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The leading preventable cause of death, killing nearly six million people worldwide each year is Tobacco, and smoking is the most famous and fashionable new trend of Tobacco consumption. This global tobacco epidemic kills more people than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. India is the second largest consumer of tobacco globally, and accounts for approximately one-sixth of the world’s tobacco-related deaths. In 2015, 11·5 per cent of global deaths (6·4 million) were attributable to smoking worldwide, of which 52·2 per cent took place in four countries — China, India, the USA, and Russia. This epidemic can only be resolved by becoming aware of the devastating effects of tobacco, learning about the proven effective tobacco control measures. Let’s look at some effects of smoking.
More than 16 million people already have at least one disease from smoking. 8.6 million people live withserious illness caused by smoking. On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Let us look at some specific health issues caused by smoking. Respiratory Health:
There is sufficient evidence in humans that tobacco smoking causes cancer of the lung, oral cavity, naso-, oro- and hypo-pharynx, nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, kidney (body and pelvis), ureter, urinary bladder, uterine cervix and bone marrow (myeloid leukemia).
Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers
More than 18 million males over age 20 suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). Smoking reduces the blood flow necessary for erection.
Passive smoking is also equally harmful, especially affects children the most. According to reports from WHO, 165000 children die every year due to passive smoking. Some effects on children include: Ear infections, More frequent and severe asthma attacks, Respiratory issues, including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath, Respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia, An increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Measures like tax increases on all tobacco products is being implemented by government and is proving successful and the taxes collected should be used to support health promotion and tobacco control programmes. Creating Public health awareness, including the adverse effects of Tobacco in curriculum of schools should be taken up seriously. Sustained efforts are needed from the Government to strengthen efforts on alternate cropping and alternate livelihoods to replace employment losses that may come up gradually.
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