No Tobacco Day (May 31)


By Prof TP Chaturvedi

Varanasi: No Tobacco day is celebrated on 31st  May on every year from 1987 by World Health Organization. The theme of WHO for this year is protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.

It is ideal occasion for creating awareness regarding tobacco use and its harmful effect to the public. It provides opportunity to convey for prevention of diseases caused by tobacco and benefit of quitting.

It has been shown that Covid 19 virus infection is more dangerous in the smokers. Further chewing tobacco users spit more than normal person due to secretion of more saliva which may causes more spread of covid 19 virus infection.

In 6.5 second one smoker loose one’s life. Tobacco related killing is more than AIDS, TB in the world. Tobacco can be used as smoking (Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, bidi etc) and smokeless form (chewing tobacco). Cigarettes, are made of dried tobacco leaves, and for pleasant ingredients are added. Tobacco smoke contain approximately 4000 chemical poison substances and 60 carcinogenic substance. These dangerous substances are carbon monoxide, ammonia, cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol (woodalcohol), acetylene etc. These substances cause heart, lung, kidney, blood, and gastric diseases. All of them can be life threatening. 90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking.

Smoking also is causative factor for dental problems, oral cancer (lip cancer, Cheek cancer, tongue cancer), throat cancer etc. Nicotine present in tobacco damages normal functioning of heart and distort blood vessels. Apart from lung diseases and heart diseases, Tobacco may cause eye and kidney problems too. Tobacco user reduces his/her age up to 10 years of total duration of owns life. Chewing tobacco (smokeless form of tobacco) is used as surti, khaini, gutakha and in pan.

The tobacco leaves are cut and processed – this involves the addition of flavorings, preservatives, binders and chemicals. Some of the chewing tobacco ingredients are more than 28 Cancer Causing Carcinogens like acetaldehyde, arsenic, benzopyrene, cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, nicotine, nitrosamines etc. Chewing tobacco can be chewed for extended periods of time which causes more concentration of nicotine entered in body due to localized lengthy exposure to harmful ingredients inherent in chewing tobacco. This also causes more addictiveness for a person.

Now Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are also more common in western country. It designed to look like cigarettes, right down to the glowing tip. The smoker inhales it like cigarette smoke, and the nicotine is absorbed into the lungs. Some people believe that these could be used to help people give up tobacco. But practically it can cause severe stated problems.

Oral Cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer and 10th most common cause of death. It’s shameful that India ranks 1st in world in oral cancer cases. Tobacco is one of the main causes of oral cancer. As per research and data collected, around 80-85% of oral cancer is due to use of tobacco, khaini, sunghani, bidi, cigarette etc. Around 80000 to one lakhs new cases of oral cancer are detected in India per year. More than 2,200 death per day are tobacco related. Earlier oral Cancer was detected around the age of 40 years or above but now the trend has changed. Younger people <35 years are getting affected due to the habits like Gutkha, Pan, Supari & Cigarette.

The treatment of oral cancer can be treated by surgical, by medicine therapy. If it is detected at initial stage (pre cancer stage) it can be effectively managed by consultant. Awareness of Tobcco related diseases is done seriously by dental fraternity, social organization of the country.

Key facts By WHO about Tobacco

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Over 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.

(About author: Prof TP Chaturvedi is the President of Indian Dental Association (IDA), UP State & Former Dean, Faculty of Dental Sciences, BHU Varanasi.)


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