Today, May 31, is World No Tobacco Day. Another opportunity to give tobacco users a wakeup call. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global tobacco epidemic kills over than 7 million people each year. Nearly 900,000 of these people are non-smokers who die from breathing second-hand smoke.
Though it’s common knowledge that tobacco kills, millions of people worldwide are still addicted to the carcinogen. We all watch the anti-tobacco videos that are played before movies, but very few us of pay heed to them.
Today, nearly 40 per cent of all the cancer cases reported in India are caused by the consumption of tobacco. Talking about the ill-effects of the practice, oncologist Dr Vijay Anand Reddy says, “There are so many long-term health hazards associated with tobacco that smokers tend to ignore. One of the first things tobacco does is coat the blood vessels. This reduces blood circulation in the body and leads to multiple diseases that can affect anything from the brain and the heart to the limbs. Smoking for a prolonged period can affect one’s memory. People initially feel a kick when they smoke, but later they experience fatigue and are prone to suffer heart attacks.”
He adds that another common complaint among smokers in the 35-40 year age bracket is erectile dysfunction. But while non-smokers are quick to tell smokers to quit, they often do not understand what a difficult task it is.
Sharing his personal experience, Vinay Karthik, a government employee, says, “I was aware of the ill-effects of smoking, but it was difficult for me to give it up. It’s been a year since I quit smoking and switched to vaping. It feels great to have been able to make that change. I would urge others to quit smoking as well. It not only affects the smoker but his friends and family too as they become passive smokers.”