OPINION: Health Cost of Smoking cigarettes

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By Bilyamin Abdulmumin

 

The first time I could read and comprehend the caution written on the pack of tobacco it rocked my world. The phrase on the pack we are all familiar with: “The federal ministry of health warns that smokers are liable to die young”

What threw me into perplexing was not only the revelation of the danger but writing it boldly on the product for everyone to see. I can not wrap my head around how the company could make such a damaging revelation deliberately on its product even if it is true, I thought that was not how it is done in Nigeria.

But the passing of the times made me realize that the high risk of health involved in smoking made the caution even more than necessary. Yet the public, especially the smokers, seem to give less damn.

So the Federal Ministry of Health upped the ante, obviously to make the message ring the bell better, they thereafter mandated a picture of the affected lungs being placed side by side with a healthy one. They said pictures speak thousands of words.

In a similar effort, the World Health Organisation, WHO, set aside 31 May of each year as “World No Tobacco Day”, sensitizing the world about the increasing health compromises associated with smoking.

When one compromises anything which is designed for a particular thing for another thing else, of course, one should expect damning consequences.

For instance, when one forces a petroleum-designed car to use fuel e.g diesel other than the one designed for it, that is petroleum, one should soon expect the car engine to break down.

This is the case with the lungs of smokers. lungs are, in part, created for taking in oxygen from fresh air into the body, but the smokers alter these processes by polluting the fresh air with harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, CO, so the CO would be breathed in to replace some oxygen that is necessary for respiration. Therefore not only the lungs are abused by smokers but the respiration mechanism is also distorted, this manifests itself in coughing which characterized many smokers (Dr. Dahiru Hashim, on the BBC Hausa Ra’ayi Riga)

To make the matter worse, the body, especially the major organs, works as team, when one organ gets affected the others would resonate. According to Dr. Hashim, that informs why when the lungs malfunction, say it develops cancer, it leads to other terminal illnesses like heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

To put this health risk in a damning context, a report has shown that every stick of cigarettes is equivalent to 11 minutes of the smoker’s lifetime. So an average smoker who smoked a pack of 20 cigarettes a day would have trimmed down his life span by about 4 hours every day, that is about 1460 hours every year. In order words, while a non-smoker would spend 24 hr every day out of his life span, a smoker would spend 28 hours out of his life span within the same period (24 hrs). This also means that while a non-smoker spends 365 days a year out of his life span, his corresponding smoker would spend 421 days within the same period (one year). The smokers are leaving on a borrowed time

But the good news for smokers is that by employing an appropriate approach, smoking is quittable. However, like with every other addiction, withdrawal from smoking addiction is never a push on a button, many smokers are willing to quit, but would find it like swimming against the ocean tide.

The peculiarity of any addiction is that the addicted body releases a hormone that triggers a behavior for immediate benefits. In the case of cigarettes, according to Dr. Hashim, the substance called nicotine is responsible for triggering the brain to release dopamine which rewards the smokers with an immediate mood boost.

In order words when one becomes addicted to smoking, his or hers brain takes control, so he or she became answerable to the brain, therefore, making it difficult for the person to quit, moreover, when a wrong withdrawal strategy is employed

But according to Sheik Gummi, who doubled as a medical Dr., in one of his preach, and offered a workable approach, he said, because of the withdrawal syndrome, a rather systematic withdrawal approach is necessary for effective results.

For instance, the average smoker who smokes a pack of 20 cigarettes a day, should first trim the number down to 10, until his body becomes adjusted to them, then he begins the next step of trimming, that is by cutting down from 10 to say 5 sticks until his body adjusted to the number, then he begins to cut them down to say just two a day then he will be finally ready to stop the smoking altogether.

Smoking has been reported among the world-leading causes of preventable death, therefore, a wise decision for one to embrace a workable withdrawal strategy and by consulting professionals. Is it not scary enough to learn that smoking is an exchange for the duration of one lifetime?

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