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The Health Risks of Tobacco Smoking

Dr Devanu Ghosh Roy

18th June,2023

The Health Risks of Tobacco Smoking

Tobacco smoking is the act of burning tobacco and inhaling the resulting smoke, which then enters the bloodstream. Approximately 23 percent of the global population engages in cigarette smoking. When it comes to smoking side effects, numerous studies have established a strong association between tobacco smoking and various serious health conditions, including coronary artery disease (CAD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancers affecting multiple organs, and impaired reproductive health. This article focuses on the assessment and management of tobacco smoking, highlighting the crucial role of the interprofessional healthcare team in enhancing patient care for individuals dealing with this harmful habit.

The tobacco plant's leaves were originally harvested and smoked by Native Americans, and the introduction of tobacco to Europe can be credited to Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. The botanical name for tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, was derived from Jean Nicot, who sent tobacco leaves to the Queen of France in the 16th century. During the late 18th century, packaged cigarettes and cigars gained rapid popularity. Although suspicions regarding the link between tobacco and throat and mouth cancers emerged in the early 20th century, it wasn't until 1964 that the US government released a pivotal document titled "Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service." Since then, tobacco's health implications have been a prominent topic in the annual Surgeon General's Reports.

Despite the extensive dissemination of research findings, tobacco smoking-related illnesses persist as the primary cause of preventable deaths worldwide. The correlation between tobacco smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary artery disease (CAD) has been strongly established. Hence, if you are a smoker, it is advisable to consult a cardiologist in Kolkata to assess the potential risks to your heart health.

Tobacco smoking exerts detrimental effects on human reproductive health as well. In men, smoking has been linked to reduced semen volume, decreased sperm density, and lower total sperm count. For women, tobacco smoking disrupts the regular menstrual cycle and diminishes ovarian reserve. Additionally, smoking tobacco during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, posing risks to the health of the newborn.

Tobacco smoking is an extremely hazardous addiction that poses a significant threat to the health of every organ system in the human body. The most effective approach to avoiding tobacco-related illnesses is to never initiate smoking in the first place. However, for current smokers, quitting smoking as soon as possible is the next best course of action. Assisting patients in quitting smoking is considered one of the most beneficial preventive medicine interventions available today. Nearly every healthcare team member has a crucial role to play in providing support and guidance for smoking cessation. It is important to recognize that smoking is a perilous habit that significantly increases the risk of negative health outcomes and even premature death.