Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, but it is also the largest preventable cause of death. Read the article to know how smoking tobacco can affect various parts of your body.
Tobacco, taken in any form, can lead to many diseases, including cancers. According to the data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, in low and middle-income countries (including India), 41 % of men and 5 % of women smoke. But the most important concern is the rising trend of smoking in developing countries like India.
Tobacco is used in the form of smoking, chewing, sniffing, and dipping. Among them, smoking is the most prevalent form. There are many diseases caused by smoking like peripheral arterial disease, stroke, heart diseases, and lung diseases like COPD, but the most dreaded and frightening disease is cancer. There are many cancers in various sites or organs in the body, but the most definitive evidence for smoking-associated cancer is in the following sites:
4. Colon and rectum.
9. Oral cavity.
Effects of Smoking on the Body:
Some of the side effects of smoking are:
Lung cancer - It is the most common cause of death due to smoking, and the leading cause of cancer deaths.
Constricted blood vessels - As nicotine constricts your blood vessels, it increases the risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
Bronchitis - It is the inflammation of the tubes that carry air to your lungs.
Persistent cough - Airway gets damaged, which results in continuous coughing.
High cholesterol - Smoking, that is tobacco smoke raises the total cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It also reduces HDL (good) cholesterol and increases LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood.
Heart disease - Active and passive smoking both increases the risk of heart diseases.
COPD - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group of diseases affecting the lungs like emphysema, asthma, and bronchitis. It is more common in smokers.
Lowers immunity - Smoking affects your immune system, which prevents it from effectively fighting off infections.
Infertility - Smokers commonly have fertility problems.
Erectile dysfunction - As smoking constricts blood flow, men who smoke suffer from erectile dysfunction.
Blood clots - Blood clots are commonly seen in people who smoke. It increases the risk of heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.
Accelerates aging - Less blood flow due to constricted vessels results in poor nutrition supply to the skin. This makes the skin and wrinkly, making you look older.
Yellow fingers and teeth - Nicotine stains can make your nails and teeth look dirty and yellow.
Loss of appetite.
Vision problems - It increases the risk of eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degenerations.
Early menopause - Women who smoke enter menopause earlier.
Nicotine is the major addictive substance and primary reinforcer of continued smoking, and there are 72 measurable carcinogens in smoking. People who have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime are particularly at risk for developing cancer. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), after quitting smoking for ten years, the risk of lung cancer reduces to about half that of a smoker.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy:
As nicotine is the major addictive substance and it is not a carcinogen, pharmacotherapy agents for nicotine replacement are available in various forms like:
1. Transdermal patches (to be applied over the skin).
2. Chewing gum.
4. Nasal spray.
6. Tablet Bupropion.
7. Tablet Vereniciline.
The last two should be taken only on the advice of a medical professional. So, consult a physician for smoking cessation before it is too late.
Last reviewed at:
25 Oct 2019 - 2 min read
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