No Tobacco Day

Effects of tobacco and how to deal with it.

Today, the 31st of March is World No Tobacco Day. It was first passed as a resolution in WHO in 1987 to call 7th April ‘no tobacco day’,  only to be changed later in 1988 to 31 May. Since then 31st May is celebrated as “World No Tobacco Day” to educate people about the harmful effects of tobacco, be it smokable or non-smokable. More than a million people die each year due to direct or indirect use of tobacco, and this number is expected to rise to 8 million annually by 2030.

If we take a look back into history, we find that tobacco was used and smoked to cure diseases all around the world in different forms. Hardly anyone knew the ill effects of tobacco and its contents until modern advancements in medicine and science.

Tobacco not only causes life-threatening cancer but also stroke, heart disease, hardening of vessels, aortic rupture, pneumonia, and the list goes on… But why people use tobacco products if they know it is deadly, the simple answer is they are addicted to it, nicotine in tobacco products is responsible for addiction. But you may ask, people get addicted when they use it, so how the cycle starts? It is quite simple :

  • By seeing parents or elders
  • Puberty is a bitch (want to try something new)
  • Peer pressure and so on

But I would personally like to blame the shopkeepers who sell tobacco products to underage children, even around Manipal the shopkeepers who are quite near the campus sell the cigarettes and other products, and I blame the manufacturers too. I will explain to you why. ITC which is parent company of many brands, gets its majority profit by selling cigarettes, indirectly companies like these lobby heavily not to increase taxes, it was fortunate that their efforts saw no/minimum effect in our country.

Blaming people or companies isn’t going to help anyone, the one who has lost his/her life, cannot get it back but becomes an example for others. If anyone is addicted to cigarette smoking or tobacco chewing and wants to get out of this habit, they should contact a doctor because, without professional help, it is quite difficult as there are many withdrawal symptoms.

If you know anyone, your friends or family who uses tobacco but has failed to quit, please get them professional help. And if you, yourself are addicted to tobacco, you can get an appointment for ‘Tobacco cessation clinic’ in MCODS, Manipal. It also carries out screening for comorbid conditions, assessment of motivation and behavior counseling. For assistance to overcome addiction, nicotine replacement therapy is available, besides other medications. Your confidentiality is maintained. E-mail id is tcc.cods@manipal.edu.

Chart for Tobacco awareness

A recent study was done on hookah smoking by Nishu Singla et al, where it was found that majority of the subjects either didn’t know or believed (170 subjects, 51.2%) that hookah is less harmful than cigarette smoking. Hookah usage was found high among the study population. Hence, it is imperative that the health risks posed by hookah smoking are addressed. Actions should be taken to limit hookah smoking and to halt this emerging public health threat.