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Health and Tobacco

Implications of Tobacco usage on Health

We aim for a healthy nation. Seeing tobacco dependence as a chronic disease, we spread awareness among public about the adverse effects of tobacco usage, which harms almost every organ of user .Tobacco in any form is enormously harmful to health. There are just no safe way to use any tobacco product be it a cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah or gutka. Read on to learn about the health risks associated with tobacco products.

Periodontitis and tobacco

Tobacco users have increased calculus deposition, which can accelerate plaque accumulation, recession and deepening of periodontal pockets. Tobacco suppresses the body’s immune system, reducing ability to fight infection and slowing the healing of damaged gum tissue. Resulting in acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) a painful and rapidly progressive disease of the gingiva, attached gingiva and alveolar mucosa characterized by necrosis of the gingival papilla accompanied by halitosis.

Mouth ulcerations and tobacco

Mouth ulceration or sores are characterized by a loss of the mucosal layer within the mouth. The lesions appear on the mucosal surface of the lower and upper lips at the site at which the cigarette is held. They are characterized by flat or slightly elevated whitish areas with red striations. While lesions induced by smokeless tobacco have a wrinkled surface that ranges from opaque white to translucent and are located in the area where the snuff is held. They may be very red, or may have small white patches in the middle. They may bleed or become infected.

Pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions

Precancerous lesions have the potential to develop into cancerous lesions\oral cavity cancer. Benign conditions are non-cancerous. This occurs when cells that line the oral cavity are exposed to carcinogens, such as tobacco\cigarette smoke. They can change and become more likely to develop into cancer (this process is known as field cancerization). Cancer lesions are usually a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal, a white or red patch or unusual lump or swelling .Pre-cancerous lesions and conditions such as leukoplakia, erythroplakia, leukoerythroplakia, oral submucous fibrosis are caused due to tobacco use. Lung and oral cancer, bladder, cervix, oesophagus, kidney, larynx, pharynx, pancreas, stomach and leukaemia cancers are all linked to tobacco usage.

Esophageal and lung cancer

Tobacco play an important role in the development of esophageal cancer. This is when tissues in the esophagus (the tube that carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach) become cancerous due to exposure to tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke also can cause esophageal cancer in nonsmokers. Cigarette smoke carries numerous chemicals (carbon monoxide, hydrogen peroxide and benzopyrene), called “mutagens”, which causes lung tissue cells to mutate (change and grow). Lung cancer occurs when the cells within the lung tissue are altered at a genetic level to mutate (multiply at an aggressive rate). This destroys the healthy lung tissue and eventually impedes the organ from functioning properly.

Hypertension and heart attack

Tobacco\ Cigarette smoking speeds up the process of atherosclerosis by damaging (hardening\clogging) the cells lining the blood vessels and heart. Making them thicker and narrower. Cigarette smoking also causes blood platelets to clump together. The result is hyper-tension (or blood pressure - pressure that blood exerts on the walls of the vessels as it passes through them). Heart attack occurs when a blood clot forms and cut off blood flow in the artery.

Chronic bronchitis and asthma

Smoking is the most common cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a collective term for a group of conditions that block airflow and make breathing more difficult. Chronic Bronchitis is coughing with a lot of mucus that continues for at least three months. When a person inhales tobacco smoke, irritating substances settle in the moist lining of the airways, causing an asthma (is a problem of the airways that carry air into the lungs. These airways get so narrow that air can't move freely) attack. Tobacco smoke also damages cilia (tiny hair-like structures in the airways) so they are unable to work, allowing dust and mucus to accumulate in the airways. Smoke also causes the lungs to make more mucus than normal. As a result, of mucus can build up in the airways, triggers an attack.

Sudden infant death syndrome

Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS is when a baby who seems healthy dies during sleep. Smoking during pregnancy is linked with low-birth weight newborns, premature births, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS happens more often in premature and low-birth-weight babies. SIDS may be caused by problems with how well the brain controls breathing, heart rate and rhythm, and temperature during the first few months of life.


Impotency is also called erectile dysfunction (ED) is a male’s inability to get an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse. The condition is also one of the causes of male infertility, if a man is unable to impregnate his partner. Both smoking and erectile dysfunction have often been associated -- individually -- with plaque build-up in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. The plaque obstructs blood flow through vessels, causing a host of circulatory problems throughout the body, including erectile dysfunction.

Myths busted: No tobacco product is safe

There is misconception, that certain tobacco products are safe and this has lead to their increased.

Smokeless tobacco does not emit smoke and is considered less or NOT harmful. Smokeless tobacco is plain chewing tobacco like Khaini, Zarda, Kiwam, Bajjar/Tapkir, Masheri, Gul, Gudhaku, tobacco toothpaste, tobacco water, paan with tobacco, gutkha, Mawa, Manipuri tobacco, all these are readily available and use is increasingly among children and women. An intelligent marketing strategy portrays the product's safety.

Second hand smoking is also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), which is the involuntary inhalation of smoke inhaled involuntary or passively by someone who is not smoking. This is not taken into account as harmful.

Smoked tobacco products are cigarettes, bidis, hookah, chillum/hookli, chutta, dhumti, cheroot and cigar. In rural India the hookahs is considered as a symbol of authority and in urban India cigarette is a style statement. Today hookahs are popular in urban pubs, restaurants etc. Similarly, bidi called “the poor man’s cigarette” is smoked by both the rich and poor alike. All these are extremely damaging to health.