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Smoking - a Preventable Cause of Death

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Smoking - a Preventable Cause of Death

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Refraining from tobacco use is one of the largest preventable cause of death. Read the article to know how smoking tobacco can affect various body parts.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At October 25, 2019
Reviewed AtFebruary 21, 2023

Introduction:

Tobacco, taken in any form, can lead to many diseases, including cancers. According to the data collected from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, in low and middle-income countries (including India), 41% of men and 5% of women are smokers. 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 disease, and lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

(COPD); however, the most dreaded and frightening disease is cancer.

There are many cancers in various areas or organs in the body, but the most definitive evidence for smoking-associated cancer is seen in the following areas:

  • Lung.

  • Bladder.

  • Cervix.

  • Colon and rectum.

  • Esophagus.

  • Kidney.

  • Larynx.

  • Liver.

  • Oral cavity.

  • Pancreas.

  • Stomach.

What Are the Side-Effects of Smoking on the Body?

Some of the side effects of smoking are:

1. Lung Cancer - It is the most common cause of death due to smoking and the leading cause of cancer deaths.

2. Constricted Blood Vessels - As nicotine constricts your blood vessels, it increases the risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.

3. Bronchitis - It is the inflammation of the tubes that carry air to your lungs.

4. Persistent cough - Airway gets damaged, which results in continuous coughing.

5. 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.

6. Heart Disease - Active and passive smoking, both increases the risk of heart disease.

7. COPD - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group of diseases affecting the lungs like emphysema, asthma, and bronchitis. It is more common in smokers.

8. Lowers Immunity - Smoking affects the immune system, which prevents it from effectively fighting off infections.

9. Infertility - Smokers commonly have fertility problems.

10. Loss of Libido- People who smoke often experience low sex drive.

11. Erectile Dysfunction - As smoking constricts the blood flow, men who smoke suffer from erectile dysfunction.

12. Blood Clots - Blood clots are commonly seen in people who smoke. It increases the risk of heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.

13. Accelerates Aging - Less blood flow due to constricted vessels results in poor nutrition supply to the skin. This stimulates the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines and makes the individual look older.

14. Yellow Fingers and Teeth - Nicotine stains can make your nails and teeth look dirty and yellow, resulting in an unpleasant smile. Apart from this, smoking increases the deposition of tartar, making the gums weaker and ultimately losing the tooth.

15. Loss of Appetite- Overall general health gets affected because the person feels less hungry.

16. Vision Problems - It increases the risk of eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

17. Early Menopause - Women who smoke enter menopause earlier.

18. Complications in Surgical Procedures- Smokingabrupts the healing process after a surgical procedure. Therefore, it can create complications and hamper the surgery results. Because of this reason, before any surgical procedures (minor or major), including dental surgeries or cosmetic surgeries, patients are advised to stop smoking before and after the surgery.

19. Effects of Passive Smoking - Smokers can harm the people surrounding them because the harmful smoke can be inhaled by them and can enter their lungs. This can make their lungs weak. Therefore, a smoker can pass on the side effects of smoking to his or her family.

What Are the Side-Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy?

Smoking is not good for a woman who wants to conceive. Smoking has ill effects on the development of the baby and the health of the mother. Although in India, the percentage of women who smoke is lesser than in western countries, there is still some percentage of pregnancies that get complicated because of smoking. In addition, men who smoke face fertility issues as sperms get affected by smoking. The side effects of smoking on pregnancy are discussed below.

  1. Premature delivery of a baby, which is called preterm birth.

  2. Death of the baby before or at the time of delivery can occur, which is called a stillbirth.

  3. A baby could be born with low birth weight because of smoking.

  4. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

  5. Ectopic pregnancy.

  6. Birth defects in the newborn child.

  7. Increase in the chances of miscarriage.

  8. Reduces fertility and causes problems in conceiving.

What Are the Side Effects of Nicotine?

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.

What Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

As nicotine is a major addictive substance and it is not a carcinogen, pharmacotherapy agents for nicotine replacement are available in various forms, which are mentioned below.

1. Transdermal patches (to be applied over the skin).

2. Chewing gum.

3. Lozenge.

4. Nasal spray.

5. Inhaler.

6. Tablet Bupropion.

7. Tablet Varenicline.

The last two should be taken only on the advice of a medical professional.

How Dangerous Is Smoking?

Recent data in the United States has shown that smoking causes more deaths worldwide. Smoking is responsible for nine out of ten lung cancer deaths in both men and women.

Smoking is to blame for eight out of every ten chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) deaths. Additionally, this addiction causes one in five deaths in the United States. Smoking has been considered more dangerous than alcohol.

Conclusion:

Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of death globally. This addiction causes many health hazards and affects the whole body. Therefore, an individual should quit smoking as soon as possible to live a healthy life.

So, consult a physician for smoking cessation before it is too late.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Can a Person Prevent Smoking?

Extending support and addressing the addiction and habit of smoking can help prevent smoking. Enforcement of strict laws, regulating tobacco products, and having smoke-free policies are some ways to prevent smoking.

2.

To What Extent Does Smoking Increase the Chances of Death?

A smoker loses at least 11 minutes of their life with every cigarette. In addition, smoking remains one of the significant risk factors for lung cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), quitting smoking before the age of 40 can reduce the risk of dying from cancer by 90 %.

3.

Cessation of Smoking Is Categorized in Which Type of Prevention?

Smoking cessation is a primary prevention type related to preventing smoking initiation. Primary prevention is achieved by reducing exposure to risk factors, such as age-limit purchasing, smokeless zones, and restrictions at the school, especially among the youth and lower-income people.

4.

What Makes People Smoke?

Smoking tobacco releases dopamine in the brain, which makes the person feel good. Unfortunately, over time the brain starts to crave the same feeling and tempts them to take more and more tobacco. Nicotine in cigarettes is the main ingredient to make one addicted to smoking. Other factors may include peer pressure, parental influence, stress factors, and influence by the media.

5.

What Makes a Person Choose Smoking?

Smoking is a voluntary decision that many smokers report to increase their focus. Smokers claim smoking speeds up their action and concentration and thereby enjoy the ritual of smoking. Often smoking is seen as a lifestyle choice along with drinking alcohol, as it has a powerful influence on an individual's perception.

6.

Who Are More Vulnerable to Smoke?

Smoking is primarily reported in the age group of 18 to 28 years, who usually start smoking to get a feel for it or presume it is an incredible act. Poor people living in stressful conditions often turn to smoking. Smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products is more evident in men than women.

7.

Does Smoking Justify as a Human Right?

Smoking tobacco is a personal decision of a person. However, smoking in public places can pollute the environment. It creates unhealthy air for non-smokers, violating their fundamental rights per the constitutional provisions. Furthermore, smoking increases the risk of cancer of second-hand smokers and should be discouraged.

8.

Is It Okay to Have Ten to Twelve Cigarettes a Day?

Smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of cancer when compared to non-smokers. Smoking excessively (ten to twelve cigarettes) increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by 40 percent. It also increases the risk of lung cancer and lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition, chemicals inhaled during smoking can cause irreparable damage to the mind and body.

9.

Does Smoking Relieve Tension and Stress?

Nicotine in the cigarette is a mood-altering drug that camouflages frustration, anger, and anxiety. It affects the dopamine release in the brain resulting in the person experiencing positivity and calm. However, the increase in dopamine is short–lived and can cause withdrawal symptoms.

10.

Who Are Light Smokers?

People who are reported to smoke less than one pack daily can be considered light smokers. Light smokers account for about 11 percent of smokers. They are usually males, more educated, and can be categorized as social smokers under the radar of doctors or others helping them to quit smoking.

11.

Is It Possible for Smokers to Have Healthy Lungs?

Mutations in specific patients' DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) can enhance their lung function and mask the impact of smoking. In addition, the genetic variants of these people allow them to have a healthy life despite long-term exposure to carcinogens that do not develop cancers or other lung diseases.

12.

What Is More Dangerous, Obesity or Smoking?

Obesity rates put people at higher risk of many life-threatening diseases, including cancer and heart problems. Obese patients are at increased risk for other chronic conditions that may further weaken the immune system, leaving the body unable to fight infections or diseases.

13.

Can Smoking Affect Running?

Smoking cigarettes decreases lung capacity or affects performance. Running requires more oxygen. The increased tissue inflammation and narrow airways result in less oxygen supply to the lungs, resulting in decreased energy and strength. A smoker fails to have better blood circulation and low oxygen levels.

14.

Does Smoking Affect Aging?

Cigarette chemicals can irritate the skin and speed normal aging by causing wrinkles, dryness, and skin flaking. It is estimated that smoking 30 cigarettes a day can add 14 extra years to one’s life and make one look older.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Amit Saklani
Dr. Amit Saklani

Radiotherapy

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nicotine replacement therapycigarette smokingcopdtobaccolung cancer
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