World No Tobacco Day: Shedding Light on Tobacco Dangers | Max Hospital

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World No Tobacco Day: Unmasking the Dangers of Tobacco Use

By Dr. Pawan Gupta in Cancer Care / Oncology , Head & Neck Oncology , Surgical Oncology

Jun 11 , 2024 | 3 min read

As World No Tobacco Day approaches on May 31st, 2024, the focus is on both traditional 

smoking hazards and the emerging dangers of alternative tobacco products, especially among the youth. The aim is to safeguard future generations and ensure the continued decline of tobacco use.

The fact that smoking is deadly is not a revelation, but World No Tobacco Day offers a valuable chance to reiterate the grave risks associated with smoking and tobacco use.

Youth Smoking Epidemic

Despite widespread awareness of smoking's dangers, according to the UICC report, it remains prevalent among youth, with over 38 million young people aged 13 to 15 using some form of tobacco.

Types of Tobacco and their Risks

  1. Traditional Smoking: Leading cause of preventable death globally, causing cancer, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Young people are particularly susceptible due to peer pressure and the addictive nature of nicotine.
  1. Chewing Tobacco and Smokeless Products: These include products like chewing tobacco and snuff.
  • Pose risks of oral, oesophageal, and pancreatic cancers, as well as other health concerns.
  • Their cultural acceptance in some areas complicates prevention efforts.
  1. E-cigarettes and Vaping: Marketed as safer alternatives but linked to lung issues, nicotine addiction, and potential long-term brain damage in teens.
  • Flavored options attract young users, contributing to the vaping epidemic.

Health Impacts of Tobacco Consumption

Tobacco use and exposure harm health at every stage of life. During fetal development, it increases the risk of stillbirth and congenital malformations. In infancy, it can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In childhood and adolescence, it leads to respiratory diseases and disabilities. From around age 30, tobacco use significantly raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Later in life, it results in higher rates of cancer, particularly lung cancer, and increased mortality from respiratory diseases.

Smoking inflicts significant harm on the body, particularly the lungs. Harmful substances such as hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, tar, phenol, and tiny particles that cause 'smoker cough' enter the bloodstream through the lungs and travel throughout the body.

When you smoke, it damages the alveoli, the lungs' functional units for gas exchange. This irreversible damage leads to decreased lung function, making everyday activities like walking and climbing stairs difficult.

The addictive nature of nicotine causes the brain to release dopamine, creating a cycle of dependency. Dopamine is the cure for all problems we seek with time, and when there is an instant release of this hormone, we feel happy and relieved, and it helps concentrate.

Long-term Consequences of Smoking 

  • Smoking can reduce life expectancy by about 10 years and increase the risk of various diseases and premature death.
  • It also negatively impacts mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression, and cognitive issues.
  • Smoking influences four major non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes.

Quitting Tobacco

Successful cessation involves:

  1. Deciding to quit.
  2. Setting a quit date.
  3. Identifying and managing triggers.
  4. Establishing a support system.
  5. Consulting a counselor.

No medication can reverse the damage caused by tobacco consumption. For instance, after smoking multiple cigarettes for many years, lung function goes down & people are unable to walk, climb stairs & do any exercise. Although everyone is aware that smoking causes lung cancer, the bigger problem is the disability that smoking-related lung damage causes & the poor quality of life. It leads to people who have been smoking consistently being unable to even go to the bathroom without continuous oxygen support in their later years.

However, further study and standardization of intervention models are crucial for achieving a mass effect and widespread impact.

On World No Tobacco Day, let's unite to protect youth from tobacco's dangers through education, advocacy, and concerted action, ensuring a brighter, tobacco-free future for the coming generations.

At Max Hospital, Vaishali, our distinction surpasses mere expertise and cutting-edge technologies. Recognizing the complexities of cancer treatments, our multidisciplinary team is poised to provide unwavering support throughout the healthcare journey. With a patient-centric approach at our core, we empower individuals to participate in their treatment decisions actively. From robotic surgery to state-of-the-art radiation therapies like Tomotherapy, our experienced specialists ensure world-class care.