On 31st May every year-WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY (WNTD), is celebrated. Every country on this day organizes a number of events on the ill effects of consuming tobacco in any form and encourages people to stop the usage of tobacco.
Tobacco is the second leading cause of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) after high blood pressure. Apart from CVD tobacco is also known to cause non-communicable diseases, like- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer and other complicated diseases caused due to smoking. Globally every year about 7 million people die because of tobacco and it is said by 2030 about 8 million people may die those who use tobacco. People must know that tobacco has a direct effect on human health, environmental health and on the sustainable development.
STATISTICS FACTS AND FIGURES OF TOBACCO USAGE IN INDIA:
India is the second largest consumer of tobacco is the world. Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 (GATS) reports that 28.6% of the Indian population consumes tobacco in any form. 10.7% smoke and 21.4% use Smokeless Tobacco (SLT) –khaini and beedis are the leading forms of tobacco that is consumed in India.
30% of the Indian population, 15 years or older-47% men and 14 % of women either smoked or chewed tobacco. Almost 195 million people—154 million men and 41 million women in India consume tobacco.
Tobacco consumption is significantly higher among the poor, less educated, scheduled castes and tribes. The tobacco consumption is high up to the age of 50 years and slowly decreases in the later years. The smoking and chewing habits of tobacco also differs from state to state according to the individual’s socio-cultural-characteristics.
There is an annual growth rate of 2% to 3% of tobacco consumption in India. On an average, Indians smoked 6.2 cigarettes per day; this is the lowest of all the countries. Among women it is found to be less, but the mean cigarettes smoking per day is higher than men, accounting to 7 cigarettes.
Beedis are consumed more than cigarettes, accounting to 8 to 10 times more. If one goes back to facts beedi smoking increased because of the Swadeshi Movement when importing cigarettes were banned and indigenous beedi received more exposure. Today it is seen cigarette smoking has increased to beedis due to the rise in the income levels among all the socio-economic status groups.
Smokeless tobacco is used in 120 countries. India has the largest number of consumers in this category. Out of the 346 million global consumers, India alone has 152.4 million men and 80.8 million women consumers of SLT.
A fact is that 50% of the male doctors (medical, dental, nurses, and pharmacy) smoke though they help users is quitting smoking. This habit is increasing among male medical students so it is not a good sign for the society as it dilutes their ability to effectively counsel smokers in their future clinical practice.
SECONDHAND SMOKE (SHS):
SHS exposure is also significant in India, where a smoker—80% of men smoke at home and about 20 % smoke at public places. This SHS exposure at home – encourages children to become future smokers. There are warning boards at work places against smoking but not at homes.
Tobacco smoke remains in the environments of the home even after smoking. Children are at a higher risk. Homes in urban areas in India are not properly ventilated and the third hand smoke causes DNA damage in human cells. This is another reason for a risk of cancer in children from 1 to 16 years of age.
USAGE OF TOBACCO AT A YOUNG AGE:
The usage of tobacco by children and young adults has many adverse effects in their lives. People who start smoking early develop severe levels of nicotine addiction than those who start smoking at a later age.
Even before conception, the sperm of the future parents who smoke are exposed to DNA damage and the fetus of the mother, who is a smoker, this results in reduced birth weight of the child. If a person starts smoking at an early age he or she is exposed to many harmful components of smoking. The risk of lung cancer is more on account of smoking for more number of years than the number of cigarettes smoked per day. For chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, risk is because of the number of cigarettes smoked over a life time.
EFFECTS OF SMOKING AT A YOUNG AGE:
1) Exposure to nicotine can have lasting effects on the adolescent brain development.
2) Children can have short of breath problems, less stamina.
3) The functioning and the growth of the lung reduce.
4) At an early age they may suffer from cardiovascular damage.
5) Children who are exposed to secondhand smoking can develop—ear infections, respiratory infections, asthma attacks and may miss more days of school.
6) Can also lead to premature death.
7) Smoking can also reduce fertility in both men and women.
PREVENTION OF SMOKING:
- No matter at what age a person starts smoking, it’s difficult to give up. Nicotine addiction is very powerful and happens quickly. So it’s better to avoid start smoking than giving it up when it’s too late.
- Parents can speak to their kids about the dangers attached to smoking.
- Parents who smoke should also quit smoking and protect their children from secondhand and third hand smoke exposure.
- Young adults who want to give up smoking must have a strong determination and this should continue in the following weeks and months to overcome the powerful urges of smoking. One can succeed if one tries to prevent themselves from smoking.
- Women are more likely to prevent smoking if they have the determination than men, but women find it difficult to give up than men.
- Sometimes doctor’s advice and with family support children and young adults can quit smoking.
- Pregnant women who have quit smoking as a result of clinical intervention relapse to smoking within 6 months of birth, so it needs a lot of determination to give up totally.
- School level programs and peer influence can also help to quit smoking.
AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SMOKING IN YOUNG ADULTS:
Not only on NO tobacco day but awareness must be given throughout about the dangers of smoking. School children are not aware of the consequences of smoking on oral health, bad taste and health, dental diseases, oral ulcers and oral cancers. So from school level if they are educated about the complications of smoking they are less likely to smoke.