Pakistan has highest tobacco consumption in S Asia
DR FAHEEM MAHMOOD BUTT
Smoking is a worldwide hazard. It is a single most important cause of preventable premature death. According to WHO figures there are about 1.3 billion smokers in the world. 20 billion cigarettes are sold every day. Smoking is declining in US and many other western countries In USA smoking rate have decreased to almost half over the last three decades but it is on the rise in developing countries like Pakistan, India, Philippine, Thailand and Cambodia . In some developed countries in far East like Japan and China more than 60 % of male population smokes. One third of the world population smokes, 12 % of them are women and every day 100,000 kids are added to this number. Every year 5.6 million people die of tobacco/smoking related diseases. Every 6-second a current or former smoker dies. 70 % of smokers die younger than normal population. Smokers die 15 year younger than non smokers.
In 21st century, 1.3 billion people will die of smoking. Smoking cigarette, pipe, cigar, Huqua, Shisha and other use of tobacco like chewing tobacco and tobacco sniffing all are dangerous and addictive. Nicotine present in tobacco smoke causes addiction by increasing the brain levels of chemicals like Dopamine and Endrophine. These chemicals give a sense of happiness hence there is craving for tobacco products. If a person tries to quit, withdrawal effects include irritability, anxiety, depression and lack of concentration. Tobacco and tobacco smoke have about 4,000 chemicals , 200 of these are poisonous and 60 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer (carcinogens). Some of these chemicals are, benzene (a petroleum product), ammonia (used in dry cleaning and toilet cleaning), formaldehyde (a chemical used to preserve dead bodies and ) and Tar. Tobacco smoke causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels) leading to hart attack and stroke. It also contains carbon mono oxide which decreases oxygen in the blood. How smoking kills?
Lung Cancer: 90% of people who develop lung cancer are current or former smokers. Risk for lung cancer increases with number of cigarette smoked (1 pack per day smoker is at higher risk than half packs per day smoker) longer one has smoked more is the risk for lung cancer ( a person who has smoked for 20 years is at a higher risk than one who smoked for 10years). In USA, lung cancer causes more deaths than breast cancer, prostrate cancer and colon cancer together. Smoking is known-cause of many other cancers like throat cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of pancreas, breast cancer, kidney cancer and prostrate cancer.
Other Lung Diseases: Smoking causes medical conditions called emphysema and bronchitis (COPD). In these conditions the lung tissue is permanently damaged, as a result patient develops cough, difficulty in breathing and may develop symptoms which mimic asthma. Patient gets lung infections (pneumonia) easily. In this case, lung can not make enough oxygen which, ultimately, leads to breathing failure and death.
Heart Attack: Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of heart attack. Smokers have twice risk of fatal heart disease. Tobacco smoke has chemicals which cause hardening of the blood vessel with plaque formation (atherosclerosis) which blocks the blood supply to the heart muscle resulting heart attack and death.
Stroke: Smoking increases the risk of stroke. Smokers have three fold risk of stroke. 15% deaths due to stroke are smoking related.
Other Adverse Effects Of Smoking: Risk for Hip, due to tinning of bones (osteoporosis), stomach ulcer, early wrinkling of skin and sleep disturbance.
Second Hand Smoking is a serous business. A person who smokes not only harms himself but people around him like coworkers and family members who are at a high risk to develop cancers, heart disease, stroke and lung infections. Children of smokers are at risk of developing asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections and mental retardation. Smokeless tobacco like chewing and sniffing tobacco also has poisonous and cancerous chemicals which cause mouth, gum and throat cancers. “I Cant Quit,” is the most common response when a smoker is asked to quit. “Yes You Can Quit,” should be the answer. “How?” By understanding the ill effects of smoking and also that you are not only poisoning your self, but also your family and friends by giving them second hand smoke. There is help available in form of counseling by physicians, by nicotine products like nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and nicotine spray, and two drugs namely Bupropion and Varenicline. They help by preventing withdrawal symptoms by nicotine dependence. If a patient is motivated with the help of a physician, and one of these medications, he may able to quit. ROLE of society and government: Pak Government gets 0.7 % of its GNP from tobacco taxation.
This amount is close to the amount spent on health care. Being a big source of revenue, there is a lack of desire to discourage tobacco use. Society in general is not fully aware of smoking/tobacco related hazards. There is a dire need of aggressive anti-smoking awareness campaign, involving civil society, media, business community, school,college and university students. Government needs to strictly implement already exciting anti-smoking laws which prohibit smoking in public places.
Pakistan has highest consumption of tobacco in South Asia while smoking prevalence has increased by 30 percent during last decade in the country. In a statement issued on Monday in connection with World No Tobacco Day being observed on May 31, President Cancer Society Multan, Dr Ibrar Javed said, during 2014, Pakistanis smoked 64 billion cigarettes costing Rs 264 billion.