Editor's Picks Health


Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is “Tobacco and heart disease.” The campaign will increase awareness on the:

  • link between tobacco and heart and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including stroke, which combined are the world’s leading causes of death;
  • feasible actions and measures that key audiences, including governments and the public, can take to reduce the risks to heart health posed by tobacco.

It is no longer a mystery – everyone knows that smoking has all sorts of negative impacts on health. Nevertheless, the number of people who still smoke is alarming.  There’s no way around it. Smoking is bad for your health. Smoking causes damage to nearly every organ in the body and is directly responsible for a number of diseases. Cigarette smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. It is also responsible for many other cancers and health problems. These include lung disease, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke and cataracts. Women who smoke have a greater chance of certain pregnancy problems or having a baby die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Your smoke is also bad for other people – they breathe in your  second hand smoke and can get many of the same problems as smokers do

Health Consequences

Clearly, cigarettes have a major impact on the lungs. An estimated 85% of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and of lung cancer are caused by smoking. About a third of all cancer cases are due to smoking, including:

  • Cancer of the esophagus / mouth
  • Cancer of the uterus
  • Pancreatic cancer

Tobacco use is also a significant cause of heart disease. In fact, smoking considerably increases the risk of heart attack and stroke . Smoking can also affect fertility. In addition, smoking during pregnancy can adversely affect fetal development, for example, increase the likelihood of premature birth and low birth weight.

Impact on well-being

Apart from the serious health consequences mentioned above, smoking can also impact your everyday life. It can affect your breathing, causing coughing and shortness of breath. It increases the risk of respiratory tract infection, including bronchitis. All of these occurrences can significantly reduce your quality of life. Smoking can also affect you in many other ways, for example:

  • It can alter your senses of smell and taste
  • It reduces your ability to perform physical exercise and your energy level
  • It has an adverse impact on your physical appearance (yellow teeth, prematurely aged skin, unpleasant odour, and so on)
  • It condemns you to a life of repeatedly trying to suppress feelings of withdrawal
  • It exposes you to a greater risk of depression and anxiety
  • It affects your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues

Smoking also entails considerable financial costs, both at the personal level and for the health system.

If you are a slave to cigarettes, please know that it is never too late to stop smokingEveryone knows that tobacco use can have disastrous consequences on your health. Nevertheless, many people decide to ignore the risk and go on smoking. More than 4,000 chemical substances are present in cigarette smoke, including at least 50 that can cause cancer. These substances include arsenic, tar, and carbon monoxide. In addition to these toxic products, cigarettes also contain nicotine, which causes physical and psychological addiction to tobacco.

With help and a good action plan, everyone can quit smoking for good. If you achieve this objective, you’ll notice its benefits in the first few days. Over time, your risk as an ex-smoker for developing tobacco-related diseases falls to the level associated with lifetime non-smokers.


Shshir V Mandya

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