4 Dangerous Ways in Which Smoking Affects the Human Body

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, 266.8 million adults (28.6 per cent of the entire population) in India (aged 15yrs and above) currently use tobacco. Among the adult population, 24.9 per cent (232.4 million) are daily tobacco users, and 3.7 per cent (34.4 million) are occasional users. Every third adult from rural areas and every fifth adult from the urban areas reported current tobacco use. The most prevalent form of tobacco use in India is smokeless tobacco, and commonly used products are Khaini, Gutkha, Betel Quid with tobacco and Zarda. Smoking forms of tobacco used are Bidi, Cigarette, and Hookah.Also Read – World Kidney Day 2022: Why Does Kidney Disease Happen? Symptoms, Signs And Treatment, Expert Speaks – Watch

The report also found that 92.4 per cent believed that smoking causes serious illness among all adults. Many of the adults felt that smoking causes Stroke (65.8 per cent), Heart Attack (76.7 per cent), Lung Cancer (93.5 per cent) and Tuberculosis (92.3 per cent). Despite the awareness level, smoking continues to be a significant hurdle for the healthcare community, as people continue using tobacco and its related products. There are no safe products for smoking – whether it is Acetone or Nicotine – they are all harmful to your body and can be fatal in the long run. Ahead, we have put together four major reasons why smoking is bad for you and why you should quit now. Also Read – World Kidney Day 2022: 8 Healthy Habits to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

  • Central Nervous System: Many people understand and know that smoking can have negative effects on the Lungs and Heart, but not many know that Nicotine is also hazardous for the brain. Nicotine imitates the path of several neurotransmitters (which send signals) in the brain. As nicotine is similar in shape to the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, the signaling increases in the brain. Further, Nicotine also activates Dopamine signals and thereby creates a pleasurable sensation. With time, the brain compensates for the increased signaling activity by reducing the number of Acetylcholine receptors. This causes ‘Nicotine Tolerance’, so the body craves more Nicotine with time. Further, Nicotine also stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres, which is why the brain begins to associate smoking with feeling good and is the reason smokers find it difficult to quit. Physical withdrawal from nicotine can impair your cognitive functioning and make you feel anxious, irritated, and depressed. Additionally, withdrawal can also cause headaches and sleep problems, which can damage your cognitive function.
  • Periodontitis: A group of inflammatory diseases affecting the tooth’s supporting tissues, periodontitis is preventable through good oral hygiene. The Periodontium consists of four tissues – Cementum, Gingiva, Alveolar bone, and Periodontal Ligaments. When someone uses tobacco regularly, it increases the risk of the disease and has a significant impact on the development, progress, and treatment results of periodontal disease.
  • Digestive System: Smoking can cause a lot of damage to your digestive system, including your mouth, throat, and larynx. It significantly increases your risk for both Esophagus and Pancreatic Cancer. Even people who “smoke but don’t inhale” face an increased risk of Mouth Cancer. In addition, smoking also influences Insulin, making a smoker develop Insulin Resistance, putting them at an increased risk of Diabetes and its related complications.
  • Cardiovascular System: Smoking damages the entire cardiovascular system of the smoker. When someone consumes Nicotine, it causes blood vessels to tighten, which restricts blood flow. Over time, the ongoing narrowing and damage to the blood vessels can cause Peripheral Artery Disease. Additionally, smokers are at additional risk for blood pressure as smoking weakens the blood vessel walls and increases clots in the blood – this, in turn, can result in a Stroke! If you’ve already had heart Bypass Surgery, a Heart Attack, or a stent placed in a blood vessel, smoking can be dangerous for you as the condition can worsen drastically.

Smoking impacts your cardiovascular health and the health of those around you, even if they don’t smoke. This is because exposure to second-hand smoke carries the same risk to a non-smoker as someone who does smoke. Every smoker will require a unique technique customized to their symptoms/effects to help them quit the habit. If it is not possible for a smoker to quit on their own, we recommend that they reach out to a healthcare provider for support – a doctor can prescribe medications if necessary. Quit smoking today! Also Read – No Diet Suits All: Why You Need to Optimise Nutrition as You Age, Expert Talks

(Authored by Dr Prashant Chhajed, Director-Pulmonology and Sleep Centre, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi)

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