~ Weekly Health Advice from PMGH – The Dangers of Smoking – Part 1 of 3 ~

World Health Organization (WHO): Leading cause of death, illness, and impoverishment. The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease. Nearly 80% of the more than one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of health care and hinder economic development. In some countries, children from poor households are frequently employed in tobacco farming to provide family income. These children are especially vulnerable to “green tobacco sickness,” which is caused by the nicotine that is absorbed through the skin from the handling of wet tobacco leaves.

Smoking – Don’t Put Your Health at Risk
There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer. Studies show that few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use for example, a 2009 survey in China revealed that only 38% of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease, and only 27% knew that it causes stroke. Among smokers who are aware of the dangers of tobacco, most want to quit. Counseling and medication can more than double the chance that a smoker who tries to quit will succeed. Tobacco use can cause irreparable damage to your health and the health of those around you. Quitting smoking offers immediate and long-term benefits and reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases. Talk to your doctor and QUIT TODAY!

Long Term Effects of Smoking
Long-term smokers are at a higher risk of developing a range of potentially deadly diseases and other health issues including:
– Cancer of the lungs, mouth, nose, throat, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, liver, bladder, bowel, ovary, cervix, bone marrow, and stomach.
– Lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
– Heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
– Poor blood circulation in feet and hands, which can lead to pain and, in severe cases, gangrene and amputation.
– Increased susceptibility to infection
– Stomach ulcers
– Increased Tuberculosis risk
– Increased Type 2 diabetes risk
– Asthma trigger
– Yellow teeth, tooth decay, and bad breath
– Loss of sense of smell and taste
– Increased risk for osteoporosis
– Eye cataracts, macular degeneration, yellowing of whites of eyes
– Coughing
– Early signs of ageing
– Sexual and reproductive organs: lower fertility and increased risk of miscarriage, irregular periods, early menopause, reduced sperm and impotence.