The World Health Organization projects that, for the first time, the number of men smoking around the world is dropping, indicating measures to end the global tobacco epidemic are paying off.
WHO officials called it a major shift in the fight against tobacco, which every year kills more than eight million people prematurely.
Data from 143 countries shows that tobacco use among men has stopped growing, following a steady rise in the use of this deadly product during the past two decades.
During this period, WHO reports 60 million of the world’s nearly 1.4 billion smokers have quit the habit. Most of those reductions were driven by women, as male use of tobacco over the same period rose by around 40 million.
“But now we are seeing for the first time a decline in use, with WHO projecting that there will be at least 2 million fewer males using tobacco in 2020 and 5 million less by 2025,” said Ruediger Krech, WHO’s director of health promotion. “Fewer males using tobacco products means fewer people will suffer the avoidable pain and death that they cause.”
Krech says the decline in tobacco use shows tobacco control measures work. He says steps such as taxation, banning advertising and marketing as well as smoking in public places, and plain packaging of tobacco products discourage people from smoking.
The report also found that approximately 43 million children aged 13 to 15 smoke, with boys using tobacco at twice the rate as girls. It said Southeast Asia has the highest rates of tobacco use, while sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest.
WHO said most gains in reducing tobacco use have been in low- and middle-income countries. While the Americas is the world’s best performing region in terms of reduction of tobacco consumption, Europe has the slowest pace of decline. (VOA)
Cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug. Cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa. The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is THC.
Dr Dushyant Nadar, Director & Head of Department, Urology & Renal Transplant, Fortis Hospital, Noida shares more information:
The geographical spread of those seizures is also global, covering practically every country of the world. About 147 million people, 2.5 per cent of the world population, consume marijuana (annual prevalence) compared with 0.2% consuming cocaine and 0.2 percent consuming opiates. The use of cannabis can cause some serious side effects.
Acute health effects of cannabis use
Marijuana impairs cognitive development (capabilities of learning), including associative processes Marijuana impairs psychomotor performance in a wide variety of tasks, such as motor coordination, divided attention, and operative tasks of many types. Human performance on complex machinery can be impaired for as long as 24 hours after smoking as little as 20 mg of THC in weed. There is an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents among persons who drive when intoxicated by weed.
Chronic health effects of cannabis use
Selective impairment of cognitive functioning which include the organization and integration of complex information involving various mechanisms of attention and memory processes.
Prolonged use may lead to greater impairment, which may not recover with cessation of use, and which could affect daily life functions; Development of a drug dependence syndrome characterized by a loss of control over cannabis use is likely in chronic users; Weed use can exacerbate schizophrenia in affected individuals; Epithelial injury of the trachea and major bronchi is caused by long-term ,marijuana smoking; Airway injury, lung inflammation, and impaired pulmonary defense against infection from persistent cannabis consumption over prolonged periods; Heavy cannabis consumption is associated with a higher prevalence of symptoms of chronic bronchitis and a higher incidence of acute bronchitis than in the non-smoking cohort
Effect of cannabis on male infertility
Infertility affects 10-15% of couples, and it has been estimated that a male factor is responsible in approximately half of these cases. Male infertility is diagnosed with the analysis of several semen parameters, such as the number of total sperm, sperm motility, and percentage of sperm cells with a normal morphology. It is known that marijuana, the commonest recreational drug of abuse, has adverse effects on male reproductive physiology. Its use is associated with impotence, decreased testosterone plasma level, impairment of spermatogenesis, production of spermatozoa with abnormal morphology, reduction of sperm motility and viability and, more recently, with the occurrence of non-seminoma germ cell tumors.
The biological mechanisms by which marijuana affects semen quality and hormone levels are not fully known. The active component of marijuana, ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), binds to the human cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the anterior pituitary but have also been identified in the testis, vas deferens, and human sperm cells, leading to a dose-dependent decreased sperm motility and decreased mitochondrial activity in spermatozoa when activated.
This makes it possible for marijuana to affect hormone levels and spermatogenesis, as well as the mature sperm cells. A study found that men who used marijuana have an unhealthier lifestyle and health behavior, are often smokers, consume more alcohol, had a higher caffeine intake, were more likely to have had a sexually transmitted disease, and were more likely to have used recreational drugs other than marijuana. (IANS)