Tobacco consumption starts commonly as a playful experiment but often ends up in a kind of addiction that poses risks to one’s life and even others. 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.

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Going by facts, while the revenue of tobacco companies shoot sky-high at around 744 billion globally, the number of deaths due to it is 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 tobacco consumption in any form can 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:

  1. 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 produce 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, making it harder to kill these emerging cells and fight cancer.
  2. Smoking is the sole cause of almost 90 percent of 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 five cancer cases associate smoking as a lead cause.
  3. Passive smoking is also hazardous and can cause innocent people to suffer consequences from others’ bad habits. Second-hand smoke causes approximately 7300 lung cancer deaths and 34000 heart-related diseases yearly. Out of the 20 million reported deaths from smoking since 1964, 2.5 million are victims of second-hand smoke.

Smoke-free tobacco, chewing and dipping tobacco, might appear psychologically less harmful than smoking, but it runs parallel to smoking in the race to prevent human damage to health. Three to four times extra nicotine is consumed in chewing tobacco compared to smoking. 8 to 10 dips of tobacco are equivalent to 30-40 cigarettes. It almost equals five packs of cigarettes at once. Here’s how smokeless tobacco induces cancer –

  1. 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 types of cancers due to the presence of over 30 carcinogens in the smokeless form. Hence, the tobacco that many chew regularly can aite their future by nurturing mouth cancer, esophagus cancer, and other cancers such as the ones related to the pancreas.
  2. Regular smokeless tobacco users are exposed to a 75% chance of developing a health condition called Leukoplakia, an initial oral cancer indicator. 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 big hit if we consider the overall picture:

  1. Smokeless tobacco, 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; 3 million are below a mere 21.
  2. Approximately eighty thousand to one lakh children smoke daily, 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 that goes on for an average of 15 to 20 years.

Quitting & Protecting Yourself

The latest GATS report states that more than 30% of smokers have tried to quit smoking in the past year. Consumption indeed 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 the case of addiction, serious attention should be paid to dismantling it slowly.

Meanwhile, it is also important to protect yourself financially by using a cancer insurance policy and regular medical check-ups. Cancer policies cover even the minor stages of cancer, so you can avail the best treatments at the beginning and stem the growth in its tracks.

It’s 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.