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Tobacco and Lung Health

Harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure

The World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated 31st May as World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). This annual campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.



Lung cancer - Tobacco smoking is the primary cause for lung cancer, responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the workplace also increases risk of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer: after 10 years of quitting smoking, risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.

Chronic respiratory disease - Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition where the build-up of pus-filled mucus in the lungs results in a painful cough and agonizing breathing difficulties. 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 makes asthma worse. Early smoking cessation is the most effective treatment for slowing the progression of COPD and improving asthma symptoms.

Across the life-course - Infants exposed in-utero to tobacco smoke toxins, 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 and bronchitis, and frequent lower respiratory infections. This occurs even if the parent smokes outside the homes, as dust particles tend to cling onto their hair and clothes, which then affects the children.

Tuberculosis - Tuberculosis (TB) damages the lungs and reduces lung function, which is further exacerbated by tobacco smoking. The chemical components of tobacco smoke can trigger latent infections of TB, which around a quarter of all people are infected with. Active TB, compounded by the damaging lung health effects of tobacco smoking, substantially increases risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.

Air pollution - 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 odourless, 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. Non communicable disease (NCD). Tobacco use contributes to all the 5 common and deadly, but preventable NCDs in Sri Lanka and globally, ie Heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer and lung disease


Healthy Life Clinic Goals


• improve lung health by reducing tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.

• Improve knowledge among the general public, and particularly among smokers, on the implications for the health of people’s lungs from tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke exposure

• Providing an opportunity to smokers and those who are exposed to second hand smoke to have their lungs checked for free

• With the collaboration with ADIC Sri Lanka, provide knowledge and counseling for groups of people, corporates and individuals who wish to create smoke free lives


Call us on our hotline 0773511511 for further information on smoking


- Dr. Kayathri Periasamy

Consultant Physician - Healthy Life Clinic

Medical Investigations In Elderly

May, 2020

Shedding some light on the basis and use of general medical investigation in the elderly population.