Saturday, August 28, 2010


Recently our college conducted paper presentation programme, in which I participated and gave a presentation on ill effects of smoking. I even won first prize for my presentation. But the irony of life is that, one of my family friends died of lung cancer after I gave my presentation. He was a chronic smoker, but the cancer wasn’t diagnosed until recently and he died in just one week of diagnosis. Nothing could be done as it was very chronic stage but remained inapparent till now. I thought though we could not save him but as a medico, I can save many people atleast by preventing them from smoking….
       The problem with most of the smokers is that, they know that smoking is injurious to their health. And others who don’t know are mostly illiterates. In either case, educating them with right facts about smoking and use of tobacco helps in reducing rate of smoking and prevent kids from getting addicted to smoking
       To start with, the consequences of tobacco, here is the list of preventable causes of death…
         If you add smoking and second hand smoke or passive smoking, it equals 438,000. If you add up all the non tobacco-related causes, it equals ½ of the people from tobacco-related. Given these numbers, helping people quit or reduce SHS exposure needs to be a health priority. Half of all teens who start to smoke will die of tobacco-related disease by they reach age of 50.
Contents of Cigarette:
       First of all it is important to know what all chemicals and materials a cigarette is made up of…
There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. These chemicals irritate the throat and cause cancer, lung and heart disease. Chemicals are added to:
Make tobacco burn smoothly; Make the paper burn evenly
Enhance the flavor; Boost the nicotine (ammonia); Kill the tobacco slugs
Make sure the cigarette doesn’t go out in the ashtray when not puffing on it.
Other chemicals found in tobacco include:
Benzene:  it is the chemical used in moth balls used to keep away insects from your wardrobe
Denatured alcohol: used to keep cigarettes burning
Toluene: Was once used in nail polish, but now its illegal to use it because of harmful effects.
DDT: Insecticides, common pest killer in agriculture
Arsenic: found in rat poison
Formaldehyde: dead body preserver
Tar: a pack a day smoker would accumulate 1 quart of tar a year In their lungs. Contains most of the cancer-causing agents of tobacco smoke.
Ammonia: It is the toilet cleaner. Imagine using harpic on your teeth next time you take a puff off cigarette

 Effects of smoking:
Nicotine affects fatty acids in the blood, increasing the overall blood cholesterol level. When cholesterol is too high, a hard substance called plaque builds up on the inside walls of the blood vessels. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. Plaque can clog the blood vessels, forcing the heart to pump harder. Smoking also constricts the arteries, leading to arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. These conditions greatly increase the risk for heart attacks or strokes

Healthy Artery
Damaged Artery

Heart Attack:
A heart attack is when the heart is damaged by a sudden lack of blood flow to the heart muscle. This happens because the arteries to the heart muscle become narrowed or blocked. Nicotine in cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to become narrow, reducing the oxygen supply to the heart muscle. This may be why smokers are more likely to have heart attack than nonsmokers.
Nicotine increases a smoker’s heart rate minutes after he or she first inhales. Nicotine also causes the arteries to become narrower every time a person smokes, contributing to high blood pressure. The carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing the heart to work harder and provide the body with a sufficient oxygen supply. Carbon monoxide also strains the heart by damaging the linings of the blood vessels and contributing to arteriosclerosis. An increased heart rate combined with higher blood pressure can lead to a fatal heart attack
This arrow points to a hole in the heart wall. Smoking weakens the heart and increases blood pressure while contributing to clogged and constricted arteries. Severe damage like this may occur.

A stroke occurs when an artery becomes clogged or bursts. Strokes can cause paralysis, brain damage, or death. Hardened arteries, high blood pressure, and clotting problems- all of which can be cause by smoking – increase the risk for strokes. The dark red area in the photo is where bleeding occurred.
This brain shows stroke damage, which can cause death or severe mental or physical disability
Healthy Lung
Your lungs have thousands of delicate air sacs- alveoli (air sacs). tiny, soft structures surrounded by very small blood vessels. In these air sacs, carbon dioxide gases from the body are exchanged for fresh air from the outside. Emphysema damages these delicate air sacs, and they lose their ability to exchange air. With damaged air sacs, you cannot get enough air to breathe, and always feel that you cannot catch your breath. Emphysema takes years to develop, but the damage cannot be undone. Cigarette smoke is the most common cause of the disease. The photo on the left shows a clean lung. The black specks are from having breathed smoggy air. Compare the smooth surface of this lung with the rough, ugly surface of the lung with emphysema, on the right. Note the hollow bubbles in what was once healthy lung tissue. Are cigarettes worth this kind of permanent damage to your lungs?
Emphysematic Lung
       Tars in cigarette smoke cause irritation and reduce elasticity in the alveoli. As a result, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream- a condition called emphysema. People with emphysema cannot completely expel air, causing chronic shortness of breath. Although some treatments can ease the symptoms of emphysema, there is no cure and the damage is irreversible. Question: Is smoking worth this permanent type of damage to your lungs?

Lung cancer:
       Smoking causes more than 80% of all cases of lung cancer. While a tumor in the lung sometimes causes symptoms such as coughing up blood or difficulty breathing, there are often no symptoms of lung cancer until it is advanced. By the time it is detected, lung cancer often has spread to other places in the body, including the bones, liver, brain, and adrenal glands. The photo on the far left is a model of a cancerous lung. Pictured on the far right is a real lung, with the grayish-white bumps on and in the lung being cancerous growths. It is the tars and carcinogens in cigarette smoke that cause tumors to develop.

Fetal Damage:
       During pregnancy, everything a mother takes into her body is shared with the fetus- including tobacco smoke. Carbon monoxide in the tobacco smoke prevents the fetus from getting enough oxygen. Women who smoke during pregnancy have an increased risk of pregnancy complications, stillbirth, and miscarriage. Babies who are born to women who smoke have an increased risk of birth defects, premature birth, low birthweight, and are more prone to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Maternal smoking weakens the child’s lungs and can lead to an increase in illness. Even after infancy, children whose mothers smoked while pregnant are more likely to have conduct or learning disorders, lack self-control, or be hyperactive. Just think for the sake of mere pleasure of yours what right do you have to leave your children disable throughout the life?

Laryngeal cancer:
       The larynx – or voice box – is located above the esophagus. Not only is the larynx necessary for speaking, but is also protects the lungs. Advanced cases of laryngeal cancer sometimes require surgical removal of the larynx; patients are then fitted with an electronic voice box. Depending on how much a person smokes, the risk of laryngeal cancer is up to 35 times higher for a smoker than a nonsmoker.

Dental Problems:
        These problems may not seem to be much problem for you but ask the person beside how bad your breath is while you speak. I can surely say that your girl friend won’t even kiss you if you smell so badly.

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis cause the gums to swell and bleed easily. Pockets of plaque between the teeth and gums can cause tooth decay and lead to tooth loss. People who smoke lose more teeth than people who don’t smoke. Teens who smoke are three times more likely to develop gum disease by the time they are 25 than  people who do not smoke.
Some photographs of cancer:

 Passive smoking:
       Both smokers and non-smokers experience eye irritation, sore throats, headaches, nausea, and dizziness when exposed to cigarette smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also cause nonsmokers to experience the same devastating health effects as smokers- including cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and COPD. Secondhand smoke contains twice as much tar and nicotine as that which is inhaled by the smoker and is responsible for over 63,000 deaths among nonsmokers every year in the United States. One of the most significant actions we can take to reduce the consequences from second hand smoke exposure is to set up rules to not allow smoking in our homes or in our cars. The hardest part to digest is most of the sufferers of SHS are children.

So friends, please quit smoking. Smoking cigarette is not a fashion symbol or it is heroism. It is a villain for your life and may be for your family also. So think about quitting and start contributing for a healthy India…


Manikanth.P. said...

Hello Rajeev,

It's a very useful post and very informative as well. Smoking is a dangerous addiction that is spreading fast among the youth. Many youngsters/ even adults are continuing it as a status symbol or style factor, but ultimately losing their health and spoiling their lives. Every person who smokes should read such posts, understand the danger and quit that habit. Hope ur post would open the eyes of some smokers and help them realise the value of their life and people around them.

I appreciate ur efforts in collecting so much information in detail and presenting in an appealing manner. Wonderful work. Keep going ...


Rajeev said...

Thank you Manikanth gaaru...

sudhan from callezee said...

ya cigarette effects in cancer.I saw one of my friend was suffered from cancer.Its a deadly disease.Let this post will recover some of the smokers.

Savvi Savvi said...

Really awesome blog. Your blog is really useful for me Data Scientist course in India

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