There has been massive campaign to sensitize the public on dangers of tobacco smoke but the tobacco manufacturing companies have continued to produce quite large quantities of cigarettes consumed worldwide.
Tobacco smoke is known to cause lung cancer in majority of lung cancer patients. Most patients affected by the squamous cell lung cancer have history of smoking at some stage in life.
Despite all this remarkable threat, the exposure to the nicotine product is minimal. Nicotine is very much responsible for cigarette smoke addiction.
Once tobacco smoke is inhaled, nicotine enters the lungs and is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and travels to the brain very quickly where it is absorbed and integrated in high memory centers. Nicotine causes addiction to cigarettes as well as other tobacco products as seen in case of cocaine.
There other dangerous chemical substances found in tobacco smoke. Such substances include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, 1, 3–Butadiene, ethylene oxide among many others. All these chemical substances inflict specific diseases or toxic injuries in our body. They are carcinogenic compounds found in tobacco smoke.
While lung cancer is commonly known to be caused by tobacco smoke, tobacco smoke is known to cause other cancerous diseases like the esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, and acute myeloid leukemia. However the cause of lung cancer in tobacco smokers varies depending on associated factors such as duration and intensity of exposure to the smoke.
Smoking is widely linked to various other bodily chronic problems like aortic aneurysm which is a bulge like a balloon found in the main artery of the chest and the abdomen. The smoke also causes stroke in so many patients’ especially old patients or patients with other associated health problems. It is the commonest cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with either chronic bronchitis or emphysema as seen in majority of patients, Asthma without genetic line can be caused by the smoke as well. Smoking is also responsible for many other diseases of upper respiratory tract infections.
Proven Scientific research links severe prematurity and low birth weight to smoking in pregnant mothers.
Also women who smoke during or after pregnancy increases the risk of her baby risk of death from the disease known as sudden death infant syndrome. This is the unknown death for seemingly healthy babies that occurs during sleep periods. This death is usually associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal especially during sleep hours.
Quitting smoking is an idea that should be widely encouraged. Although reduced risks after quitting depends on age, there are so many tangible health benefits one gains when he stops smoking.
After a long time smoker has stopped smoking, within a few days, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen as seen in some patients with anemia and subsequently this also reduces that chance of suffering from acute myeloid leukemia.
Heart related problems such as arrhythmias; high blood pressure seen in smokers becomes stable progressively.
The upper respiratory tract function is spared with absence of the smoke. Unexplained Coughs and wheezes in smokers disappear and this improves lung function.
Dr Joseph Kamugisha is a resident oncologist in Jerusalem, Israel