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World No Tobacco Day – Battle Your Enemy, The Cigarette!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

World No Tobacco Day – Battle Your Enemy, The Cigarette!

Harmful effects of smoking

The World Health Organisation has pulled out all stops to drive home the fact that tobacco is lethal. And that is why they have designated May 31st as World No Tobacco Day. This is the day that campaigns are launched to remind people to steer clear of tobacco. This year’s theme is focused to protect the environment ”tobacco is killing us and our planet”. Tobacco consumption is not just about smoking but also about the smokeless forms available as gutkha and pan masala. It is important to understand that tobacco consumption in any form and any quantity is extremely harmful to our health and our planet.”.

Here are some problems caused by tobacco consumption:

  1. Cancer Risk

Whether you are puffing on a cigarette, a cigar, pipe, hookah or chewing tobacco, the most fearful outcome of regular consumption of tobacco is an increased risk of cancers in your body which can take away your life, health and wealth. 

2. Lung Damage

Your lungs have delicate little air sacks that cannot survive an onslaught of constant smoking. The smoke also damages the air passages leading in and out of the lungs. Once you begin to smoke regularly, infection sets in. With continued smoking, the infection worsens and gradually paves the way for lung cancer. Moreover, it aggravates asthma and pneumonia.

3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

This is a dangerous illness and unfortunately, there is no permanent cure. The more you smoke and the longer the duration of smoking, the greater the chances of your coming down with COPD. Some symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up phlegm
  • Extremely laboured breathing
  • Hypoxia (low levels of oxygen in the blood)

4. Heart Disorders –

Smoking causes your blood pressure to soar which makes you susceptible to Peripheral Arterial Disease. Plaque starts to accumulate along your blood vessels. This thickens them and makes them inflexible which restricts the supply of blood to the heart. If this continues for long, the muscles of the heart will start to die. This escalates the risk of a heart attack.

5. Makes you prone to diabetes –

Smokers are actually much more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than non-smokers are. It makes your body resistant to insulin. And if you had already been diagnosed with this debilitating disease before you picked up the habit of smoking, then it will make the symptoms worse.

6. Other  health effects of smoking  –

  • Smoking may make it difficult for you to conceive.
  • Smoking may give men erectile dysfunction.
  • It may weaken your immunity.
  • Smoking may even be the cause of osteoporosis.
  • Affect your mental health

What should you do?

You need to stop consuming tobacco the right way. But if you are a chain smoker, maybe you will have to gradually wean yourself off smoking. So, in the meantime try a nicotine patch or other substitutes for nicotine with a doctor’s advice and undergo the following tests to assess the state of your health:

  • Spirometry: It is a breathing test that analyses your lung function.
  • Chest x-rays: This will allow your doctor to take a look at your heart and lungs.
  • CT Angiography: This test can detect the early stages of lung cancer.
  • ECG: To detect if any damage has been done to your heart by measuring its beats and rhythm.
  • Dental health Checkup- to get checked for any signs of oral cancers or pre-cancerous lesions
  • Diabetes test: To monitor your blood sugar level.

Smoking cessation is nowadays aided by many medicines, nicotine replacement and psychotherapy but the big problem is that while many people can cease smoking for a few days, the urge to smoke is overwhelming and relapse rates are high.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

The Government’s preventive measures against consuming tobacco

It is the 21st century and the dependency of a large chunk of people still hangs on tobacco, one of the foremost preventable causes of death, killing almost half of the population in the world. According to WHO’s Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2015, tobacco is consumed and affects 14.6 per cent of the youth and 14 percent of the adult population. Governments all over the world issue notices and advertisements against the consumption of tobacco, yet 6 million people die due to diseases caused by tobacco, while 0.6 million due to second-hand (passive) smoking. 

Compared to no smoking, smoking even one cigarette per day carries a 40-50 times risk of heart disease and stroke, so be mindful when you think of smoking even one cigarette per day.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Also Read: Why Does Nicotine Make You Poop: Decoding Its Effects on Digestion

The Government of India has taken certain steps to curb smoking as well as other forms of tobacco consumption:

  • Enactment of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, (COTPA) 2003.
  • The Government has launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in 2007-08, to create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption.
  • Thousands of people have been offered help to quit tobacco use through tobacco cessation centres.
  • Ratification has been made of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
  • Production and supply of tobacco products have been reduced with notices being sent to tobacco-producing factories.
  • It has been ensured that there has been the effective implementation of the anti-tobacco laws.
  • If there is any depiction of tobacco products or their use in films and TV programmes, there is a set of rules like including a footnote ‘Smoking is injurious to health’ or mentioning that none of the actors supports smoking is mandatory.
  • Pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages to be made more prominent to sway people away.
  • Various public awareness campaigns through a variety of media have been planned and conducted against the ill effects of tobacco.

The Government of India has banned certain kinds of smokeless tobacco products like gutkha and pan masala under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Other tobacco products are regulated by the COTPA 2003 which contains provisions, like

  • Ban on the sale of tobacco products to minors
  • Ban on the sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institution
  • Ban on promotions, advertisements and encouragements of tobacco products.

Certain states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Jharkhand had the highest number of tobacco users in India, especially the states of the North. The state governments/union territories of these states and UTs have issued orders/notifications regarding a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes.

Smoking & consuming tobacco can have a terrible impact on your health. This World No Tobacco Day, vow to lay off tobacco not just to avert the ailments it triggers but also for the sake of your loved ones.

Read More: How To Quit Smoking?

Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.

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