World No Tobacco Day 2019
Tobacco continues to kill. In 2019 as we continue to progress in all areas of science and technology we continue to suffer from the impact of tobacco on all parts of the body.
Multiple lung diseases are due to tobacco exposure. Women and children are especially vulnerable to second-hand tobacco smoke exposure. Globally, an estimated 165,000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke according to the WHO. That’s almost 19 children dying every hour of every day!
Adults suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, asthma, tuberculosis and heart disease from direct and indirect tobacco smoke exposure.
Over two-thirds of lung cancer deaths globally are from tobacco smoking. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or the workplace also increases the risk. Fortunately quitting smoking can help- after 10 years of quitting smoking, the risk falls to about half that of an ongoing smoker.
Even babies are affected!
Infants exposed to tobacco smoke toxins by the mother being exposed to second hand or direct smoke may have reduced lung growth and function. Young children also are at risk of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and frequent lung infections.
People who smoke are twice at risk of developing TB. Billions of people have latent TB and are at risk of developing active disease.
69 cancer-causing chemicals are in tobacco among over 7000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. Indoor air pollution can occur since tobacco smoke may be invisible and odorless and linger in the air for up to five hours!
It is time for action. Tobacco is a problem for all of us. The implication for future generations is dire. The advent of electronic nicotine producing devices is creating a new generation of nicotine addicts who are also seeking out tobacco. Hookah, bidis and chewing tobacco are all very addictive and dangerous. Their portrayal in all media as cool is not true at all.
Fortunately, tobacco cessation is possible. We have successfully helped many smokers completely quit. The team effort with trained counselors, pulmonologists as well as phone and internet-based support has been very helpful.
Let us make every day No Tobacco Day!
Dr. Sai Praveen Haranath
Pulmonologist, Chest Physician