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Over the years government, health practitioners, researchers and world health organization hascontinuously emphasized on the hazards associated withsmooking. This hazard is not only to the smokersthemselves but also to others around them (second hand-smoking).
The emphasis on the health implications of smokingborrows credence from overwhelming evidence of variousresearch 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 599additives where approved by the U.S government for usein the manufacturing of cigarettes. However theseingredients which was approved as additives were nottested by burning them. It is by burning these substancesthat 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 isdangerous and can harm nearly every organ of the body. It Causes many diseases and reduces the health ofsmokers in general. Quitting smoking lowers your risk forsmoking-related diseases.
Smoking as one of the leading preventable cause of death.
WHO reports that tobacco kills up to half of its users. Itkills around 6 million people each year. More than 5million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of nonsmokers 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 countriesbear the brunt but it’s not only limited to them.
In the US, CDC reports that cigarette smoking causesmore than 480,000 deaths each year. This is about one infive deaths and the reports has it that smoking causesmore 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 developheart 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 theheart 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 heartbeat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots canalso form.
A heart attack occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to your heart. When this happens, your heart cannot getenough oxygen. This damages the heart muscle, and partof the heart muscle can die.
A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to partof your brain or when a blood vessel in or around yourbrain bursts.
Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flowto your legs and skin.
Smoking and Respiratory Disease
Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging yourairways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in yourlungs.
Lung diseases caused by smoking include ChronicObstructive Pulmonary Disease, which includesemphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attackor make an attack worse. Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPDthan nonsmokers.
Smoking and Cancer Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your bodysuch as the;
. Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
. Cervix . Colon and rectum (colorectal)
. Kidney and ureter
. Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
. Trachea, bronchus, and lung
If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths inthe United States would not happen. Smoking increasesthe risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancerpatients and survivors.
Smoking and Other Health Risks
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body andaffects a person’s overal health. Smoking can make it harder for a woman to becomepregnant and can affect her baby’s health before andafter 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 whonever smoked and are at greater risk for brokenbones.
. 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 youto see) and age-related macular degeneration(damage to a small spot near the center of theretina, 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 developingdiabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers thannonsmokers.
. 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 cardiovascularrisks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
Do you know that within 2 to 5 years after quittingsmoking, your risk for stroke could fall to about the sameas a nonsmokers.
Do you know that if you quit smoking, your risks forcancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladderdrop by half within 5 years.
Do you know that ten years after you quit smoking, yourrisk for lung cancer drops by half.
WAY OUT ?
The moves to introduce plain (standardized) packaging oftobacco products can save lives by reducing demand fortobacco products, according to WHO and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat (WHO FCTC).
Plain packaging of tobacco products restricts or prohibitsthe use of logos, colours, brand images and promotionalinformation on packaging other than brand and productnames displayed in a standard colour and font style.
Australia in 2012 December became the first country tofully implement plain packaging. On 20 May 2016, Franceand the United Kingdom of Great Britain and NorthernIreland each began implementation of plain packaging. Ireland is also preparing to introduce the measure, whileother countries are exploring the option.
Smoking kills. Quit and safe yourself and your loved onesthe pain.
By Osonwa Ikechukwu