not be so cut and dried. One thing that is for certain, however, is that stress levels may be higher in individuals who are just learning to live with a disability.

no smoking cigarettes

In light of this, millions of individuals living with a physical disability were not born with the challenge. It was caused by anything from war, car accidents, a crime, etc. These individuals are at a higher risk of smoking as they experience higher levels of stress and anxiety in the beginning.

As time goes on, many realize that their disability is manageable and they regain every bit the life they had before. However, smoking by this time has become habitual. It is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. According to the CDC, cigarettes are as addictive as heroin or cocaine, and can be just as hard to quit. However, with support, it is possible.

Smoking and the Hearing Impaired – Supporting the Hearing Impaired

Smoking among the hearing impaired is a prevalent issue. Like most anyone who smokes, most begin smoking in their youth. It began as an experimentation and grew into a full blown addiction.

Others begin smoking due to tragedy, stress, peer pressure, etc. In any event, those with hearing issues smoke for the same reasons that anyone else does. The difference being, those with medical issues are more likely to suffer additional medical issues, or suffer from a worsening of current medical issues because of smoking cigarettes.

Physically disabled men

The mortality rate for smokers is astounding. According to the CDC, cigarettes cause about one in five deaths each and every year in the United States. That adds up to well over 450,000 deaths a year. These statistical figures also represent victims of second-hand smoke exposure.

We are asking that all individuals stand together to help put an end to smoking among the deaf and hearing impaired. This community is proud and strong, and it deserves educational materials and further support to end smoking within their community for good. Smoking does not only lead to hearing issues, but it may also worsen existing conditions or add to existing conditions. Supporting the deaf and hearing impaired in remaining smoke-free is critical in helping to ensure their safety, preserve their health, and ending the vicious cycle of smoking.

Supporting the End of Smoking in the Blind Community

Smoking affects millions, including the blind, and can also lead to visual impairment – or total vision loss. We are asking that individuals living with blindness reach out to others in their community.

For those that suffer from vision loss or blindness, smoking may seem like it is a separate issue. However, it is sometimes directly related. The blind are not immune to the dangers of smoking.

Although smoking can lead to vision loss or blindness, there are a myriad of health issues for those with an existing visual condition to contend with. While increased educational efforts and public services have made smoking’s dangers increasingly well-known for current or would-be smokers, many individuals across the country – even the blind – continue to smoke. Smoking is an epidemic, although all is not lost.

disabled men

We are asking that individuals living with blindness, or any degree of visual impairment, to reach out to others in their community. Making education available is only the beginning. Taking the invaluable step in teaching others and supporting them in their struggle to quit can be life-changing for countless sufferers.

For those who are only experiencing the onset of visual impairment, quitting now will reduce symptoms and progression brought about by smoking – even in those who have smoked for a long time.

For those who are already living with a visual impairment, loss, or total blindness, many are counting on you to be the voice of reason. They are counting on you to help educate and teach others about preventing disease, while living with blindness. Though blindness may not be considered a challenge for some, life without sight while managing numerous diseases or cancers can be a challenge to great for many. We are asking that you help make a difference in somebody’s life today.

Supporting the Physically Challenged

It is imperative that we come together for those living with physical challenges and help them fight for their freedom from cigarettes. Those without the use of their legs are not imprisoned – it is the addiction to smoking that imprisons.

We must come together to help those with challenges overcome their biggest challenge of all – quitting smoking. Education and support by family members, friends, and loved ones is the most crucial aspect of support.

African American male invalid sits at workplace

How smoking began is not important. What is important is how – and when – it ends. It must end now in order to ensure life and longevity. It must end now to ensure additional medical issues are not brought on, or that a worsening of existing medical issues are not exacerbated.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of so many brave and indomitable individuals. Utilizing smoking cessation aids are a fantastic way to assist in overcoming nicotine cravings, as well. There are nicotine gums and patches – many of which are considered safe and effective and can be purchased over the counter. Let’s take the first step so we can come together and get involved. Smoking does not have to affect so many, and we ask that you help us end it here.


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