The motor park used to be one of my favorite places. There are different people, sounds, colours; sometimes I get ideas there. I listen on to the conversations that drift over, most especially the hassles between the passengers and the drivers, sometimes the agberos. However associated with motor parks is the subtle (sometimes pungent) smell of smoke that drifts over too amidst all these. It happens that I become a second hand smoker every time I’m at the park; this gets me all worked up and irritated. Here’s why I detest smoking.
Our lungs are in charge of our breathing and so are very important to the maintenance of our continued existence. The absence of disease doesn’t actually spell healthy lungs, a lot of factors contribute. However, tobacco posses major implications for the lung health of smokers and non-smokers all over the world.
Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves which are dried, fermented and then rolled into a small cylindrical tube of rice paper called “cigarette”. People smoke, chew or sniff tobacco in various forms such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, electronic cigarettes ( e-cigarettes) and so on. Tobacco contains nicotine which is highly addictive and some other potentially harmful chemicals in it or created from burning it. These chemicals include carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia etc.
According to WHO, tobacco leads to the death of over 7 million people around the world each year. With this year World No Tobacco Day’s focus on “tobacco and lung health, a lot of attention is being drawn to how much harm tobacco causes to the lungs.
- Tobacco smoking causes lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Tuberculosis (TB).
- Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of developing oral lesions, oral cancers and other diseases.
- Expectant mothers who smoke are at risk of pregnancy problems such as stillbirths, miscarriages and premature births. They are at risks of having babies with low birth weight and babies who suffer dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- People exposed to second hand smoke are at risks of developing lung cancer and also heart disease. Children especially may develop ear infections, severe asthma, lung infections, learning and developmental problems if exposed to second hand smoke.
Reducing tobacco use and second hand smoke, according to WHO, is the effective measure to improve lung health. Every member of the community; individuals, government agencies and non-governmental organizations have roles to play in the promotion of health. Parents and every other individual member of the community should take measures to protect their health and the health of the young children against the harms caused by tobacco.