BEFORE YOU LIT ANOTHER STICK; WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SMOKING

Over the years government, health practitioners, researchers and world health organization has continuously emphasized on the hazards associated with smooking. This hazard is not only to the smokers themselves but also to others around them (second hand smoking).

The emphasis on the health implications of smoking borrows credence from overwhelming evidence of various research that has been carried out in this regard.

There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

Tri-county cessation center had reported that about 599 additives where approved by the U.S government for use in the manufacturing of cigarettes.

However these ingredients which was approved as additives were not tested by burning them. It is by burning these substances that changes their properties often for the worse.

Some of the harmful substances in cigarette smoke include:

  • Cadmiun — used in battery
  • Polonium — a radioactive element
  • Arsenic — a lethal poison
  • Ammoniac — detergent(toilet cleaner)
  • Nicotin — used in herbicides and insecticides
  • Methanol — used as rocket fuel
  • Naphthalene — a moth repellant
  • Toluene — an industrial solvent
  • Cyanhydric acid — used in the gas chambers
  • Carbon monoxide — found in exhaust fumes
  • Vinyl chloride  — used in plastic materials
  • Butane — lighter fluid
  • Steric Acids — candle wax
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichloethane(DDT) — an insecticide
  • Hexamine(used in barbecue lighter) — in acidic environment it is converted to toxic formaldehyde, which is their main hazard for toxicity by ingestion.

According to Center for Disease Control, Smoking is dangerous and can harm nearly every organ of the body. It Causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases.

Smoking as one of the leading preventable cause of death. 

WHO reports that tobacco kills up to half of its users. It kills around 6 million people each year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Nearly 80% of the world’s 1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. The implications of this statement is that developing countries bear the brunt but it’s not only limited to them.

In the US, CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year. This is about one in five deaths and the reports has it that smoking causes more deaths each year than all of these combined:

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Illegal drug use
  •  Alcohol use
  • Motor vehicle injuries
  • Firearm-related incidents

Smoking and Increased Health Risks

Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.

  • Smoking is estimated to increase the risk
  • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • For stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times
  • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times

Smoking causes diminished overall health, such as self-reported poor health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Smokers are at greater risk for diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).

Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease—the leading causes of death in the United States.

Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.

Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots can also form.

A heart attack occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to your heart. When this happens, your heart cannot get enough oxygen. This damages the heart muscle, and part of the heart muscle can die.

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to part of your brain or when a blood vessel in or around your brain bursts.

Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flow to your legs and skin.

Smoking and Respiratory Disease

Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.

Lung diseases caused by smoking include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.

If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.

Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.

Smoking and Cancer

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body such as the;
Bladder

  • Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
  • Cervix
  • Colon and rectum (colorectal)
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney and ureter
  • Larynx
  • Liver
  • Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Trachea, bronchus, and lung

If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen. Smoking increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.

Smoking and Other Health Risks

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overal health.

Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant and can affect her baby’s health before and after birth. Smoking increases risks for:

  • Preterm (early) delivery
  • Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Orofacial clefts in infants
  • Smoking can also affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage (loss of the pregnancy).

Smoking can affect bone health.

Women past childbearing years who smoke have lower bone density(weaker bones) than women who never smoked and are at greater risk for broken bones.

Smoking affects the health of your teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss.
Smoking can increase your risk for cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens that makes it hard for you to see) and age-related macular degeneration (damage to a small spot near the center of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision).

Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and can make it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers.

Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body. It can cause inflammation and adverse effects on immune function.
Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

Quitting and Reduced Risks

Do you know that quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
Do you know that within 2 to 5 years after quitting smoking, your risk for stroke could fall to about the same as a nonsmokers.

Do you know that if you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
Do you know that ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.

WAY OUT ?

The moves to introduce plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products can save lives by reducing demand for tobacco products, according to WHO and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat (WHO FCTC).

Plain packaging of tobacco products restricts or prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

Australia in 2012 December became the first country to fully implement plain packaging. On 20 May 2016, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland each began implementation of plain packaging. Ireland is also preparing to introduce the measure, while other countries are exploring the option.

Smoking kills. Quit and save yourself and your loved ones the pain