How many time have we heard that smoking is extremely dangerous to health. It leads to many diseases, shortens life and hastens death. There is now a vast amount of statistical evidence available showing smoking of tobacco, especially of cigarettes as the main cause of great risk in mortality of cancer of lungs, mouth, stomach, bladder, heart diseases as well as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Over 30 retrospective as well as a large number of prospective studies conducted in Canada, US, UK and many other developed countries have proved convincing evidence of its association with the diseases mentioned above.
Mortality risk from lung cancer among cigarette smokers compared to non-smokers has been shown as seven times for those smoking 1 cigarettes, 13 times for those smoking 20 cigarettes and 25 times for those smoking 30 cigarettes a day.
Deep inhalers and those who tart smoking before the age of 15 year have a higher attack rate. Lung cancer risk is somewhat decreased but certainly remains there by switching over to filter tipped cigarettes or pipe , cigar or hooka smoking. These prospective studies have also revealed that a smoker of 20 cigarettes a day may live five years less than he might have done as a non-smoker.
The relative risk of dying from cancer among smokers as compared to non-smokers has been found to be 11 times in cancer of lung, five times in cancer of mouth and larynx and three times in cancer of esophagus and stomach. It is significant that lung cancer risk decreases in those who stop smoking. It is halved in those who had stopped smoking for one to five years but after 10-13 years cessation of smoking that risk approximates that of individual who never smoked.
Whereas the mortality from Ischaemic heart disease among non-smokers is 166 per 100,000 populations;its risk amongst increases proportionately according to the tobacco smoked. Among smokers up to 10 cigarettes a day it is 78 per 100,000 population, with 20 cigarettes a it is 358 per 100,000 population and with 30 cigarettes a day it rises to 427 per 100,000 population. Overall of the total deaths caused by Cancer 90 per cent are amongst smokers. Death caused by Bronchitis and Emphysema, 75 per cent are amongst smokers, and in Heart diseases including coronary artery disease, 25 per cent are amongst smokers.
New born babies exposed to parents smoke develop bronchitis and pneumonia more often and are hospitalized twice compared to those whose parents do not smoke. With parents smoking the risk factor to babies and children are increased with acute respiratory infection; adverse development of lung respiratory function and to fetus in pregnant women.
This post is the result of author’s talk with Dr. Tamoor of Jinnah Hospital, Lahore.