Tobacco use harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases and reduces the health of tobacco users in general. Quitting tobacco lowers your risk for a variety of diseases and can add years to your life. Have a look at the grave threat that tobacco poses on your body.
Tobacco and your heart
The chemicals in tobacco harm your blood cells and damage the function of your heart. This damage increases your risk for:
- Atherosclerosis, a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in your arteries
- Aneurysms, which are bulging blood vessels that can burst and cause death
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack and damage to your arteries, chest pain and high blood pressure
- Stroke, which is sudden death of brain cells caused by blood clots or bleeding
Breathing tobacco smoke can even change your blood chemistry and damage your blood vessels. As you inhale smoke, cells that line your body’s blood vessels react to its chemicals. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up and your blood vessels thicken and narrow.
Tobacco and your lungs
Tobacco smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs found in your lungs.
- Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
- If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.
- Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers.
Tobacco and your brain
Tobacco can seriously affect the normal functioning of your brain.
- Nicotine, the drug that makes tobacco addictive, goes to your brain very quickly.
- Nicotine makes you feel good when you are smoking, but it can make you anxious, nervous, moody, and depressed after you smoke.
- Using tobacco can cause headaches and dizziness.
Tobacco and Cancer
Tobacco use can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:
- Blood (acute myeloid leukaemia)
- Colon and rectum (colorectal)
- Kidney and ureter
- Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
- Trachea, bronchus, and lung
Tobacco smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital’s Centre for Cancer brings together the expertise within the hospital to provide comprehensive and coordinated care for patients with all types of cancers. We offer a broad scope of cancer services, ranging from public education, screening and diagnosis, to treatment, pain management and palliative care.
Tobacco and pregnancy
Using tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk for pregnancy complications. Tobacco harms babies before and after they are born.
- Bleeding during pregnancy
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Premature delivery of baby
- Abnormalities of the placenta
Tobacco and newborns/childhood
Maternal tobacco use during pregnancy and exposure of a child to second-hand smoke in childhood is known to be a risk factor for following conditions:
- Maternal smoking is associated with congenital malformations
- Increased risk of allergies
- Higher blood pressure in childhood
- Increased likelihood of obesity
- Stunted growth
- Poorer lung function
- Increased likelihood of developing asthma
Tobacco and autoimmune diseases
The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease. Tobacco use compromises the immune system, making smokers more likely to have respiratory infections.
Tobacco use also causes several autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also play a role in periodic flare-ups of signs and symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Tobacco doubles your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Tobacco smoke has been linked to type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes. Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Additionally, the more cigarettes an individual smokes, the higher the risk for diabetes.
Quit Tobacco Use and Cut Future Health Risks
- Quitting tobacco use cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting tobacco, your risk of a heart attack drops sharply.
- Within 2 to 5 years after quitting tobacco, your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a nonuser’s.
- If you quit tobacco, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
- Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.
India is currently facing a ‘Tobacco Epidemic’. As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010 more that 1/3rd of Indian Adults use Tobacco either as smokeless tobacco (26%) or as smokers (14%). Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital’s De-Addiction Clinic offers the ‘New Leaf Program’ which involves individualised treatment plans for patients taking into consideration medical issues, motivational interviewing to encourage patients to quit addiction and multi-disciplinary team approach.