SAY NO TO TOBACCO
Every time you smoke a cigarette, toxic gases pass into your lungs, then into your bloodstream where they are blown out to every organ in your body. A cigarette is made of tobacco leaves which contain nicotine and collection of other hazardous compounds that cause cancer. Tobacco smoke contains the pestilential gases including carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, as well as trace amounts of harmful radioactive particles. All tobacco products including cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobaccos and snuff, are injurious to health.
Nicotine is an addictive substance that drifts into your body when you breathe in tobacco smoke. It then enters your bloodstream and stimulates your brain giving a delightful feeling. When your brain gets nicotine, it makes you numb and creates in you a desire to consume more and more nicotine. Smoking is a big cause of deaths – in fact, one in every five deaths in Pakistan is attributed to smoking. If you smoke, the risk of your falling prey to major health complications including heart diseases, stroke, lung cancer increases and even death may occur from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Smoking causes cardiovascular ailments. When nicotine streams through your adrenal glands, it stimulates the discharge of epinephrine, a hormone that raises your blood pressure. In accumulation, nitrogen and carbon monoxide harm your blood vessels. Oily deposits, also called plaque, can build up in them and become huge enough to choke the arteries thus causing a reduction in blood flow. Subsequently, in a condition termed atherosclerosis in coronary arteries, disease atherosclerosis tightens the arteries that supply the heart. It reduces the supply of oxygen to your heart muscles.
Smoking also increases the chances of blood clotting – coagulation – for the reason that it makes the platelets in your blood clump together. Smoking also causes peripheral vascular disease in which atherosclerosis plaque clogs the large blood vessels in your arms and legs. Smoking damages two main parts of your lungs: your airways, also called bronchial tubes, and small air sac termed alveoli. With each breath, air travels down your windpipe called the trachea and goes into your lungs through the bronchial tubes. The air then travels into thousands of tiny alveoli where oxygen from the air moves into your veins and left-over carbon dioxide moves out of your bloodstream. Tiny hair-like projections termed as cilia, hovering your bronchial tubes sweep harmful elements out of your lungs. Tobacco smoke causes coagulations in the lining of your bronchial tubes causing the swells and mucus. Smoking also slackens the movement of cilia, initiating some of the smoke and mucus halt in your lungs. When you are asleep, some of cilia recuperates and starts pushing extra pollutant and mucus out of your lungs. When you wake up, your body joins to expel this material; thus, you cough repetitively – a state known as smoker’s cough.
Tobacco smoke also impairs your alveoli, making harder for oxygen and carbon dioxide to regulate with your blood. Over time, even such slight amounts of oxygen can influence your blood that you possibly will develop emphysema, a state in which you need to wheeze for every breath and place an oxygen tube under your nose in order to breath. These are jointly termed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – a plodding loss of the capacity to breathe for which there is no cure.
Tobacco smoke contains at least 40 cancer-causing substances, termed as carcinogens, as well as cyanide, formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia. In your body, healthy cells grow, make new cells and die. Genetic material inside each cell called DNA disturbs this progression. If you smoke, noxious chemicals can harm the DNA in your cells. As a result, the destructive cells generate new unhealthy cells, which propagate out of control and may spread to other parts of your body.
The most common cancer in the world is lung cancer, with over a million new cases identified every year. Detrimental chemicals in cigarette can root cancer in other organs too; such as in the body fluid and bone marrow, oral, larynx, gullet, oesophagus, gastric, pancreas, offal, bladder, uterus and cervix. Infertility may also be triggered by smoking toxic chemicals in both men and women. If a pregnant woman smokes, her baby may be exposed to fatal chemicals, activating an excessive peril of miscarriage, premature delivery, abortion, infant’s death, besides other complications. Smoking is also precarious for the lactating mothers as nicotine passes to the baby through mother’s milk which can cause restiveness, fast heartbeat, nausea, episodic sleep and diarrhoea, as well as stumpy bone compactness.
Facts about tobacco, heart and other cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 12 percent of all heart disease deaths. Tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.
The global tobacco epidemic kills more than 7 million people each year, of which close to 900,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Nearly 80 percent of the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
The WHO MPOWER measures are in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and can be used by governments to reduce tobacco use and protect people from NCDs. These measures include:
1. Protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke by creating completely smoke-free indoor public places, workplaces and public transport;
2. Offering help to quit tobacco (cost-covered, population-wide support, including brief advice by health care providers and national toll-free quit lines);
3. Warning about the dangers of tobacco by implementing plain/standardized packaging, and/or large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packages, and implementing effective anti-tobacco mass media campaigns that inform the public about the harms tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure;
4. Enforcing comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and
5. Raising taxes on tobacco products and make them less affordable.