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Home Event and Festivals Smoking or Chewing Tobacco is One of The Worst Habits One Can...

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco is One of The Worst Habits One Can Adopt

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No Smoking Day is observed every year on the second Wednesday of March. This year, No Smoking Day will be celebrated on March 10 to encourage people over the world to quit smoking. The main purpose of this day is to spread awareness about the harmful health effects of tobacco consumption through cigarettes and other modes. The important message is to help smokers to get rid of the bad habit of smoking. Smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the worst habits one can adopt. The health risks are known to all but still thousands of youth, between 12 to 17 years of age, who start smoking each day. Some start it out of curiosity and others might just want to look like grownups. The effect of smoking starts with coughing and throat irritation accompanied by bad breath and bad-smelling clothes. It also leads to patchy skin and discolouration of teeth.

Padmashree Dr. Alka Kriplani, The Director & Head of Centre for Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Obstetrics & ART at Paras Hospital, Gurugram, said,  “Any kind of smoking has serious health consequences for children and mothers. So, if a baby or her child is exposed to the smoking habit of fathers/family members, then in a way they are also inhaling the harmful chemicals of tobacco. A study has presented that exposure to secondhand smoke was associated with lower IQs in children. For babies exposed to secondhand smoke, there is an increase in risk for developing asthma attacks, breathing problems, ear infections, impaired lung development, and coughing. Children exposed to secondhand smoke require more ear tube surgeries than those who are not exposed. Sudden infant death syndrome is more common in babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy as well as in babies exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoking by pregnant mothers is similar to first-hand smoking”.

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Dr Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi said, “We all know that smoking causes lung diseases. However, smoking is a double-edged sword. Most people do not realize that the smoke coming out not only poses a regular irritant to the eyes of both smokers and those around him, it can even aggravate serious eye issues. Some of the eye issues that smoking worsens include dry eye, cataracts and age-related macular generation (AMD and glaucoma. Besides, people who smoke are also more likely to have high blood pressure which again leads to serious conditions such as hypertensive retinopathy and retinal vascular occlusions. These conditions can potentially cause irreversible loss of vision. Additionally, smokers are more likely to develop diabetes which in turn can lead to diabetic retinopathy. Pregnant women should know that smoking does not only cause premature birth of a baby but also impacts the ocular health of the baby. So, if you want perfect eye health, avoid smoking completely.”

Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder & Director, Ujala Cygnus Group Of Hospitals, said,  “While the perils of smoking tobacco are amply highlighted, we often tend to underestimate the danger of passive smoking. Second-hand smoke is a toxic combination of the smoke coming from the burning cigarette butt and the mainstream smoke being exhaled by the smoker. Do you know that this second hand smoke contains more harmful substances than directly inhaled smoke and may therefore be deadlier than actual smoking. Studies have indicated that long term exposure to passive smoke can be as dangerous (if not more) as smoking tobacco directly. Statistics say so cohabiting with a smoker leads to a 15 per cent greater risk of developing high blood pressure. Further, it is found that exposure to passive smoking for 10 years increased the rate of hypertension to a substantial 17 per cent, irrespective of the gender. Children are particularly susceptible to the threats of second-hand smoke as they have under lungs and they breathe at a faster rate than adults. According to estimates, second-hand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among American nonsmokers each year. While we do not have  such estimates for India, the numbers ought to be significant,”

Dr. Piyush Goel, Senior Consultant- Pulmonary and Critical Care, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurugram said, “Smoking is an age-old practice that causes harm to more than one person at any given point in time. The first-hand smoker, the passive smoker, and the third-hand smoker can all develop diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, lung diseases, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. It increases risk for tuberculosis, eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis. Since the habit is socially accepted, it is very difficult to inculcate behaviour-changing habits in smokers. However, last year during the lockdown, we have seen a drop of a huge percentage in the number of people smoking or developing diseases typically resulted by long-term smoking habits. Given that the stringent laws to change smoking habits, especially in the young population, have not offered desired results, we must focus on behaviour change communication directed to the age group of 15 to 45 years, the most productive of all people.”

India is second when it comes to consuming tobacco, which is a startling stat and needs to be addressed at the earliest.

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