Devastating Effects of Smoking Tobacco on Your Health
- Tobacco causes 8 million deaths annually, mainly due to respiratory disorders, cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
- Tobacco use has become a lifestyle in our current world, and we continue to lose lives due to this preventable act.
- About 7 million deaths are a result of direct tobacco use. Sadly, around 1 million are as a result of the second-hand-smoking phenomenon.
- Tobacco kills half of its users; users are losers, and losers are users.
- Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections. Current research according to WHO suggest that tobacco smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers
- WHO is currently evaluating the link between tobacco use and COVID-19.
- The tobacco epidemic is a significant threat the world is facing.
How Does it Affect You?
- Nicotine constricts the terminal bronchioles that decrease the airflow into and out of the lungs.
- Carbon monoxide present in tobacco has a high affinity to haemoglobin compared to oxygen and thus reduces the haemoglobin oxygen-carrying capacity, leading to suffocation.
- Irritants in the smoke cause increased mucus production by the mucosa of the bronchial tree that impedes airflow in and out of the lungs and can sometimes lead to pneumonia.
- Irritants in the smoke also inhibit the movement of cilia and destroy the cilia lining on the respiratory. This impedes the role of the cilia, and thus, excess mucus and foreign materials are not easily removed that further causes dyspnoea and other conditions like lung cancer.
- The irritants in the smoke also convert normal respiratory epithelium into a stratified squamous epithelium that lacks cilia and goblet cells, and this impedes the extraction of foreign materials even more.
- Smoking leads to the destruction of elastic fibres in the lungs and can lead to emphysema that in severe cases can lead to death.
What are Some of the Therapies?
- Nicotine replacement therapies such as gum and patches are designed to help smokers quit tobacco.
- Others include toll-free quits lines, mobile texting messaging programmes
- Within days after quitting, elevated heart rates and blood pressure drops, carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to the average level, circulation improves, and normal lung function assumes, coughing and shortness of breath also decreases
What Measures Can Be Taken to Address Tobacco Smoking?
- Pictorial health warnings that publicly increases the awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco
- Mass media campaigns on the adverse effects of tobacco
- Ban on tobacco advertising lower consumption directly or indirectly as it audience
- Increasing the taxes on tobacco to scare aware sales
- Illicit trade of tobacco products must be stopped
WHO provides a 6 MPOWER that includes;
Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
Protect people from tobacco use
Offer help to quit tobacco use
Warn about the dangers of tobacco
Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
Raise taxes on tobacco
Success is not only about passing examinations, being the best in various competitions but it also includes overcoming challenges.
Quit tobacco to become a winner!
”Quitter’s are never winners, but in case of tobacco quitters are winners.”
Contributed by Alphonse Oyugi