Tobacco use exposes users to several thousands of toxic chemicals, and according to the World Health Organization, about 7 million people succumb to exposure to these chemicals. While this statistic is worrying, what is striking is the fact these deaths are entirely preventable. Over the years, the Centre for Disease Control has run several campaigns to reduce the number of deaths caused by tobacco use, and while there have been improvements, a lot more needs to be done. This involves genuine and emotional communication of the harmful effects of using tobacco to users and potential users. In highlighting some of the significant and adverse effects of tobacco, this article attempts to drive the deterrence efforts.
As mentioned earlier, tobacco contains toxic chemicals harmful to everybody organ, including the bones. As one continues to smoke tobacco products, the toxins draw calcium from the bones thereby making the bones porous and consequently low bone density. Porous bones are thus prone to getting fractures, and that is why most tobacco smokers tend to get hip fractures easily.
- Gum Disease
Apart from affecting bone tissue, tobacco toxins also affect the gums where these chemicals cause a condition known as periodontitis. This gum infection affects the bone structure that supports the teeth consequently causing the teeth to fall off over time. The sad part is that only expensive corrective surgery can improve affected gums. That is, however, the price tobacco users have to pay.
Stroke occurs when brain cells in parts of the brain die as a result of restricted blood flow. Tobacco plays a significant role in stroke cases because the toxins cause the walls of blood vessels to become rigid. Additionally, nicotine increases the formation of blood clots and plaque, two ingredients necessary for restricting blood flow.
- Heart Attack
The arteries and vein leading away from the heart pump blood to various parts of the body. However, since the walls of these blood vessels become so rigid as a result of smoking tobacco, it becomes hard to push blood to other parts of the body. The heart has to, therefore, work extra hard to make up for the deficiencies of the rigid blood vessels.
- Type 2 Diabetes
Tobacco has an adverse effect on insulin, and this is terrible news for its users especially those that already have type 2 diabetes. That’s because the condition tends to exacerbate because tobacco toxins increase the body’s resistance to insulin. Continued smoking gives rise to other complications such as restricted blood flow primarily to the legs and skin which may ultimately lead to amputation.
Unlike decades ago when people believed that the only type of cancer tobacco carcinogens caused was lung cancer, today it is clear that tobacco can cause cancers anywhere in the body. These include but not limited to cancer of the liver, cervix, colon, bladder, blood, stomach and pancreas. According to the CDC, if everyone stopped smoking tobacco products, 1 in 3 cancer deaths would be avoided.