Today, May 31 is celebrated as the Word No Tobacco Day to raise awareness about the health hazards of smoking and chewing tobacco all across the world. Tobacco is often referred to as a ‘slow killer’. According to a survey undertaken by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is considered to be one of the worst public health threats that the world has ever faced. Annually, tobacco kills more than 80 lakh people across the world with 70 lakh die due to direct consumption of tobacco, whereas 10 lakh die due to secondhand smoking.
Let us understand why “Smoking is injurious”
“Smoking is Injurious”- a phrase that is inevitable to avoid. Let it be cinema theatres, or going for a dine, or simply watching television at home, the phrase finds a way to warn one.
Smoking, which is the most common way of consuming tobacco, is known for causing havoc to the lungs. Several experiments have found the residue of tar on the lungs of active smokers. Lung cancer, which claims more lives than any form of cancer, is mostly caused by smoking. It has been found that almost 87% of cases of lung cancer is the result of smoking cigarettes/bidis. After a person gets diagnosed with lung cancer, the span him/her being alive is between 1-5 years.
Apart from lung cancer smoking causes other respiratory diseases such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Chronic bronchitis, Emphysema, asthma, and tuberculosis.
Smoking has a significant negative impact on pregnant women. It has been found that women who smoke can find it more difficult to become pregnant. During pregnancy, if a woman smokes, it increases risks for the baby, which includes: Premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, and infant illnesses. When it comes to male, smoking is considered to be one of the reasons to cause impotence. It is known to decrease the sperm count in male.
Smoking also increases the risk of having a stroke by 2 to 4 times. Strokes directly cause brain damage and death. Inhaling tobacco can make bones brittle. Smoking also causes plaque to build up in the blood. Plaque sticks to the walls of arteries and increases the risk of reducing blood flow, causing clotting. Needless to say, smoking also hampers one’s immune system.
Where does India stand when it comes to tobacco consumption?
India ranks second in the overall tobacco consumption lists. According to the WHO report, around 10 lakh people die due to tobacco. In India, Bidis (traditional cigarettes) killed more than 5.8 lakh people in 2011. Bidis are more consumed in rural parts of the country. Around 34.6% of adults in India are smokers. The younger generation suffers the most as under the peer pressure or in an attempt to look cool, they take up smoking, which in the later stage in life, they fail to quit. However, the only silver lining is the fact that 50% of Indian smokers wish to leave the habit, but fail to do so. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2017) showed that over 55% of smokers and 50% of smokeless tobacco users in India want to quit the habit, but have been unsuccessful, reported India Today.
How to help one quit smoking?
It had been found that picture warning which portrays hard-hitting anti-tobacco advertisement and graphics pack warnings have increased the numbers of smokers to quit. These graphics warnings prevent smokers from smoking in front of children or indoors. A study conducted in countries like Singapore, Brazil, Canada, and Thailand showed that pictorial warnings educated smokers about the harms of tobacco.
According to multiple studies which drew a comparison between the effectiveness of gums and nicotine free patches with that of e-cigarettes, the later one proved to be more productive. In a recent study in February, half the smokers in a survey of 900 smokers were assigned with e-cigarettes and the other half were provided with nicotine free patches and gums. The result revealed that 18% of smokers who consumed e-cigarettes, successfully quit smoking compared to 10% to that of nicotine patches and gums.
Behavioural therapy like individual counselling, Nicotine-replacement therapy and medication helps to reduce the urge to smoke.
The Logical Indian advises to all the smokers for their own sake and to provide a better future to their loved ones, try to quit smoking.