Capt(Dr) Azhar Khan
Each year World Health Organisation(WHO) holds World No Tobacco Day on May 31. Their goal is to spread awareness about the risks of tobacco use and how we can make the world tobacco free.Around 6 million people die from tobacco-related ailments every year. Let’s try to know this topic more.
What is tobacco?
Tobacco is a plant originally indigenous to the Americas which is now grown across the world. Its leaves contain high levels of the addictive chemical nicotine and many cancer-causing chemicals, especially polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
World Tabacoo Day
Forms in which tobacco is used
The leaves may be smoked (in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes), smokeless which is applied to the gums (as dipping and chewing tobacco), or inhaled (as snuff).
Yes there are plenty of harmful chemicals in tobacco. It has poisonous substances (toxins), cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and Nicotine(an addictive substance).
Does tobacco cause cancer?
Yes. Tobacco causes oral cancer, lung cancer, eosophagus cancer, stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Does tobacco cause other disease?
Yes. It can cause heart attack, gangrene, staining of teeth, periodontitis, oral lesions like leukoplakia, effects fertility in men and women etc.
Status of tobacco use in India
India is the 2nd largest producer of tobacco after China.
Of the total tobacco products, 48.5% consumed as chewing tobacco, 38% as bidis and 14% as cigarettes.
Smoking kills 1million people annually in India.
India is a home of 12% world’s smokers (WHO).
Can a user get addicted to tobacco?
Yes tobacco has a very addictive substance in it which is nicotine. 80-90% of people who use tobacco are addicted to nicotine.Users of tobacco products have comparable amount of nicotine in their blood. Smokeless tobacco when kept in the buccal or labial vestibule in oral cavity, nicotine gets absorbed via the mucosa in to the blood stream.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows that the nicotine content in different tobacco products ranges from 4.4 milligrams to 25.0 milligram
How can I get help quitting tobacco?
The American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association offer the following tips if you are trying to quit using tobacco products:
* Think about why you want to quit.
* Pick a stress-free time to quit.
* Ask for support and encouragement from family, friends, and coworkers.
* Start doing some exercise or activity each day to relieve stress and improve your health.
* Get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet.
* Join a stop-smoking program, or other support group.
* Talk with your healthcare provider doctor about medicines that may help you quit.
Nicotine replacement therapy (lozenges, gum or patch) can help you to overcome the nicotine withdrawal.
National Cancer Institute has its helpline number which can help you.
Smokefree.gov is a online site which can also help you to stay motivated and tracks your progress and helps you in the journey of quitting. A really helpful PDF I found on their site –
when someone has quit use of tobacco
20 minutes after quitting your heart rate drops
12 hours after quitting,the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting,your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.
1 to 9 months after quitting,your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
1 year after quitting,your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
5 years after quitting,your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s5-15 years after quitting.
10 years after quitting ,your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s.
15 years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that ofa nonsmoker’s.
By term ‘Health’ we mean the state of well being or the state of being free from illness. But if we are smoking we will always be compromising our health and in such state we can never progress. We are the future of our country. If our health is getting worse day by day how can we and our country progress. Staying fit and leading a good and healthy life should be our aim. At the end I will just say” Do it for yourself, do it for your family and do it for your nation.”