Say no to tobacco, yes to life!
Tobacco is the biggest menace of public health today. This is not an understatement. For, the effects of tobacco use, as we all know, are destructive and widespread. Tobacco is one of the primary causes of cancers and cardiac problems. Many youngsters nowadays, in both cities and rural areas, are getting addicted to tobacco use in various forms (chewing tobacco leaves, Ghutka and Beedis, Cigarettes, Cigars, Chillum and Hookahs) which in the long run have an adverse effect on health and life of the population.
According to a recent study conducted by the American Cancer Society, almost 30 percent of the Indian population in the age group of 15 years and above, use some form of tobacco.
Tobacco smoke contains approximately 4000 chemicals in cigarettes, hundreds of which are toxic like formaldehyde, ammonia and cadmium. These constituents of cigarettes have a detrimental effect on everything, from the body’s immunity to the functioning of the organs. It reduces human life span by 25 years. Smoking is one of the leading preventable causes of death. A study by World Health Organisation (WHO) says that smoking-related deaths worldwide are set to surpass nine million annually by 2020, seven million of which will occur in developing nations, like India.
Smoking not only endangers health of the active smoker but also affects the innocent passive smokers too. It has been scientifically proven that smoking causes cancer and a host of other diseases like Emphysema, Bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease, Coronary artery disease, Liver cancer, Prostate cancer, Erectile dysfunction in men, Stomach cancer, Bladder and kidney cancer, Acute myeloid leukemia, Cataracts, Cervical cancer, Kidney cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Periodontitis, Pneumonia, Oral, Buccal, Laryngopharyngeal and Lung Cancer, but somehow even this formidable list does not act as a deterrent for addicted smokers to quit smoking.
Research reveals some startling facts
- Smoking tobacco triples your risk of heart attack
- Smoking just 8 cigarettes a day doubles your heart attack risk
- Light smokers (less than 10 cigarettes per day) who give up smoking, return to normal non-smoking risk of heart attack after 3 to 5 years
- Heavy smokers (more than 20 cigarettes per day) who give up smoking, have a 22% higher heart attack risk 20 years after they quit
- 22 hours per week exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) raises heart attack risk by 45%
Nicotine is addictive and increases cholesterol levels in your body. Studies have shown that once nicotine enters the system, traces remain in every part of the body, even in breast milk! Using tobacco severely affects women’s health too in the form of reduced fertility and a higher risk of miscarriage, early delivery (premature birth), and stillbirth. Though not all of these health problems related to smoking result in deaths, the illnesses can limit one’s daily life by making it harder to breathe, work or play.
There is, however, good news for smokers trying to quit smoking.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) which includes nicotine gum, nicotine patches, lozenges and inhalers are designed to help smokers quit the habit. NRT work by releasing a small amount of nicotine into the bloodstream, but without the dangerous effects of inhaling tobacco smoke. This provides quick relief from the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that you get when you stop smoking, and allows you to cope with the psychological urge.
Electronic cigarettes are another alternative which help people quit smoking. Smoke-free E-cigarettes have batteries instead of tobacco, cartridges instead of nicotine, water vapor instead of smoke! Though NRT and E-cigarettes have been successful in tackling quitting smoking, they are not the ultimate solution. Smoking cessation has immediate as well as long-term benefits. Within 12 hours after you have your last cigarette, your body will begin to heal itself. The levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system will decline rapidly, and your heart and lungs will begin to repair the damage caused by cigarette smoke. Hence let us take a pledge to quit smoking and allow our loved ones to breathe free too.