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Cigarette smoking and its adverse impacts on human health

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Asiya Wani

Smoking in India has been known since at least from 2000 BC when cannabis was smoked and finds its first mention in the Atharva veda. Fumigation (dhupa) and fire offerings (homa) are prescribed in the Ayurveda for medical purposes and have been practiced for at least 3,000 years while smoking, dhumrapana ( literally ‘drinking smoke’), has been done for at least 2,000 years. Tobacco was introduced in India in the 17th century and later merged with existing practices of smoking (mostly of cannabis). Smoking in public places was prohibited nationwide from 22 October 2002. There are approximately 120 million smokers in India. According to the world Health Organization, India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. More than 1 million people die every year due to tobacco and cigarette related illnesses.

Cigarette smoking is regarded as the major risk factor in the development of lung cancer which is the main cause of cancer deaths in men and women in the world. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general. Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the world. A cigarette contains 4800 chemicals, out of which 69  triggers cancer. One person dies every six seconds due to tobacco. India has 12 crore of tobacco and cigarette users which affect the large proportion of people who are passive smokers. Out of these passive smokers, children are the most affected. Smoking cigarettes can have many adverse effects on the body. Some of these can lead to life threatening complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) , smoking cigarettes increases the risk of dying. Smoking cigarettes affects the respiratory system, circulatory system, reproductive system, skin and the eyes and it increases the risk of many different cancers. In this article, let’s try to look at some adverse effects of smoking.

  • Lung damage: Smoking cigarettes affects lung health because a person breathes in not only nicotine but also a variety of additional chemicals. Cigarettes are responsible for a substantial increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. This risk is 25 times greater for men and 25.7 times greater for women. The CDC reports that roughly 9 out 10 lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking.
  • Heart disease: Smoking cigarettes can damage the heart, blood vessels and blood cells. The chemicals and tar in cigarettes can increase a person’s risk of arteriosclerosis, which is the build up plaque in the blood vessels. This builds up limited blood flow and can lead to dangerous blockages. Smoking also increases the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) which occurs when the arteries to the arms and legs start to narrow, restricting blood flow.
  • Fertility problems: In males, the more cigarettes a person smokes, the higher the risk of erectile dysfunction. Smoking can also affect the quality of the sperm and therefore reduce fertility. Smoking cigarettes can also damage a female’s reproductive system and make it more difficult to get pregnant.
  • Risk of Pregnancy Complications: Smoking increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and reduce the baby’s birth weight. It increases the risk of preterm delivery.
  • Weekend immune system: Smoking cigarettes can weaken the immune system, making a person more susceptible to illness.
  • Vision problems: It can cause eye problems, including a greater risk of cataracts and age related muscular degeneration.
  • Unhealthy skin and hair: Smoking cigarettes affect a person’s skin and hair. A person who smokes may experience prematurely aged, wrinkled skin. It can also contribute to hair loss and balding.
  • Economic loss: Smoking drains money out of your pocket along with destroying your health. People spend a huge amount of money on smoking which can be used for some other good purpose. Smoking makes a person to destroy his own health by his own hard earned money.

Every time you light up a cigarette you are saying that your life isn’t worth living. Cigarettes can also increase the risk of stomach cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer etc.

Quitting

Once a person stops smoking, the benefits start unfolding. These include clearer skin, improved oral health, more stable hormones, a stronger immune system, reduced risk of many types of cancers. Quitting tobacco cigarettes gives you back control over your life. There will be no more searching for an open shop to buy cigarettes in the middle of the night. You will have the power to organize your time and life. You will be able to do things you haven’t done before. You can live your life the way you want without having to consider how you are going to survive five minutes without smoking.Once a person picks up a cigarette to smoke he should think hundred times that he is destroying his life by his own hands along with indirectly affecting the other people. A person should quit smoking at the earliest to save life from the deadly diseases caused by smoking. We should not destroy our health for the sake of a bad habit.

Gift your lungs fresh air not tar, Gift your body exercise not bad health.

Gift your lips kisses not cigarette butts. Gift yourself life not death!

(The writer can be reached at asiyawani3041987@gmail.com)

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