People in all cultures across time have used psychoactive substances as part of their social and religious rituals. In North America, people use a variety of substances, including nicotine, to commune with others, celebrate, relax, recreate, and destress. Smoking is a legal and until recently, socially acceptable way to socialize and unwind.
Although legal, even moderate “social” smoking has been demonstrated to be exceptionally harmful to your health and second-hand smoke has been proven to be harmful to the health of others. In fact, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. People who smoke are at greatly increased risk of dying from tobacco-related diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, throat cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a number of other cancers and diseases. The good news is that quitting smoking at any age significantly reduces the risk of negative health outcomes.