Don’t be a slave to cigarettes!

You will be surprised to see some children or teens smoke ignoring the consequences of it on their health and future. Harmful effects of smoking are no longer a mystery and ironically everyone knows that smoking has all sorts of negative impacts on health. Nevertheless, people decide to ignore the risk and continue with their habit or addiction.
The topic was raised as a result of the abnormally increasing numbers of smokers, especially among school and university students these days.
Sadly, children who are raised by smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves as they will be a role model in one way or another, of course, regardless of whether they smoke in front of them, besides the second-hand smoke affecting their health indirectly.
Unfortunately, we do recognize that smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Some of these harmful and negative effects are immediate, but practically there is a public concern and evaluation of such harmful effects of smoking in the community.
Looking at various studies, which showed that more than 4,000 chemical substances are present in cigarette smoke, including at least 50 that can cause cancer? These substances include arsenic, tar and carbon monoxide. In addition to these toxic products, cigarettes also contain nicotine, which causes physical and psychological addiction to tobacco.
However, other studies found that teens who smoke are three times more likely than non-smokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Regretfully, smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviours, such as fighting and engaging in indecent actions.
Moreover, about a third of all cancer cases are due to smoking, including certain types of cancers, such as the esophagus, mouth, uterus, bladder, stomach and pancreatic. Apart from the serious health consequences smoking considerably increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Smoking can also affect fertility. In addition, smoking during pregnancy can adversely affect fetal development; for example, increase the likelihood of premature birth and low birth weight.
In addition, smoking increases the risk of respiratory tract infection, including bronchitis as well as cardiovascular and even bones related illness. All of these occurrences can significantly reduce your quality of life. So, could we consider serious actions towards ceasing smoking and increasing the awareness, which should be continuous throughout the year, in terms of Continuous media attention and the management of awareness workshops in schools and monitoring of smoking violations in public places, in addition to conferences and seminars on awareness of the harms of smoking.
Also, many ex-smokers say that quitting was the hardest thing they ever did, but those smokers should go back and ask themselves why they smoke? One of the main reasons smokers keeps smoking is nicotine. Nicotine is a chemical in cigarettes that makes you addicted to smoking. When your body doesn’t get nicotine, you may feel uncomfortable and crave cigarettes. I do believe that consulting the concern specialist, with possible enrolments in quit smoking programs help smokers understand and cope with problems they have when trying to quit.
Over time, your risk as an ex-smoker for developing tobacco-related diseases falls to the level associated with lifetime non-smoker. Imagine how you will be if you continue smoking. Its impact on your physical appearance (yellow teeth, prematurely aged skin, unpleasant odour), risk of depression and anxiety, entails considerable financial costs, both at the personal level and for the health system in terms of health complications.
Nevertheless, people have used many different methods to quit, including medications, counselling and electronic cigarettes. But the bottom line is smoker needs to keep trying, rather than looking back to smoking as a failure, it should be considered an opportunity to learn from experience and be better prepared to quit the next time. At the end, please know that it is never too late to stop smoking and get away from smoking slavery!
Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column he can be contacted at: