Tobacco consumption starts commonly as a playful experiment but quite often ends up in a kind of addiction that poses risks to one’s life and even others around. The harsh reality of consuming tobacco is quite visible and is also well known to all. The unfortunate part is, only little heed is paid to it.
Going by facts, while the revenue of tobacco companies shoot sky high at around 744 billion globally, the number of deaths due to it are estimated to cross 8 million annually by 2030. Studies suggest that every 6 seconds, one person dies out of a tobacco related disease.
Essentially, tobacco is consumed by people in two main forms – smoke and smokeless. While most people feel only smoking is harmful, the reality is that consumption of tobacco in any form has the potential to result in at least 16 types of cancer.
There is no ‘safe level’ when it comes to tobacco usage in any form. Even slight association with this menace could cost one or others around, their life, raising vulnerability to cancer and many other life-threatening diseases.
The following facts indicate its direct linkage in raising risks of cancer:
- Tobacco smoke contains over 70 chemicals, known as carcinogens which hold the potential to cause cancer. Each time one inhales the smoke, it spreads all over their body through the bloodstream. This chemical infused smoke then starts affecting one’s DNA which ultimately influences one’s bodily ability to form new cells, direct them or ends up producing uncanny cells. These uncanny cells can slowly become the stepping stones for cancer. Smoking is also known to have a detrimental impact on one’s immunity, which makes it harder to kill these emerged cells and fight cancer.
- Smoking is recognised to be the sole cause of almost 90 percent of the chronic pulmonary diseases. While most people think that smoking restricts itself only to lung related cancers, it may not be entirely true. As many as 1 out of every 5 cancer cases have their association with smoking as a lead cause.
- Passive smoking is also very dangerous and can cause innocent people to suffer consequences because of the wrong habit of others. Second-hand smoke causes approximately 7300 lung cancers deaths and 34000 heart related diseases every year. Out of the 20 million reported deaths because of smoking since 1964, 2.5 million are victims of second-hand smoke.
Smoke-free tobacco, that is, chewing and dipping tobacco might appear psychologically to be less of harm than smoking, but it runs parallel to smoking in the race to human damage health. In fact, three to four times extra nicotine is consumed in the process of chewing tobacco when compared to smoking. 8 to 10 dips of tobacco are equivalent to smoking 30-40 cigarettes. It almost equals 5 packs of cigarettes at once. Here’s how smokeless tobacco induces cancer –
- Smokeless tobacco products are meant to be kept inside one’s cheek or amidst the cheek and gum. It exposes its consumer to as many as 28 different types of cancers due to the presence of over 30 carcinogens in the smokeless form. Hence, the tobacco that many chews regularly can actually bite on their future by nurturing mouth cancer, oesophagus cancer, and other cancers such as the ones related to the pancreas.
- Regular users of smokeless tobacco are exposed to a 75% percent chance of developing a health condition called Leukoplakia, an initial indicator of oral cancer. In this scenario, one might witness white patches on their cheeks, gums or tongue.
Despite all the irreversible health consequences and awareness, the demand for tobacco doesn’t seem to take a considerable hit if we consider the overall picture:
- Smokeless tobacco is a proven cause of oral cancer, still hasn’t been capped from the markets, given its enormous demand. The number of smokeless tobacco users stands at 10 million in only the US out of which 3 million are below the age of mere 21.
- Approximately eighty thousand to one lakh children smoke every day, half of whom reside in Asia. More than 50% of these children who expose themselves to this new trend, eventually witness it becoming a habit which goes on for an average of 15 to 20 years.
Quitting & Protecting Yourself
Stats in the latest GATS report point to the fact that more than 30% of the smokers try to quit smoking in the past one year. It’s true that consumption gets addictive due to the inherent properties of tobacco. However, with having the essential knowledge, people must not get into its clutches in the first place, to reduce their proneness to cancer. In case of addiction, serious attention should be paid to dismantle it slowly.
In the meanwhile, it is also important that you protect yourself financially usingand undergo regular medical check-up. Cancer policies cover even the minor stages of cancer, so you can avail the best treatments at the beginning itself and stem the growth in its tracks.
Its better to protect your family’s future with a cancer insurance policy and try to keep them at a safe distance from the toxic smoke.