The National Health Portal of India has designated the 2nd Wednesday of March as the No-Smoking Day. It has been done to urge people to give up smoking and be aware of its harmful effects. Today, thanks to extensive awareness programmes, the world is waking up to the terrible dangers of smoking. But despite that, the number of smokers is hardly declining. That is why a No-Smoking Day is important- it acts as a reminder for smokers to give up this habit that can claim their life.
Here are a few global stats on smoking –
- Nearly half of the people (globally) who are chain smokers die because of health complications arising out of tobacco usage.
- Tobacco smoke claims 6 million lives around the world every year. The sad truth is nearly 600,000 of the people who lost their lives were non-smokers. Their deaths were caused by second-hand smoking.
- According to statistics, you lose 11 minutes of your life with every cigarette that you smoke.
- 25% of all cardiovascular deaths and 75% of the deaths caused by lung diseases are caused by smoking.
Smoking statistics in India
- 1 million people in India lose their lives to smoking every year.
- WHO estimates that nearly 70% of adult males in India smoke. The percentage is lower among females (13-15%).
- 25% of Indians are unaware of the link between smoking and heart diseases.
How does smoking damage your health?
Most of us know that smoking destroys your lungs and can severely damage your heart. Tobacco particles can lead to pneumonia, emphysema, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Is that all that smoking does? No! Here are a few other health hazards associated with smoking you may not have heard about.
Macular degeneration sets in as we grow older and can trigger blindness. Smoking speeds it up.
- Type 2 diabetes
Tobacco particles can make your body immune to insulin (regulates the use of blood in your body) which causes a build-up of sugar and makes your blood sugar level inch upwards.
- High blood pressure
Smoking constricts your blood vessels. That means blood will not be able to pass through them with ease. This is how smoking can give you hypertension.
- Erectile dysfunction
Seamless blood flow is crucial to maintain an erection. But since smoking narrows blood vessels, the blood supply to the penis is disrupted and this triggers erectile dysfunction.
- Ectopic pregnancy
What is an ectopic pregnancy? This is a life-endangering pregnancy and it happens when the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. According to surveys, smokers are more likely to develop this kind of pregnancy than non-smokers.
- Weaker bones
Smoking will lower your bone density. What does that translate to? It means you will be more vulnerable to fractures and osteoporosis.
- Birth defects
If a pregnant woman smokes or is exposed to tobacco smoke, then she is likely to give birth to a baby with a cleft lip or cleft palate.
How to quit smoking?
If you are a habitual smoker, giving it up can be hard. But ask yourself, is it worth the pain that may follow? A little bit of reflection can convince most people to give up smoking.
- Ask your loved ones to intervene. With persuasion (tell them to keep an eye on you), you can quit smoking.
- Do not fool yourself into thinking you can slowly phase yourself out of smoking. Smoking fewer cigarettes will not help. If you allow your body to enjoy the effects of smoking, you will never be able to give it up. So you have to stop in one go.
- Try chewing gum (non-sugared ones). This will keep your mind distracted.
- Chain-smokers need professional help. Seek therapy.
Smoking is disastrous. The sooner you quit, the better. Take all the help you need to quit smoking and enjoy good health.