Although its consumption is legal, tobacco kills many of its users when used exactly as intended by its manufacturers. This statement affirms the popular catchphrase that ‘smokers are liable to die young’.
The World Health Organisation Global Report on Trends in Tobacco Smoking 2000-2025 noted that tobacco use is currently responsible for the death of about six million people across the world annually, with many of these deaths occurring among the people between ages of 25 and 40.
Apart from outright death, other ‘rewards’ for include some terrible diseases and health conditions from smoking.
As the world marks the World No Tobacco Day on Thursday, we take a look at seven of the most dreadful diseases caused or aggravated by smoking.
Smoking damages the arteries to the heart either by obstructing and tightening the arteries, which means less blood and oxygen flow to the heart. This increases the risk of heart attacks and diseases. Each year, tobacco smoking accounts for around approximately 20% of all heart disease deaths.
Smoking does not only damage the arteries to cause heart attacks or diseases, it can also set off stroke. A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily blocked. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and start to die. A stroke can cause paralysis, slurred speech, altered brain function and death.
The deadliest type of cancer is the lung cancer, which claims several lives. According to a report, 87% of people who died of lung cancer are caused by cigarette smoking.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a disruptive lung disease that makes it hard to breathe which can result in a serious long-term disability and early death. COPD starts by making it hard to be active until the patient is unable to carry out his day-to-day activities. About 80 percent of all COPD is caused by cigarette smoking.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It affects more than 10 million Nigerians – according to Prof. Erhabor, a Managing Director, Asthma and Chest Care Foundation. Because cigarette smoke irritates air passages, it can cause sudden and severe asthma attacks.
Infertility and Ectopic Pregnancy
Female smokers have their fertility chances at stake. Smoking reduces fertility in women, which makes it more difficult to get pregnant. Smoking also causes ectopic pregnancy in women, which is when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus. The egg can’t survive and, if left untreated, can be life-threatening for the mother.
Blindness, Cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
One of the signals of a high smoker is the red eyes, which suggests that the eyes are not comfortable with the smoke. Smoking can make one go blind. It is the leading cause of blindness in adults ages 65 and older. It damages eyes and can result in loss of vision just as it can cause age-related macular degeneration.
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