Categories: Pulmonology

Tobacco and declining Respiratory Health

The respiratory health of a tobacco consumer is always at risk. Apart from causing COPD, lung cancer, frequent tobacco consumption leaves an irreversible effect on the lungs. Over it, if one is already suffering from asthma or any other respiratory discomfort then smoking cigarettes or tobacco consumption can worsen the condition. A study suggests that smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers. Lung health COPD is already rising worldwide due to rising pollution and lifestyle issues and behavioural patterns; tobacco consumption is adding to the already prevailing threat. Any minor obstacle in breathing or little discomfort in the respiratory system leaves a deeper effect on health because proper breathing is a prime condition in order to lead a healthy life. For temporary relief or for the sake of so-called fake status symbols it surely is not wise enough to put one’s life at risk.

How does tobacco affect lungs:-

Basically, tobacco causes harm to lung tissues and damages the airways. With just a single breath, the hundreds of toxins in tobacco smoke start damaging the lungs. Now as the prime function of the lungs is to supply oxygen in the body, this entire functioning gets slightly or majorly gets obstructed and other organ’s functioning also gets affected, which may result in a diverse range of diseases. The harmful effects of tobacco smoke on the lungs are almost immediate. Tobacco smoke causes reduced lung functioning and problem in breathing. Due to the swelling of airways and the build-up of mucus in the lungs, a bigger risk of respiratory problems lies ahead. The immediate respiratory symptoms are just part of the damage tobacco does to the lungs. Tobacco consumption potentially causes COPD, lung cancer and other severe respiratory conditions.

Hope lies in the fact that if the consumption of tobacco is a problem, quitting it also leaves a larger impact on overall wellbeing. So, the key is to quit tobacco today in order to achieve the best health possible. Considering socio-economic constraints consumption of tobacco is a major concern in rural and urban areas. Quitting smoking’s immediate effects are apparent, in long run, this is only going to add to one’s good health. There are some other aspects of tobacco consumption that need to be discussed in order to bring the number of respiratory patients down.

Second-hand smoke and children:-

The smoke emitted from the people who smoke causes health risk to the other people around. The social responsibility of the people consuming life-threatening things and causing risk to other’s lives should be asked for. Here children’s health is more at the risk of catching it as they don’t tend to smoke but adult smokers around are responsible to make them inhale life-threatening smoke. Parents or guardians at home should be more aware in this regard. They should neither smoke themselves nor allow others to smoke at their place. Children’s organs including lungs are far more prone to the hazards of the smoke emitting from cigarettes.

Third-hand smoking:-

This is something very less talked about. While secondhand smoking is about passively inhaling smoke around a smoker, third-hand smoking is about the area where a person has smoked, even after finishing smoking and leaving that area a number of harmful chemicals may remain behind in the surroundings, rugs, furniture etc. and other people can get exposed to them. Hence smoking zones are still harmful even after people have left that place. Studies state that third-hand smoking may cause many health hazards. It can cause heart health issues as well. Here also our children are more at the risk of getting exposed to such harmful chemicals.

Quit smoking today:-

Quitting tobacco ensures better life expectancy as well. Quitting tobacco does not only save one from health hazards rather it potentially reduces the risk of others exposing to life-threatening chemicals. The immediate effects of quitting tobacco are very much significant and in long run, they show results on a broader level. Today respiratory health is one of the major health concerns in the country, tobacco consumption is only adding to its severity. To bring this rising number of cardiovascular patients down one must quit smoking today itself.

This article is authored by Dr. Nitin Rathi, Senior Consultant – Pulmonology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi

Narayana Health

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