Articles on tobacco packaging warning messages

Prevent Cancer by Helping Others to Quit - Facts About Passive Smoking

Dr. Sunny Jain, Oncologist
Since last two decades, there has been a growing number of evidence regarding the harmful effects of smoking on non-smokers. This shows that passive smoking or second-hand smoking is an absolute health hazard and can be detrimental for public health.Second-hand smoke is a combination of the smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke that comes out from the burning tip of a cigarette or cigar. This smoke when inhaled by a non-smoker is known as passive smoking. We all know the bad effects of passive smoking; however, the extent and intensity of damage it cancause is much more.Passive smoking is a need to worry aboutNon-smokers who are exposed to this second-hand smoke increase their risk of lung cancer.If someone you live with constantly smokes and you are exposed to tobacco smoke, you increase your risk of lung cancer by 20% to 30%.Second-hand smoking can lead to premature death in non-smokers.Passive smoke contains about approximately 4000 chemicals of which 69are known to cause cancer.Passive smoking increases the risk of coronary heart diseaseChildren and passive smokingPassive smoking is very harmful for children and it puts them at a high risk for many diseases.Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk for:Cot death or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)Developing asthmaRespiratory and breathing illness such as pneumonia and bronchitisRecurrent colds and coughsMiddle-ear infections.In fact, children who grow up with either of their parents smoking are three times more prone to start smoking as well. Besides, individuals exposed to passives moke show a tendency to show either of these symptoms such as irritation of eyes, nose, throat, cough, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath.Studies have shown that second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death after smoking and alcohol abuse. This has led to ban of smoking in public places for safety of public health and promotion of a healthy environment. Environmental tobacco smoke ranks high as a source of indoor air pollution.Furthermore, studies have also suggested that passive smoke contains more number of chemicals than present in active smoking. As the size of particles in passive smoke is much smaller, so they can easily float in the air, which, in turn, is detrimental to the lungs. Usually, a smoker takes in only 15% of tobacco smoke and the remaining is exhaled out into the surroundings. This means, a passive smoker if present in a smoky room for two hours would be equivalent to have smoked four cigarettes.Thus, even though active smoking is much harmful than passive smoking, second-hand smoke also contains numerous harmful chemicals and carcinogens.If you are exposed to second-hand smoke, here are certain steps you can take to avoid exposure:Ask your guests to smoke outside the house.When you with children, visit non-smoking places.Sit away from smoking areas in public places.Educate others about ill effects of passive smoking.

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Dr. Parag M. Khatri, Dentist
When you see the warning on cigarette packages — "Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health." — What smoking-related diseases come to mind? Lung cancer, probably. Emphysema, maybe. But, did you know that half of periodontal (gum) disease in smokers is caused by smoking? Chronic (long-term)gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth.Studies conducted to examine the effects of smoking on oral health have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease.Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, it makes treatment much more difficult and less likely to be successful. Smoking also lessens your mouth's ability to heal, so much so that many of the treatments you may want and need will not work well if you continue to smoke.For example, crowns and bridges in a person who has gum disease will not look very good because the gum disease will cause bone loss and receding gums around the crown edges. Implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke. Popular cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain laminates, also will not be successful in a person who smokes.Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that destroys soft tissue and bone that anchors your teeth to your jawbones. The bacteria found in dental plaque that forms in the pockets around your teeth and your body's reaction to the plaque contribute to the breakdown of soft tissue and bone.Smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse more quickly. In early stages of the disease, you may notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. As the infection worsens, your gums begin to break down and pull away from your teeth, forming pockets.Later, the pockets between your teeth and gums deepen as more of the supporting structures are destroyed.Ultimately, your teeth may become loose and painful and may even fall out.Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. This maybe the result of a decreased flow of saliva. Smokers have more severe bone loss and more deep pockets between their teeth and gums than nonsmokers. Among specific findings, smokers were 2.6 to 6 times more likely to have gum destruction than nonsmokers, and severe bone loss was 4.7 times greater among current or former heavy smokers compared with people who never smoked."Smokers have less gum bleeding and redness, which can lead to the false impression that the gums are healthy. It is therefore very important that tobacco smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their oral and gingival health," Dr.Albert says.Researchers still are studying just what smoke does to oral tissue, but it appears to interfere with basic functions that fight disease and promote healing. Researchers have found that smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment."It is believed that the chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums, leading to a slow down in the healing process and making the treatment results less predictable and often unfavorable," Dr. Albert says.One reason smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to lose their teeth if they get gum disease is that smoking can slow the healing process after periodontal treatment or any kind of oral surgery. One study found that smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing periodontal therapy. Additionally, the American Academy of Periodontology reports that in most studies of nonsurgical periodontal treatment, smokers showed less improvement than nonsmokers. Smokers also responded less favorably than nonsmokers to surgical treatment."It is not just cigarette smoke that contributes to periodontal disease," Dr.Albert says. All tobacco products, including pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars, can affect the health of your gums.In a study conducted at Temple University and published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000, researchers reported that 17.6% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease.In addition, experts say pipe smokers experience similar rates of tooth loss as cigarette smokers, and smokeless tobacco can cause the gums to recede,increasing the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place.The only good news about smoking and the health of your teeth and gums is that the Surgeon General's warning holds true — quitting now does greatly reduce serious risks to your health. A recent study reported that the likelihood of having periodontal disease was not significantly different among former smokers who had quit 11 years before and people who never smoked.Even reducing the amount you smoke seems to help. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half per day were six times more likely to have periodontal disease than nonsmokers, whereas those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only three times the risk."The dental office is a good place to visit for help with quitting. Your dentist can show you the effect of smoking on your mouth and teeth. She or he can help you set a quit date and provide you with advice on which medications can help you quit, such as nicotine patches or gum," Tobacco use may pose the greatest threat to your health as a risk factor for oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:Implant FailureImplants can be used to replace lost teeth in people who smoke, but smokers should know they are at increased risk for the procedure to fail.Studies that have examined dental implants in smokers and nonsmokers have consistently found that patients who smoke have more implant failures.  "As a result, it is important that patients who smoke and who are considering having a dental implant placed be made aware of the fact that their tobacco use increases the chance that the implant will fail.They should be encouraged to quit smoking before undergoing the procedure and should be provided with tobacco-cessation counseling and support," he says.

World No Tobacco Day- Self-Help Tips to Quit Smoking!

Dr. Naveen Jayaram, Psychiatrist
Why should you quit smoking?Tobacco consumption kills about 8 lakh people every year in India. Cigarettes contain addictive nicotine and 4000 chemicals which are known to cause cancer. 40% of people detected with cancer in India are due to tobacco use. Smoking causes long lasting lung and cardiovascular diseases.To begin with:Think of your smoking behaviour, introspect about it, why I have got addicted to it.Do not deny that you are not addicted to smoking. Accept it as a problem.Over confidence about quitting is not good.Affirm yourself that “ though quitting is a problem I can leave it anytime.”Decide a quit date. Do not postpone. Be determined.Take help of family members/ friends/colleagues, they would be very happy to support you.Always remember you have to take a step, do not blame others or stress as a cause for your addiction. “A Journey of healthy and happy life begins with a single step.”Our mind has the capacity to overcome any addiction.How to reduce the quantity:Keep a record of amount and frequency of cigarette use.Change to brand of cigarette you don’t like.Decrease the number of puffs while smoking.Do not inhale deeply.Do not buy cigarette packs and keep a stock, buy less cigarette.How to handle the urge/craving to smoke:Delay the urge by 1 or 2 hrs or by counting numbers. Distract yourself. Remember urge will last only for few minutes. You can use nicotine gums, chewing gums, toffee when the urge is very strong.Manage the stimulus associated with smoking, i.e. drink coffee or juice instead of tea etc.Remove things which remind you about smoking from your house and office (ashtrays, lighters etc.)Take deep breaths, it will calm you.Drink small sips of water.After Quitting Smoking:Feel good about your behaviour.Talk to people about your achievement, it will boost your self esteem.Say no to smoking offers from colleagues or friend.Avoid the company of smokers and try not to take a single puff.Practice relaxation techniques- deep breathing, listening to music, exercises etc.Know about withdrawal symptoms like, irritability, decreased concentration, headache, restlessness.These symptoms are temporary and last only for few days.Do not get disheartened if you fail, keep trying.Quitting is a process and relapse is common, you need to be aware of it.If you are unable to quit in spite of multiple attempts, seek medical help. Medication course is available to make your quit process easy.Always remember with conscious determination you can achieve anything.Smoking Cessation is the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives. Choose life, not tobacco. Happy quitting!!

Can I Quit Smoking?

Dr. Karagada Sandeep, Homeopath
Many smokers cease to be smokers without using any methods, sheer will power and determination seems to be enough for them. I used to envy such people, even though I knew a few of them envied me 'enjoying' my cigarette. Some smokers though, give up smoking, and after finding it easy to do so, decide that now is not the time to quit, and they can now quit whenever the time is right, it is easy anyway! One of the ironies of being a smoker. For most smokers though (including me then) it is a see-saw battle in operation on a daily basis, deciding every day that 'Today is the day I quit', only to find myself smoking again in a few days, if not hours.As a doctor I knew what smoking was doing to me, and also the people around me. After having tried numerous times to quit, I had given up on giving up smoking! Surprisingly after my last attempt to quit I did not feel like smoking anymore, and I realized all the different methods and approaches I had taken to quit smoking over the years had led me to that moment where I did not feel like I needed a cigarette anymore. It was a euphoric moment for me, and I felt like I had conquered this addiction of mine. I decided to share my new found knowledge with other smokers, and found it to be a near universal 'cure' to get rid of the addiction.It is not possible to explain in entirety everything which goes in to being a non-smoker in a article. However a few important things to consider are briefly explained below. In order to quit smoking and remain a non-smoker it is important to understand the true nature of this addiction. 1. The 'benefits' of Smoking .Smoking helps me relieve stress, smoking helps when I am bored, smoking make my celebrations more enjoyable, when not smoking I feel something missing in my life. As a smoker, I find that all situations and events incomplete without my cigarette, it relaxes me and makes me comfortable. Remember the time you were not a smoker, did you not feel relaxed then? Did life feel incomplete? Smoking your next cigarette is going to temporarily relieve you of the withdrawal pangs, which by the way were created by the last cigarette you smoked. The reason a smoker feels complete, at ease, and confident even, after smoking is because the nicotine from the cigarette replenishes the dropping levels of nicotine leaving the body. The smoker smokes and is relieved, the world seems a happier place, but all the cigarette has done is replenish the nicotine in the body. It is a vicious cycle, which most smokers are unaware of, explaining why cigarettes are so precious to them.Smoking does not relieve any stress or make more enjoyable, it in fact adds to the stress, because now you have to handle the stress already in your life and not smoking is creating another stress.  Does a cigarette seem tempting right after you have exhausted it? Probably not, your body is not suffering withdrawal pangs yet, wait for a while.2. The withdrawal pangs.The withdrawal pangs are horrible, it is hell! I'd rather smoke than go through this.Withdrawal pangs are what your body and mind experience when you have not smoked for a while. Depending on the addiction, it can vary in intensity and frequency. For smokers who decide to quit using will power, experiencing it is at times akin to going to hell. Some smokers say it is a feeling of discomfort, unease, some feel restlessness, a few even experience anger and irritability. Hunger is another commonly experienced withdrawal sign. Most smokers do not however realize that they undergo withdrawal period every day of their life and are able to handle it successfully without even realizing it. Surprising, but true. I have never come across a smoker who said they would wake up from their sleep because of withdrawal. The withdrawal pangs seem to cease when sleeping, wonder why? Because the withdrawal pangs are so minute and imperceptible that we are able to sleep without having had a cigarette for six to seven hours. Six hours during the day without a cigarette and the same smoker would experience a mountain sized withdrawal, but the same smoker is able to sleep blissfully through it. So is withdrawal really so bad, or does it only appear so? 3. The brain washing. I remember my biology teacher in school admonishing a few class mates who were caught smoking, she told them "Your father smokes because he has stress, what stress do you have?". Lesson learnt in our young minds- smoking has a justification, when faced with stress it is perfectly fine to smoke! There are many such brain washing that we receive which makes the pain and discomfort of inhaling the smoke seem worthwhile, such as:Smoking makes you look macho and cool- many on screen heroes do it. Smoking helps me relax and focus, all successful people appear to be smokers.Smoking is a part of every celebration- a reward for myself, I deserve it.I can handle this stress better as a smoker- During stress, it is common for a smoker to offer a cigarette to a non-smoker, he says "Have one, it will make you feel better", he doesn't, there is no withdrawal to address, but it may be enough to get him hooked.The biggest brain washing- Quitting smoking is impossible !Understanding and recognizing what was that brain washed you to have your first cigarette, the process to quitting is easier.The most important thing to remain a non-smoker, is to break the chain, by being a HAPPY NON SMOKER! And it is achievable when you understand why you smoke, what smoking actually does for you, and learn how you can quit happily and choose for yourself to get rid of this 'habit'. Remember smokers who find it easy to quit, find it easy to start again. Quit wisely.

Smoking Is Injurious to Your Eyes Too!!!

Dr. Manoj Rai Mehta, Ophthalmologist
Smoking causes damage to the visual function as well.  The spectrum is wide, from simple redness of eyes to profound loss of vision!  It has been found that chances of developing blindness in old age are four fold in the smoking population than the non smokers.Tobacco smoke contains reactive free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the body cells. There are two different populations of free radicals- one in the tar phase that are relatively stable and the other in the gas phase that are unstable and highly reactive. Free Radicals react with the DNA in the cells causing molecular injury.Smoke causes irritation to the surface tissues of the eye leading to dilatation of blood vessels, puffiness of lids and watering.  Pre- existing Dry Eye Disease gets aggravated by smoking and is also an important cause of the same.Cataract chances in a smoker are two times that of a non smoker.  Lens proteins get coagulated due to free radical injury.Uveitis, inflammation of inner, vascular coat of the eye is also twice as common in smokers as compared to the normal population.Glaucoma, a disorder of optic nerve often characterised by high pressures in the eye is associated with tobacco smoking.  Smoking further damages the already compromised optic nerve!Detachment of Retina has been found two times more often in smokers. Incidence of Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is three times more in the smoking population. Cyanide in tobacco smoke can cause irreversible damage to the Optic Nerve, a condition known as tobacco amblyopia.Unfortunately tobacco use in forms other than smoking also causes damage to the visual function in the same way!The tobacco related damage is significant to the structure and functioning of delicate eye tissues. It is a matter of choice alone to prevent this much avoidable damage.   Stop smoking now...and forever! 

Does Smoking Help in Weight Loss?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Can smoking lead to weight loss?  We know smoking is injurious to health and can cause cancer and lung, mouth, respiratory diseases over a period of time. It is highly addictive because of the nicotine content present in it and can easily let free radicals enter the body. Free radicals are substances that contain unpaired electrons which act with various substances in the body to form new cells. These cell formations can be result in  cancerous causing cells which can intensify into life taking disease. These days many people are experimenting various things like fad diets, smoking, weight loss pills, fat burners for weight loss but are they the healthiest way to lose weight. In fact it is one of the most common reason, which is to lose weight,why people start smoking.According to studies nicotine content in cigarettes can boost metabolism and provides a burst of energy. Smoking makes us inhale carbon monoxide which deprives the red blood cells of oxygen and leads to lesser absorption of nutrients for healthy growth. This makes the body work more than usual for the supply of oxygen and leaving you feel tired. The tar sticks to the airways which makes it difficult for you while breathing when you smoke. But does this marginal kick to metabolism really helps to lose weight and especially at the cost of your health?Smoking can distract you from feeling hungry. Smokers know this when they are hungry and crave for food and smoke at that time they can put off the hunger for a while. A healthier substitute to control hunger pangs is to replace this nicotine stick with a cup of green tea. There are other healthy ways to boost your metabolism other than choosing cigarettes which contains nicotine. Through exercise and eating regular meals would boost your metabolism. Drink lots of cold water for faster metabolism and weight loss. Smoking has a lot of adverse effects in the long run that includes dehydration which makes you lose water and slows down the metabolism resulting in slower calorie burn.Besides all that is written about smoking do you know of anyone who has actually lost weight with smoking? Either you know smokers who are fat and smokers who are thin. But we doubt there has been any weight loss success story that have resulted from smoking cigarettes.Here are some tips to try to quit smoking:Control your mind: Smoking can be very addictive and can be difficult to quit. Set yourself targets. Set your self a date to quit smoking and make sure you stop it on that day. In the mean while make small targets like not smoking till afternoon etc to lessen the density of nicotine in the body.Drink Water: Whenever you feel like smoking drink a glass of water and this could help you to postpone the urge to smoke a cigarette for a while. Doing this ways could bring in the gap between smoking cigarettes.Chewing Gum: Try diverting the mind every time you feel like smoking. Eat a chewing gum or pop in a mint to calm down the urge for a cigarette. Eat a toffee it could help reduce the craving with its sweet taste.Exercise: When you have quit smoking start exercising or go out for a run. As the craving for smoking can make you feel irritated and hyper at times. Running and exercising can help you throw away the frustration and will calm you down.

7 Dangerous Changes That Smoking Causes to Your Skin

Dr. Rohit Batra, Dermatologist
Most people think that having a smoking habit adversely affects only the lungs and the heart. But apart from known links to lung cancer and heart disorders, smoking also causes skin damage. The intensity of damage is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes one smokes in a day and the number of years one has been smoking for.Here are 7 of the horrible things that smoking does to your skinPremature ageing: the process of skin ageing is accelerated by a smoking habit. The chemicals that are ingested through the smoke cause your skin to age much faster, making it look loose, dull and coarse, with uneven colouring. Most smokers have a muted orange or grey tinge to their complexions.Wrinkles and lines: the nicotine from smoke constricts blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin, thereby cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients. This causes the skin to develop visible fine lines and wrinkles at a faster rate.Scarring and pigmentation: since blood is not flowing properly to the outer layers of the skin, it is more susceptible to broken capillaries and veins, which can cause dark scarring and pigmentation on the face and other areas.Darkening of the lips: constant exposure to heat from smoking causes stark darkening and pigmentation in the lips, which also become dry and coarse.Delayed wound healing: the presence of nicotine, tar and other chemicals in the blood causes cuts and wounds on the skin to heal at a much slower pace with an increased risk of infection, blood clot formation and death of skin tissue.Increased risk of skin disease: smoking makes the skin prone to various diseases and conditions like psoriasis, which happen as nicotine adversely affects the body's immune system.High chances of skin cancer: skin cancer and oral cancer are the two lesser known variants of the diseases that can be caused by smoking. Skin cancer is far more common among smokers than among non-smokers.The harmful effects of smoking on the skin are not entirely discernible until after 10 years of prolonged smoking. Fortunately, your skin starts to heal itself when you kick the habit.

Effects of Smoking in Pregnancy: A Serious Threat

Dr. Sujoy Dasgupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
You all know that tobacco causes cancer - cancers in almost all the organs of our body.But what else? can it affect your sexual and reproductive life?In females - it causes problems in menstruation, irregular periods and abnormal amount of bleeding. In addition, it causes difficulty in having baby - by interfering with normal hormone release. Even if pregnancy occurs, the ending may not be a happy one. It is responsible for repeated pregnancy loss (repeated miscarriages), ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus - that cannot survive, on the other hand it can endanger the mother's life). It also causes abnormal bleeding in pregnancy by early separation of placenta (the flower) and thus endangering life of both mother and baby. It is also responsible for inadequate growth of baby inside the uterus. This can result in early delivery (premature baby), low birth weight, permanent damage to baby's brain (mental retardation) and other organs, even death of the baby before or soon after birth. Tobacco also causes early rupture of membranes during pregnancy ("breaking of water") causing preterm delivery and infection. As a result of hormonal deficiency caused by tobacco, there may be infertility and other hormonal problems like sexual dysfunction (dryness especially), discomfort in passing urine and bone pain (all due to hormone deficiency). In older women it can cause prolapse (coming down of uterus outside).In males- tobacco is responsible for low sperm count, low motility and abnormalities in sperms. The result is male infertility.It can also cause hormonal problems in males leading to sexual dysfunction and bone loss.It is responsible for erectile dysfunction and also premature ejaculation. So, the decision is yours whether to choose tobacco or to choose life.