Many surveys, studies and scientific researchers have proved that king is injurious to health. Smoke is unhealthy and suffocating. It pollutes the environment. There are two types of smokers active and passive. The person who smokes is active and others who are near to him and inhale the smoke are passive smokers. Both are equally affected by the ill effects of smoking.
Smokers and nonsmokers meet at many places like offices, buses, hotels, etc. So, considering the bad effects of smoking on individuals’ health, environment as well as individual rights, it should be banned in public places. A person who wants to smoke can do so by keeping himself in isolation.
The smoking of cigarette is glamorised through advertisements. More and more young boys and girls are attracted by this. Even the ‘statutory warning’ on the cigarette packets does not stop them. The young generation thinks that those who smoke are smart, modern and intellectual.
However, smoking is not a good habit. Those who smoke suffer from several health problems. A chain-smoker is the worst sufferer. Cigarette contains 4,000 types of chemicals out of which 43 are carcinogenic.
The carbon monoxide concentration in the smoke is greater than 20,000 ppm. This is diluted to 400-500 ppm during inhalation. It displaces oxygen from hemoglobin and the result is impairment of the central nervous system, cardiac and pulmonary diseases (related to lungs).
These may eventually lead to heart attacks. Cigarette also contains ammonia and other hydrocarbons, which could cause asthma, other respiratory infections and lung cancer. The dust particles in it may be the cause of irritation of the eyes, cancer, and emphysema.
Its nicotine content is highly addictive and reaches the brain immediately. It constricts the blood vessels, raises the blood pressure and gives the central nervous system a small jolt. It can lead to reproductive disorders in the long run.
Some important data are found in ‘A Nationally Representative case control study of Smoking and Death in India’, the most exhaustive study of smoking published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’. This research was done by a team from India, Canada, UK and supported by the World Health Organisation. According to this study, India is in the midst of a catastrophic epidemic of deaths due to smoking.
From 2010, smoking is expected to claim 10 lakh victims every year. While the study found no safe levels of smoking, cigarettes were found to be more dangerous than bidis. There are 120 million smokers in India. The study also found that among men, about 61% of those who smoke would die at ages 30-69 compared with 41% of otherwise similar non-smokers.
Among women, 62% of those who smoke will die between 30-69 compared with only 36% of non-smokers. Smokers in India start at a later age than those in Europe or America and smoke less, but in India smoking kills not only from disease like cancer and lung diseases but also from tuberculosis and heart attacks.
According to a recent study conducted by Yale University, USA smoking is more harmful for teenagers. The people who start smoking at an early age suffer from certain disabilities. Their speed and accuracy to grasp information reduces and it becomes difficult to retain it in their mind. According to Leslie Jacobsen, Associate Professor at Yale School of Medicine, “Adolescent smokers were found to have impairments in accuracy of working memory performance”. Smoking makes adolescents lethargic and slow. It is very alarming that tobacco use among young
women have risen rapidly in India, with 9.7% girls between the ages of 13 and 15 years using some form of tobacco as compared to 3.1% adult women. According to WHO, tobacco use starts young in India, with 14.1% children between the ages of 13 and 15 smoking or use some form of tobacco.
The tobacco epidemic has shifted to the developing world, where 80% of the over 8 million annual tobacco related deaths are expected to occur by 2030. This shift results from a global tobacco industry strategy to target young people especially young women.
Scientists have discovered that smoking has a far more damaging effect on women’s health than men’s. The harmful effects of smoking can kill women eight years earlier than men.
Scientists claim that smoking can cut 11 years off a woman’s average life expectancy. And in case of a man, it is just 3 years off. They even added that women are more susceptible to the commonest form of lung cancer, adeno Carcinoma. If a pregnant woman smokes, it is not only -armful for her own health but also for the expected baby.
It is alarming to know that nearly 700 million children worldwide have in the home of a smoker. Passive smoking increases the risk of bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infection, cardiovascular impairment, asthma and behavioral problems in children. A US study found deficits in reading and reasoning skills among children even at low levels of smoke exposure.
Passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a mixture of exhaled mainstream smoke (smoke exhaled by smokers) and side; team smoke (smoke generated from a passively lit cigarette), as well as contaminants that diffuse through the cigarette paper during puffs. ETS contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, and is even more carcinogenic than active smoking.
Some of the immediate effects of passive smoking include eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. Non-smokers, who are exposed to passive smoking in the home, have a 25 per cent increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer.
So, when smoking is so injurious to health, why do people make it a habit? The single best way for giving one’s own family a smoke-free environment is to quit smoking. Quitting requires planning and a strong intervention. Today, effective support systems like psychotherapeutic interventions along with pharmacotherapy and Nicotine replacement therapy are available to make the quitting process easier.
In a democratic society, people talk about their freedom of life and freedom of liking. One is one’s own master and one is free to do whatever: ne feels like. He may justify his smoking habit saying, “It calms me, it helps me work, think and forget the worries”. But he has no right to harm others by his smoking.
Smoking affects the active and the passive smoker almost equally. Keeping all the consequences of smoking in mind, the Government’s policy to ban smoking in public places is justifiable. Moreover, total ban on smoking may cause an economic scare for the government. The sales of cigarettes are bound to suffer with such a ban and the government will lose revenue from excise duties.
The tobacco industry will face a closure. Millions of people working in these industries will be without employment.
But if a government cares for the health of its citizens, it should rise above the economic consideration and find a way out. So, the government should ban smoking at least in public places. In India, the government has already implemented this policy in some parts of the country. It has also strictly instructed that children below 18 years of age should not be employed in tobacco industries. They cannot sell tobacco for their livelihood.
However, banning smoking in public places will give some justice to the non-smokers. But for smokers, following the line of the developed countries, separate smoking sections should be introduced in workplaces. The smokers can go to that section for a puff and at least leave the non- smokers free of pollution.