4 Dangerous Ways Smoking Affects The Human Body
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in India, 266.8 million adults (28.6% of the total population) in India (aged 15 years and above) currently use tobacco. Among the adult population, 24.9% (232.4 million) are daily tobacco users and 3.7% (34.4 million) occasional users. One in three adults in rural areas and one in five adults in urban areas reported currently smoking. The most common form of tobacco consumption in India is smokeless tobacco, and commonly used products are Khaini, Gutkha, Betel Quid with tobacco, and Zarda. The forms of smoking tobacco used are bidi, cigarette and hookah.Read also – World Kidney Day 2022: why does kidney disease occur? Symptoms, signs and treatment, an expert speaks – Watch
The report also found that 92.4% believed smoking caused serious illness in all adults. Many adults believed that smoking caused strokes (65.8%), heart attacks (76.7%), lung cancer (93.5%) and tuberculosis (92.3%). Despite the level of awareness, smoking continues to be a significant barrier for the healthcare community as people continue to use tobacco and related products. There are no safe products for smoking – be it acetone or nicotine – they are all harmful to your body and can be deadly in the long run. Ahead, we’ve rounded up four main reasons why smoking is bad for you and why you should quit now. Also Read – World Kidney Day 2022: 8 healthy habits to keep your kidneys healthy
- Central nervous system: Many people understand and know that smoking can have adverse effects on the lungs and heart, but few know that nicotine is also dangerous for the brain. Nicotine mimics the pathway of several neurotransmitters (which send signals) in the brain. Since nicotine is similar in shape to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, signaling increases in the brain. In addition, nicotine also activates dopamine signals and thus creates a pleasant feeling. Over time, the brain compensates for increased signaling activity by reducing the number of acetylcholine receptors. This causes “nicotine tolerance”, so the body needs more nicotine over time. In addition, nicotine also stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, which is why the brain begins to associate smoking with feelings of well-being and which is why smokers find it difficult to quit. Physical withdrawal from nicotine can impair your cognitive functioning and make you feel anxious, irritated and depressed. Additionally, withdrawal can also cause headaches and sleep problems, which can damage your cognitive function.
- Periodontitis: A group of inflammatory diseases affecting the supporting tissues of the tooth, periodontitis is preventable through good oral hygiene. The periodontium is made up of four tissues: the cementum, the gingiva, the alveolar bone and the periodontal ligaments. When a person regularly uses tobacco, it increases the risk of contracting the disease and has a significant impact on the development, progression and treatment outcomes of periodontal disease.
- Digestive system: Smoking can cause a lot of damage to your digestive system, including your mouth, throat, and larynx. This greatly increases your risk of esophageal and pancreatic cancer. Even people who “smoke but don’t inhale” face an increased risk of oral cancer. Additionally, smoking also influences insulin, causing a smoker to develop insulin resistance, which puts them at increased risk of diabetes and its associated complications.
- Cardiovascular system: Smoking damages the entire cardiovascular system of the smoker. When someone consumes nicotine, it causes the blood vessels to constrict, which restricts blood flow. Over time, the continued narrowing and damage to blood vessels can cause peripheral arterial disease. Additionally, smokers are at an additional risk of high blood pressure because smoking weakens the walls of blood vessels and increases the formation of blood clots – which, in turn, can lead to stroke! If you have ever had a heart bypass, heart attack, or had a stent placed in a blood vessel, smoking can be dangerous for you as the condition can get significantly worse.
Smoking impacts your cardiovascular health and the health of those around you, even if they don’t smoke. Indeed, exposure to second-hand smoke carries the same risk for a non-smoker as for a smoker. Each smoker will need a unique technique tailored to their symptoms/effects to help them quit smoking. If it is not possible for a smoker to quit on their own, we recommend that they contact a medical professional for help – a doctor can prescribe medication if necessary. Quit smoking today! Read also – No diet is suitable for all: why you need to optimize your diet as you age, expert interviews
(Written by Dr. Prashant Chhajed, Director, Pulmonology and Sleep Center, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi)