Every year, May 31 is observed as World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to limit tobacco consumption. This year’s theme is “Commit to Quit”- promulgated to provide people the tools and resources they need to successfully quit tobacco.
India has the second-largest tobacco-consuming population in the world, more than 267 million, which include at least 100 million tobacco smokers and >199 million SLT (Smokeless Tobacco users).
As per World Health Organization (WHO) estimate, tobacco cause around 6 million deaths every year making it the biggest preventable cause of death the world over. With more than 270 million tobacco consumers in India, it becomes imperative to address this health hazard and stir up strong measures toward damage control.
Smoking has become a social behavior of young adults and about 56% of minors fall into this group, peer influence and curiosity being the major contributing factors.
Tobacco consumption compromises the health and well-being of an individual and has dangerous consequences and thus has a huge impact not only on the economic condition of the family but also on society.
The smoke released from these products has a complex chemical blend of tobacco and its additives. Nicotine is primarily responsible for a person’s dependence or addiction and is a poison that can kill a person by paralyzing the breathing muscles if taken in large doses.
Likewise, there are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and over 70 are known to cause cancer. Some of these components also cause heart and lung diseases that can be fatal.
The chemicals weaken the body’s immune system and damage the cell’s DNA leading to uncontrolled cell growth causing different types of cancer like nasopharynx, larynx, paranasal sinuses, pharynx, nasal cavity, lip, mouth, esophagus, and bladder. It has also been shown to attribute to cancers of the pancreas, ovary, cervix, colorectum, stomach, kidney, and some types of leukemia.
Hence, it is important to focus on spreading awareness about the dangers of using tobacco and how many health problems can be averted when one quits smoking, or better tackled by doctors. It gives a fresh opportunity to tobacco users determined to quit and lead healthier lives.