A report published by the World Health Organization in 2022 states that every year more than 7 million people suffer from the harmful side-effects of tobacco consumption, yet the rate of tobacco consumption is rising at an alarming rate among all age groups in India. We are all aware of the risk factors caused due to regular tobacco use. It not only results in serious cardiovascular and respiratory medical conditions but is also the leading cause of various types of cancer like that of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, stomach, liver, cervix, kidney, and acute myeloid leukemia.
How tobacco influences your health
Tobacco has cancer-causing chemicals known as carcinogens which increase insulin resistance, hypertension, acute respiratory disease, and osteoporosis. It also affects our reproductive system and can lead to infertility. During pregnancy, it is a strict no for women to indulge in smoking as it may result in preterm labor and delivery, birth abnormalities, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy. For men, smoking often leads to sperm damage.
The first step to living a healthy life is to quit smoking and avoid second-hand or passive smoking. This ensures several health benefits like reduced risk of cancer, the improved prognosis of cancer patients, better lung capacity, reduced health implications, and so on. Further, avoiding /quitting smoking during the diagnosis of cancer ensures better treatment outcomes.
While it is widely known that the chances of developing cancer also depends on the kind of lifestyle choices one makes, below are a few lifestyle changes recommended to reduce the risk factor of cancer:
• Say no to tobacco and alcohol consumption – Excess alcohol or tobacco consumption can give rise to various health concerns developing into fatal problems like cancer related diseases. Therefore, quitting smoking and alcohol can increase the body capacity and body immunity to fight back infections.
• Be physically active – Including physical exercises in our everyday routine can help us maintain a proper bodyweight. Performing light yoga, zumba or cycling can help an individual to remain physically fit and keep the health implications at bay.
• Consume a heathy diet – Eating right and drinking sufficient water can maintain a healthy and a clean body. Our platter must be full of essential nutrients and vitamins that our body needs. Iron or calcium supplements intake is also recommended after consulting with an expert. Alongside, drinking sufficient water not only hydrates our body but also helps in digestion, normalizes body temperature, and flushes the unwanted bacteria from our bladder.
• Sleep well – Experts often suggest that less than 6 hours of sleep may raise the risk of cancer in any individual. Sleeping right is important as it may avoid the risk of being drowsy, attaining health problems like diabetes, insomnia ad heart-related ailments. A good night’s sleep reduces the risk of early death and maintains blood pressure.
Tobacco can be addictive due to the nicotine content which makes quitting smoking a long and difficult journey. The harmful effects of smoking have been addressed over the last few years in our country and there are now smoking cessation programs in place with specially designed plans for smokers.
-Dr. Shivakumar – Consultant Surgical Oncologist and Laparoscopic Surgeon, North Bangalore Hospital and Trust In Hospital