Everyone knows that smoking is horrible. But how bad is it really? Did you know that the numbers were higher in younger age groups? Almost 29percent of those 18 to 24 years old were current smokers. Did you also know that Nationwide 22.9 percentof high school students were smokers in 2002? If you broke down the percentage of smokers by race the numbers were as follows:

Whites: 23.6 percent

African Americans: 22.4 percent

Hispanics: 16.7 percent

American Indians/ Alaska Natives: 40.8 percent

Asian Americans: 13.3 percent

About half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die because of the habit. Each year, a staggering 440,000 people die in the US from tobacco use. Cigarettes kill more Americans each year than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for at least 30percent of all cancer deaths. It is a major cause of cancers of the lung, voice box, oral cavity, throat, and esophagus, and is a contributing cause in the development of cancers of the liver, kidney, stomach, colon and rectum.

Did you also know that 1 cigarette contains alcohol, poison, candle wax, toilet cleaner, and sewer gas and over 400 chemicals? Cigarettes aren't just bad for the people who smoke them, for every eight people who smoke one non-smoker dies from second hand smoke.

Do you like to look your best as much as you can. If you're a smoker you won't. Smoking causes your teeth and nails to turn yellow. Smoking is also responsible for every 1 in 6 deaths. And each time you smoke one cigarette takes 11 minutes out of your life.

In September 1990, the US Surgeon General outlined the benefits of smoking cessation:

Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. Benefits apply to persons with and without smoking-related disease.

Former smokers live longer than continuing smokers. For example, persons who quit smoking before age 50 have one-half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with continuing smokers.

Smoking cessation decreases the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.

Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby to that of women who never smoked.

The health benefits of smoking cessation far exceed any risks from the average 5-pound weight gain or any adverse psychological effects that may follow quitting.