Authored by: Dr. Govini Balasubramani, Head – CTVS, Heart & Lung Transplant, Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani, Chennai
Smoking causes cancer, smoking kills. We have all seen this popular statutory warning at the start of any movie and on cigarette packets. As much as the warning sign is printed to spread awareness among people on the negative impact of smoking on people’s health, quite many of the general audience tends to ignore this message. Smoking is indeed the doorway to many cancerous diseases, which is ironically a known fact.
During one’s youth, smoking stimulated a sense of pride and a desire to “belong to a certain crowd.” Smoking, like any other like-minded activity, draws one to a specific group of people. In contrast to recreational activities, smoking has a direct impact on health. As much as it makes the smoker vulnerable, it also has a significant impact on passive smokers. It has a major influence on health from head to toe.
Smoking and Cancer
Studies have shown that smoking and cancer are highly related. A single cigarette contains carcinogens – which are chemicals that can cause direct damages to genes and promote the development of cancer cells. Among the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, formaldehyde belongs to the group one category. Formaldehyde is a chemical found in common chemicals such as adhesives and fungicides, and it is also a chemical used for preservation in morgues.
Because cigarettes contain a high concentration of carcinogens that directly attack the genes, smoking can result in birth defects and complications. Pregnant women are strongly advised to avoid smoking, including second-hand smoke and alcohol, both before and during pregnancy.
Tobacco smoke increases infant morbidity and is fatal to a baby because it damages the baby’s organs while they are still developing in the womb. Tobacco use during pregnancy increases the likelihood of premature birth and the baby’s chances of having congenital defects.
Smoking reduces blood flow to the sexual organs, resulting in impotence and erectile dysfunction in men. Tobacco carcinogens also cause genetic damage and mutations in sperm, increasing the likelihood that damaged DNA shall passed on to offspring.
Stroke and Heart Disease
Cigarettes can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, which lowers oxygen levels in the blood, and nicotine, which raises heart rate and blood pressure.
The list of health complications due to smoking is ever on the rise. In the recent past, the younger generations have taken the habit of smoking as a recreational endeavour. They are doing this without realizing the damage it intends to do to the body. Teens feel drawn to it because tobacco contains the very addictive chemical nicotine. As with heroin or other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly get used to the nicotine in cigarettes. Soon, a person needs to have it to feel normal.
For various reasons, people begin smoking. It appears to some to be cool. Others start smoking because family members or friends do. Almost all adult smokers began using tobacco before the age of 18. Many people did not anticipate becoming addicted. That is why quitting smoking is so much harder.
The idea to quit smoking must first come from within oneself. Foremost of all, one should have a more profound desire to end this hazardous activity. Few therapies help people to get over smoking. Medications and other psychological counselling are worth the mention here.
Behavioural therapy: This involves working with a counsellor and taking constant guidance to quit smoking. Due to smoking, human craving increases. The counsellor will propose different activities that will help the smoker to divert the mind from smoking. It is quite helpful as many who practiced this has seen a lot of improvement.
Medications: Science has always come to the rescue of humans. There are a few external medications that help in withdrawing from smoking. They aid in reducing the craving and other symptoms that make one smoke.
Whether one likes it not, smoking is one of the most dangerous health practices. It does damage the body’s ecosystem resulting in many cancerous diseases. Think twice before you end up in harmful activity. SMOKING CAUSES CANCER. SMOKING KILLS