smoking killsNoted health experts have said that tobacco contains 43 carcinogenic chemicals, and consumption of tobacco causes several health issues like hair loss, stroke, memory loss, insomnia, cataract, skin diseases, mouth and tongue cancer, bone degeneration, impotency, miscarriage, as well as poor health in babies. Several health experts took part in an event with the theme Tobacco and Heart Diseases held on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day on May 31. It was organised by the District Tobacco Control Cell, Sonitpur, in association with the District Legal Services Authority at the District Library here. 

Addressing the gathering, Dr DC Saikia, nodal officer at the District Tobacco Control Cell said, Tobacco causes about 55 diseases from head to toe, including transient ischemic attack, macular degeneration, nail discoloration, psoriasis, pustakosis, osteoporosis, sterility, foetal growth retardation, birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome etc. Smoking is also a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and causes one of every three deaths from CVD. Smoking can raise triglycerides in blood and lower good cholesterol (HDL), make blood sticky and more likely to clot, which can block blood flow to the heart and brain, he said. Contrary to public perception, smokingcaused heart disease results in more deaths per year than smoking-caused lung cancer, Dr Saikia said, adding that 30 per cent of all heart disease deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. 

Dr Saikia also said tobacco contains high levels of carbon monoxide, which affects the heart by reducing the amount of oxygen. This means that the heart, lungs, brain, and other organs do not always receive enough oxygen. At the same time, nicotine causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this causes extraordinary wear-and-tear on the cardiovascular endothelium. He said quitting smoking helps in reducing risks of CVD in people who have been smoking for long. People who quit smoking dramatically reduced their risk of dying from heart disease. The body begins to repair itself almost immediately. Dr Saikia said tobacco products must be sold, supplied or distributed in a package that contains an appropriate pictorial warning. Mridu Chanda Bordoloi, secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, said that as per law, tobacco products cannot be sold to a person below the age of 18, and in places within a 100-metre radius of any educational institution. Advocate Nayan Moni Goswami said the young generation should be more conscious about the hazards of tobacco. 

Dr Krishna Sarmah, president of the Tezpur Mahila Samiti, appealed to the public to quit tobacco and make Sonitpur tobacco-free. Kishan Kumar Sharma, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Health), Sonitpur, who presided over the function, spoke about the need to make a tobaccofree society. A street play, Jibonok Adorok Dhopatok Nohoi, written by Chiranjib Choudhuri, was also presented by members of the Tezpur District Mahila Samiti. Earlier, an awareness rally was organised across the town, in which students of several schools of Tezpur and members of many NGOs took part. - Assam Tribune

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