Miyerkules, Abril 15, 2009

SMOKING . - what you need to know...

The World Health Organization issued a report on Feb 7 saying smoking tobacco could kill 1 billion people in the 21st century urging the nations to take measures to stop the ever-increasing smoking trends worldwide.

The WHO said no country has done enough to curb tobacco use, which is expected to kill 500 million people worldwide who live today.

The WHO proposed six measures for countries to adopt to fight tobacco smoking including monitoring tobacco use and prevention; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco use, warning people about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco.

It seems the report does not explain much of the danger associated with tobacco use. To help readers understand how dangerous tobacco use is, we publish below a summary about the associations between smoking tobacco and various diseases. We hope this could help a few more people quit smoking tobacco.

Smoking and diseases: What you need to know?

Smoking tobacco has been linked to more than two dozen disease and conditions although it is unethical to conduct trials to prove any possible cause-and-effect association. Studies suggest that tobacco use affects every organ of the body and reduce overall health. It is believed that tobacco use is the leading cause of the preventable death and has negative impacts on people of all ages including unborn babies, infants, children, adolescent, adults and seniors.

Smoking tobacco and lung cancer

The most serious adverse effects of smoking tobacco include cancer in the lungs and other organs or parts of the body.

Lung cancer forms in the lung tissue, usually in the cells lining air passages. There are mainly two forms, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. The cancer, one of the leading cancers in the United States, was diagnosed in 213,380 Americans and it killed 160,390 in 2007. Smoking tobacco causes genetic changes in the cells of the lungs that lead to the development of lung cancer.

Smoking tobacco and other cancers

Research has showed that smoking tobacco can also lead to respiratory and upper digestive tract cancer, particularly cancer of the mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx) and esophagus. In addition, smoking tobacco is a contributing cause of leukemia and cancers in the bladder, stomach, kidney and pancreas. Women who smoke are at higher risk for developing cervical cancer than those who don't.

Smoking tobacco and other lung diseases

Affected by using tobacco are also other respiratory diseases collectively called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthmatic bronchitis. Smoking tobacco has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory symptoms including coughing, phlegm, wheezing and difficult or labored breathing (dyspnea).

Tobacco smoke contains many toxic chemicals, which directly damage lung tissue and particles that affect the lungs' natural filtering/cleaning system and irritate the bronchial tubes in the lungs which in turns triggers the production of more mucus. Long term tobacco smoking destroys the structure of the lungs reducing their capability to absorb oxygen. Excess mucus in the lungs and problems in adsorbing oxygen are two characteristics of chronic bronchitis.

Long term tobacco use also leads to emphysema of called lung rot, which is a degenerative disease. The most obvious symptom is the difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Nothing can be done to correct the lung damage. Nearly all cases of emphysema result from long term tobacco smoking. Stopping tobacco use will help curb the progression of the disease.

Smoking tobacco and cardiovascular diseases

Smoking tobacco not only affects the lungs, but cardiovascular health as well. It increases risk for heart attacks and angina (coronary heart diseases), blockages in the legs (peripheral vascular disease), and strokes (cerebrovascular diseases). Cardiovascular diseases are diseases of the heart, the blood vessels of the heart and of the systems of blood vessels (veins and arteries) throughout the body and brain.

Smoke or even second hand smoke can affect the heart by reducing the oxygen carried in the blood due to presence of carbon monoxide and other gases; increasing the heart rate due to the decreased oxygen concentration in the blood; and reducing the size of blood vessels due to fat deposits linked to nicotine and due to presence of carbon monoxide which makes blood vessels and arteries smaller limiting the blood supply to the heart.

Smoking tobacco and strokes

Smoking tobacco can both increase blood pressure and fat deposits on the inner walls of blood veins and vessels. Both effects increase risk of stokes including transient ischemic attacks, hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. In the case of hemorrhagic strokes, a blood vessel bursts inside the brain increasing the pressure in the brain causing injuries to the brain cells. An ischemic stroke, the most serious type, permanently damages brain cells by starving the cells of oxygen and nutrients.

Smokers are 50 percent more likely than non-smokers to have stroke. The more tobacco a person uses, the higher risk he has for a stroke. Those who smoke 25 cigarettes a day have the highest risk of a stroke.

Stopping tobacco use reduces the risk of stroke by 50 percent within a year and to normal levels within five years, according to a study by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Smoking tobacco and impotence

Smokers including second hand smokers are as much as twice as likely to suffer impotence as non-smokers. Impotence is the constant inability of a man to maintain an erection for sexual activity and affects an estimated 30 million men in the United States. A study conducted in the US showed that healthy men using tobacco developed impotence during a period of eight years even if they did not show any symptoms of heart disease or diabetes. It is possible to fully or at least partially recover erection function by quitting smoking, studies showed.

Smoking tobacco and mouth diseases

Smoking tobacco including cigarettes, cigars or pipes increases the risk of cancer on the lips, in the mouth and in the throat. Cigarette smokers are six times more likely to die from cancers in the mouth. Cigar smokers are twice as likely to die as non-smokers from mouth related disease.