World Lung Cancer Day 2023: Some Early Signs Of Damage To Look For Due To Tobacco Consumption

World Lung Cancer Day 2023: Some Early Signs Of Damage To Look For Due To Tobacco Consumption

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New Delhi: World Lung Cancer Day is observed on August 1 each year in a move to beat back occurrences of lung cancer. One of the major causes of lung cancer is the consumption of tobacco and it remains a global health concern, adversely affecting individuals and society. Tobacco use, particularly smoking, has been a global public health concern for several decades. Despite the revelations and anti-smoking campaigns, tobacco use, including smoking, remains a significant health challenge due to its addictive nature and the extensive burden it imposes on public health.

According to Dr. Advait Sharma, Chief Medical Officer at Truworth Wellness, “The use of tobacco in any form, including heating tobacco products, has become a symbol of style. However, this tend can seriously damage one’s health and lead to early symptoms such as persistent cough, sore throat, respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, increased acidity and changes in bowel habits. Other notable effects include yellowing of the teeth, prolonged bad breath, impaired taste and smell, and bleeding gums. In severe cases, the use of tobacco as gutka and smoking cigarettes can cause the presence of blood in the sputum, indicating serious damage. In addition, overall lung function and skin color can be seriously impaired in some people due to smoking.”

In additon to that, Dr Deni Gupta, senior consultant – Medical Oncology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital shared how Tobacco can cause various cancers.

She said, “Tobacco poses a well-established risk for various cancers, including those affecting the mouth, tongue, throat, lungs, esophagus, and urinary bladder. Moreover, even if one manages to avoid these specific diseases, tobacco smoke can still significantly impact lung function, leading to respiratory ailments like asthma and chronic obstructive airway disease, among others. Smokers also face heightened chances of developing cardiac issues such as high blood pressure and heart attacks.”

While the long-term consequences of tobacco use are well-known, it is crucial to identify and understand the early signs of damage caused by this harmful habit shared by Dr. Ashok Rattan of Redcliffe Labs:

Oral Health:

There are many visible and early signs of tobacco-related damage. Regular tobacco use can lead to a range of oral problems. Smokers may also experience a decreased sense of taste and smell. Furthermore, smokeless tobacco users are at a higher risk of developing oral cancers, including mouth, tongue, and throat.

Respiratory System:

Tobacco smoke inhaled directly into the lungs, wreaks havoc on the respiratory system. Chronic coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath are early indicators of tobacco-related damage. Smokers may experience increased susceptibility to respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Moreover, continued exposure to tobacco smoke can lead to the development of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive and debilitating condition that impairs lung function.

Cardiovascular Health:

Tobacco consumption significantly raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The chemicals present in tobacco smoke damage the lining of blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and increasing the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Individuals who smoke may experience chest pain, palpitations, and an increased heart rate. These warning signs should not be ignored, as they may signify the early stages of severe cardiovascular damage.

Skin and Appearance:

The effects of tobacco on skin health and overall appearance are both visible and distressing. Smokers are prone to premature aging, with the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin occurring earlier than non-smokers. Tobacco use diminishes the skin’s natural elasticity, leading to a dull and unhealthy complexion. Moreover, smokers are also likely to develop skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma, due to the carcinogens present in tobacco smoke.

Reproductive Health:

Tobacco consumption affects both male and female reproductive health. In males, smoking can lead to erectile dysfunction, reduced sperm count, and impaired sperm motility, potentially causing infertility. Female smokers may face challenges in conception, an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and complications during pregnancy, including premature birth and low birth weight. It is vital for couples planning to start a family to recognize these early signs and seek assistance in quitting tobacco use to improve their chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Quitting smoking can have positive effects on mental health. Dr. Ashok Rattan also shared some proven researches and facts:

  • Studies show that quitting smoking can improve symptoms of some mental health conditions, including depression, and can lead to a more positive outlook
  • After the withdrawal stage of quitting, people have reduced anxiety, depression, and stress levels and improved quality of life and positive mood.
  • Stopping smoking can be as effective as antidepressants in improving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Quitting smoking does not necessarily worsen psychiatric symptoms, as some people may believe. In fact, quitting smoking can lead to improved mental health and well-being.
  • It is possible that some people who quit smoking experience improved mental health after cessation and therefore remain abstinent, whereas others may experience deterioration in mental health and relapse to smoking.

Well, it’s never too late to quit tobacco. If you wish to say yes to life, the first step is to quit tobacco, and what’s the right time to quit Tobacco? It’s today. 

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