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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Smoking - Facts, Risks & Why To Quit!

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Dr. Vivek PatilPulmonologist • 37 Years Exp.MBBS, Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), AFIH
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Smoking – Some Naked Facts!

  • Smoking kills > 420,000 people per year worldwide.
  • In India one million people die of smoking related diseases each year.
  • Tobacco use is the second leading cause of death world-over.
  • Smoking is more lethal than AIDS, Accidents, Homicides, Suicides, Fire, etc.
  • 2700 substances have been identified in Cigarette smoke, most of them harmful including cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, etc.
  • Every cigarette takes 5.5 minutes of your life.
  • Smoking one packet a day for 10 years increases risk for Ischemic Heart Diseases by 300 % & risk for lung cancer by 500 %.
  • Passive smoking (breathing second hand smoke) is also harmful. Spending 2 hours in a smoky bar is equivalent to smoking 4 cigarettes. Living with a pack-a-day smoker is like smoking 3 cigarettes by yourself.

What are the Risks? 

  • Cancer: 85% of Lung Cancers and 28% of all cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. Smokers have higher rates of leukemia, kidney, stomach, bladder, and pancreas cancers. About 30% of cervical cancers have been attributed to both active and passive smoking.
  • Lungs: Smokers are generally at higher risk for nearly all major lung diseases like pneumonia, flu, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, etc.
  • Brain: Smokers run almost two and a half times the risk of stroke as non-smokers and the risk for dementia is also higher in smokers.
  • Male Sexuality and Reproduction: Smoking decreases the amount of blood flowing into the penis, reduces sperm density, reduces sperm motility, and may lead to impotence & infertility
  • Female infertility, Pregnancy: Smoking increases the risk of female infertility, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages, stillbirth, prematurity and low-birth weight, so also there is a risk of passing genetic mutations that increase cancer risks to unborn babies.
  • Children: Mothers exposed to smoke (active or passive) are more likely to have children with motor control problems, perception impairments, and attention disabilities. Exposure to smoke early on affect the lungs of infant as early as the first 2 to 10 weeks of life, it increases the risk for lower respiratory infections (asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia) by 50% and worsens the condition of children who have existing asthma.
  • Spine & Bones: Smokers whose jobs involve lifting heavy objects are more likely to develop low back pain than non-smokers. They are at increased risk for developing osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Smokers are more prone to develop degenerative disorders and injuries in the spine, they have more trouble recovering from spinal surgery as smoking also impairs formation of new bone.

Why Quit?

Physical Benefits: They start as early as in few minutes.

  • Blood pressure and Pulse rate return to Normal in 20 minutes.
  • Levels of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the blood return to normal in 8 hours and chance of heart attack decreases in 24 hours.
  • Nerve endings start to regrow; ability to taste and smell increases within 48 hours.
  • Bronchial tubes relax; lung capacity increases by 72 hours.
  • In 2 to 12 weeks’ time circulation improves and lung functions improve up to 30%.
  • In 1 to 9 months’ time there is a decreased incidence of coughing, sinus infection, fatigue, and shortness of breath; cilia in lungs start re-growing, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce chance of infection.
  • Overall energy level increases.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

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