Tobacco smoking has become a major single cause of cancer mortality [death] around the world.
According to a report by WHO, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, which kills nearly six million people a year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.
The report says, “Tobacco caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, it may cause one billion deaths in the 21st century.”
Unchecked, tobacco-related deaths will increase to more than eight million per year by 2030. More than 80% of those deaths will be in low-and middle-income countries, the report suggests.
However, despite the menace caused by tobacco consumption, only four countries, representing just over a third of the world’s population, monitor tobacco use by repeating nationally representative youth and adult surveys at least once every five years.
As per the report, studies show that few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use. For example, a 2009 survey in China revealed that only 38% of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease and only 27% knew that it causes stroke.
Among smokers who are aware of the dangers of tobacco, most want to quit. Counseling and medication can more than double the chance that a smoker who tries to quit will succeed.
National comprehensive cessation services with full or partial cost-coverage are available to assist tobacco users to quit in only 21 countries, representing 15% of the world’s population.
Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on the fertility of both men and women, and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy. These health tips by expert can help. If a woman is a regular smoker, then it has a double effect on a woman’s fertility. Smoking can harm both the eggs and the uterus. It not only affects her egg quality, but can also have endometrial effect. Many studies too have shown that smoking can have negative effects on fertility, notes Dr Apurva Satish Amarnath, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility.
“In women, smoking decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates by about half. Smoking also increases miscarriage rates. smoking also reduces the egg reserve of the woman which is not a reversible condition. For instance, if we are to compare two women with the same characteristics in terms of egg quality, quantity, BMI, AMH-level, among others, the chances are that the non-smoking woman will conceive faster than the smoking woman. If a woman quits smoking completely, then the chances of conception improve and the risk of miscarriage reduces,” Dr Apurva told IANSlife ahead of the International Anti-Tobacco Day on May 31.
From the male’s perspective, the carcinogen quality of cigarettes in general affects the motility of the sperm and excessive smoking can lead to the poor sperm count and other fertility problems. As compared to females, the condition can be reversible.
If a man completely gives up smoking the quality of his sperms can improve, resulting in his fertility improving in a span of 3-6 months after quitting completely, she said.
Smoking during pregnancy
According to Dr Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Noida, smoking during pregnancy are dangerous for both mother and the baby.
If a mother smokes, the 4,000 harmful chemicals present in each cigarette passes directly to the baby through the mother’s bloodstreams. In such cases, the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage goes up besides an increased risk of low birth weight, baby’s heart rate, breathing problem and premature delivery, Dr Sandeep told IANSlife.
These risks to the baby multiply with the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy. Not only for babies, but tobacco smoking is also harmful to the mother, increasing her risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and other conditions.
Passive smoking and childbirth
A study has presented that exposure to secondhand smoke was associated with lower IQs in children. For babies exposed to secondhand smoke, there is an increase in risk for developing asthma attacks, breathing problems, ear infections, impaired lung development, and coughing.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke require more ear tube surgeries than those who are not exposed. Sudden infant death syndrome is more common in babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy as well as in babies exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoking by pregnant mothers is similar to first hand smoking.
There are more than 8 million people who die from tobacco-related causes each year. Of these, over 7 million die as a result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Smoking is decidedly bad for your health and harms nearly every organ of the body.
Smoking causes damage to blood vessels making them thicken and grow narrower. This increases heart rate and your blood pressure. Smoking also causes many other cancers and health problems. Women who smoke during pregnancy face a greater risk of certain pregnancy problems.
An effective cure to addiction is the practice of yoga and meditation. Yoga offers tools to down-regulate the stress response system and activate the relaxation response. This increases our capacity to observe our experiences with a greater sense of level-headedness and self-control. Yoga practices such as asanas, and meditation also rewire the brain creating new neural pathways. These are effective for new behaviour-forming habits, breaking old patterns to replace them with healthier ones. In this way yoga can help in de-addiction, and also regain the body’s health by boosting your immune system, building strength for both body and mind, and flushing out toxins.
One of the main reasons that people find it a challenge to give up smoking is because of nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant drug and a highly addictive substance that is found in tobacco. Nicotine addiction makes it much harder for people to quit smoking. But it is important to remind oneself of the dangers of smoking and stay committed to quitting the habit. Yoga asanas release feel-good hormones in your body and lead you to make positive lifestyle changes. Yoga also builds mindfulness, and this awareness can be useful to keep yourself in check every time you reach for a cigarette.
Practice the following asanas upto three times or more a week, repeat for up to three sets holding each pose for 15-30 seconds.
Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips.
Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the arms are straight.
Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position.
Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.
Vajrasana – Thunderbolt pose
Formation of the Posture
Begin by standing straight with your arms by the sides of your body
Lean forward and slowly drop your knees on your mat
Place your pelvis on your heels and point your toes outward
Here, your thighs should press your calf muscles
Keep your heels slightly apart from each other
Place your palms on your knees facing upward
Straighten your back and look forward
Hold this asana for a while
Softly inhale and exhale
Word of Advice
A person suffering from knee joint pain, Arthritis or any knee injury should avoid this asana
Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend
Formation of the Posture
Begin with Dandasana
Ensure that your knees are slightly bent while your legs are stretched out forward
Extend your arms upward and keep your spine erect
Exhale and empty your stomach of air
With the exhale, bend forward at the hip and place your upper body on your lower body
Lower your arms and grip your big toes with your fingers
Try to touch your knees with your nose
Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds, repeat up to 3 times
Exhale as you fold forward
Formation of the posture
Begin by standing in Samasthithi
Exhale and gently bend your upper body, dropping your head and keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed
Bring the trunk closer to the legs. Try to touch the knees with the forehead. This may require a lot of flexibility. If you are starting out your practice, go only as far as it is comfortable.
When you are folding forward, attempt to move your torso from the hip joints, instead of the waist.
Place palms on either side of feet
Try to keep the legs and knees straight throughout the practice. If you are a beginner, you may have to bend your knees slightly to accomplish this.
With practice, slowly straighten your knees and try to touch your chest to your thighs
A recent report– ‘Cancer Care Delivery Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Disease – 19 (COVID-19) Outbreak’ published in the journal of Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention has pointed out that cancer patients are more susceptible to coronavirus than individuals without cancer as they are in an immunosuppressive state because of the malignancy and anticancer treatment. Oncologists should be more attentive to detect coronavirus infection early, as any type of advanced cancer is at much higher risk for unfavorable outcomes.
Author, Dr Abhishek Shankar, assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system.
“As we are having a lockdown in the whole country, patients can’t travel from one place to another. About 95 percent of the cancer care services are restricted to the urban areas but we also know that 70 percent of the people live in rural areas. So, there is a lot of disparity in cancer care. For cancer patients, stress is more disturbing for the patient rather than cancer itself,” Dr Shankar told ANI.
He added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services.
Talking about the report, Dr Shankar said, “We have published the paper on cancer care delivery, although guidance is that you shouldn’t delay and you should continue with the treatment. But there are many challenges that are coming right now. We have also advised cancer patients about the precautions they should take. Also, patients need to verify social media messages coming in from a credible source like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and WHO.”Furthermore, he suggests that persons suffering from cancer should get treated from nearby hospitals and try avoiding the delay.
The cancer specialist remarked that it is a dilemma for healthcare professionals as well as patients because there is an issue regarding what to follow and what not to. “To date, there is no scientific guideline regarding the management of cancer patients in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak,” Dr Shankar informed.