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Smoking will kill you with every puff

Your smoking habit is killing you softly with every puff

World No Tobacco Day falls on May 31. It’s the designated day to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking globally. Nevertheless, the grave dangers that tobacco smoke poses to life warrant a daily reminder of what exactly smoking does to the body. 


Smoking tobacco, whether first-hand and second-hand, will kill your lungs. It’s the primary cause of lung cancer, responsible for over 25 percent of all cancer-related deaths globally. Quitting smoking leads to a 50 percent reduction in lung cancer within five years of stopping.  


  1. It causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of diseases responsible for breathing-related problems, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases even asthma.  The risk of developing COPD is particularly high among individuals who start smoking at a young age, as tobacco smoke significantly slows lung development. Tobacco also worsens asthma. The earlier you stop the better.  It is the most effective treatment for COPD and alleviating asthma.


  2. Smoking tobacco is responsible for more than 20 percent of tuberculosis (TB) incidents worldwide. Smoking exacerbates the damage that TB inflicts on the lungs. The chemical components of tobacco smoke can trigger latent infections of TB. Active TB, caused by the damaging health effects of tobacco smoking, substantially increases the risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.


  3. Infants exposed to tobacco smoke, through maternal smoking or maternal exposure to second-hand smoke, frequently experience reduced lung growth and function. Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the onset and exacerbation of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and frequent lower respiratory infections. This occurs even if the parent smokes outside the home, as dust particles tend to cling onto their hair and clothes, which then affects the children.


  4. Tobacco smoke is a very dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains over 7000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Though smoke may be invisible and odorless, it can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting those exposed at risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and reduced lung function.  


  5. Tobacco use contributes to all the six common and deadly but preventable non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Sri Lanka and globally, i.e. heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer and lung disease.


Healthy Life Clinic provides free consultations for smokers and passive smokers alike. In collaboration with ADIC Sri Lanka, we also provide information on smoking and counselling for individuals who wish to give up smoking.


By Dr. Kayathri Periasamy, MBBS (UK), MRCP (UK), Board Certified in Int. Medicine (USA). Founder of Healthy Life Clinic



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