Inhaling and exhaling the smoke of tobacco such as sucking on the end of a lit cigarette, cigar, pipe, etc. is described to be a difficult habit to break. Tobacco contains nicotine which is highly addictive and contains about 7000 chemical components with at least 250 found harmful to human health.

Smoking can either be active when we deliberately smoke tobacco products and passive when the smoke is inhaled based on close proximity to a smoker. According to the key facts of the world health organization, Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year which is up to half the number of its users and 1.2 million non-smokers death is as a result of exposure to second-hand or passive smoke.

All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, various smokeless tobacco products, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks.

As much as smoking should be discouraged, we should also consider protecting non-smokers from the negligence of smokers. The UAE became party to the WHO framework convention on tobacco control in 2006 with its objective to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Though the health benefit of smoking is undefined, the negative effect is alarming which includes but not limited to;

  • Death
  • Cancer
  • Deteriorated cardiovascular system and reproductive health.
  • Increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss
  • Lowered immune system function and Lower bone density (thinner bones)
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cataracts.
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Bad breath and stained teeth
  • Higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wounds taking longer to heal

Emerging nicotine and tobacco products such as heated tobacco product and e-cigarettes are being promoted as a way to reduce the harm of tobacco and can help quit conventional smoking. According to the information sheet on heated tobacco products by the WHO. these products contain tobacco, they do not help quit smoking, they contain toxicants and the long-term effect is unknown.

Tips on how to quit smoking

  1. Make a personal decision stop smoking

  2. Identify and avoid your smoking trigger: There are different habitual factors which could trigger smoking such as smoking after meal, drinking alcohol/coffee etc. Identify when and what makes you want to smoke and replace it with routine or activity.
  3. Consider nicotine replacement therapy under medical advice: The use of nicotine patch, chewing gum and other medications according to a doctors’ prescription is an alternate solution.

Smoking Cessation Clinics:

  1. Moral support from loved ones and peers: You may need to consider the people around you or the circle you find yourself as they either encourage or discourage the habit.
  2. Healthy life style: A healthy lifestyle which includes healthy diets, engaging in physical and mental activities such as exercises and yoga, healthy routine for eating, sleeping etc. amongst others can help.

What Happens When We Quit Smoking

20 minutes after quitting the heart rate and blood pressure drop.
A few days after quitting The carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting circulation improves and the lung function increases.
1 to 12 months after quitting Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures (called cilia) that move mucus out of the lungs start to regain normal function, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
1 to 2 years after quitting The risk of heart attack drops dramatically.
5 to 10 years after quitting The risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, and voice box (larynx) is cut in half. Risk of stroke decreases.
10 years after quitting The risk of lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking (after 10 to 15 years). And the risk of cancer of the bladder, esophagus, and kidney decreases.
15 years after quitting The risk of coronary heart disease is close to that of a non-smoker.

KIC Smoke-free college policy:

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