May 31 is considered World No-Tobacco Day. This year’s theme is ‘Protect the Environment’. Tobacco kills mankind and our planet. Tobacco cultivation, production, and usage pollute our water, soil, and cities with chemical pollutants. Our lungs are closely related to the environment. Increasing environmental pollution is adversely affecting our lung health. Tobacco is a pollutant that should be completely eliminated to keep our lungs in good shape. It is said that around the world, around 5 million cigarettes are discarded yearly, making them the biggest pollutant on earth. The WHO estimates that 8 million deaths a year are caused by tobacco.
Smoking causes a variety of lung diseases. Smoking-related lung disease shows significant symptoms, and in some cases may even require a lung transplant. The diseases mentioned above are: –
1. Lung cancer and throat cancer
3. Interstitial Lung Disease
5. Allergy to tobacco smoke
COPD (Chronic Obtrusive Pulmonary Disease) is a chronic inflammatory respiratory disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Some of its symptoms include chronic cough, shortness of breath, and general health problems. COPD can be prevented and treated.
Lung Cancer – Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. Since most lung cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, any form of treatment will remain ineffective. That’s why it is always advisable for smokers to have their lungs checked which will help in detecting cancer at a very early stage.
Who should undergo screening?
1. More than 20 pack-years (pack-years is the number of years of smoking x number of packs of cigarettes/day).
2. Current smokers or those who have quit smoking within 15 years.
3. People aged between 50-80 years.
Symptoms of lung cancer include cough, phlegm, blood in the mucus, weight loss, and loss of appetite. In most cases, the symptoms do not appear until the disease is in its final stages. Smoking can also cause throat cancer / bronchial cancer.
Interstitial Lung Disease
It is a rare disease that causes permanent damage to the lungs. The main symptoms are cough and also steadily rising shortness of breath, which, if not already diagnosed or treated properly, can worsen respiratory problems and require oxygen. In this condition, the patient may need a lung transplant.
Asthma / Allergy
Smoking increases the symptoms of asthma as well as worsens nose and throat allergies.
Other complications caused by smoking
» Heart—Heart attack, Heart failure.
» Neurological—Stroke, cerebral hemorrhage.
» PVOD—Vascular disease of the legs.
» Behavioral problem—Insomnia.
How does smoking affect women?
Women who smoke are less likely to become pregnant and even if they get pregnant there are risks of miscarriage. Smoking can also cause birth defects in the baby. Other problems include low birth weight and premature birth.
Second-hand smoke is the smoke that comes out of cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and pipes. This is the smoke that the smoker exhales. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals that can cause cancer. Inhaling secondhand smoke, even for a short period of time, is harmful to people of all age groups. It can come from home, work, or in public places. Anyone who smokes for even a short period of time can develop health problems such as lung diseases, allergies, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and recurrent lung infections. Its effects on children are severe. As they grow older, they become more susceptible to the health problems of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause unexpected death (sudden infant death or infant death).
Give up cigarette smoking for your own good
If you want to safeguard your health and preserve nature, quit smoking immediately. Tobacco addiction is caused by a chemical called nicotine, which is found in tobacco. Pharmaco therapy – Nicotine therapy (Pharmacotherapy – nicotine replacement), varenicline/buprenorphine, and other common therapies can be used to stop smoking.
5 things to look for if you are planning to quit smoking:
1. Take a decision to discard the habit.
2. You can decide in which way you are planning to kick the habit. Maybe start reducing the number of cigarettes.
3. Talk to your doctor (nicotine therapy, medications).
4. Develop a healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise).
5. Ask for psychological support.
How We Can Help Others Quit Smoking
1. Identify smokers in your community.
2. Encourage them to quit smoking.
3. Determine their willingness to give up.
4. Help them to give up.
5. Follow their smoking habits.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
1. Improves public health and prolongs life expectancy.
2. Reduces the risk of cancer.
3. Reduces the risk of lung disease.
4. Reduces the risk of heart disease.
5. Improves reproductive health.
6. Improves quality of life.
7. Reduces financial burden.
8. Nature is protected.
Quitting smoking is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of smoking. On this Anti-Tobacco Day, let us all give up tobacco and take an oath to protect our beautiful environment.