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February 16, 2014

Cancer Sticks

Why does a sane person knowingly poison his lungs? Here we're not talking of suicidal individuals, driven to take extreme steps to end it all. These are normal people who keep smoking, choosing to ignore known dangers.

Smokers cause damage to their own bodies and to all those who are near them. Indirect smoking is as bad, if not worse. Passive smokers are hapless victims - trapped in homes, offices, restaurants, trains - when someone lights up the cancer stick.

Proven Risks

Unfortunately the risks are real. Tobacco smoke affects our bodies from head to toe. You may be surprised at some of the ways smoking has a negative impact on our health.

Smoking is hard on the heart and lungs. but the fact is, tobacco use plays a role in a multitude of diseases that ultimately lead to disability and/or death.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds; 200 of which are known to be poisonous and upwards of 60 have been identified as carcinogens. It's no wonder that the effects of smoking are so widespread and destructive. 

Disease in Bold are  Most Likely to Affect a Smoker

Denial will not make the problem go away. And yet, motivation and capacity to kick the habit are alarmingly low. The fact of the matter is that you better not  start smoking. Once you're hooked,  tobacco is addictive. Precisely because it is hard to break the habit, one finds lame justifications.
  • What problem? There is no problem.
  • I'm used to it ... my body is strong. 
  • My father/uncle/friend smoked all his life and lived to a ripe old age. I'll be fine.
  • The danger is exaggerated.
  • Why worry now? I have many other things on my mind.
  • May be a small risk, but not a big deal
  • I'll take my chances; everybody has to die, anyway.
  • I don't smoke too much... just a few / only a pack a day.
  • I can't concentrate/function/de-stress unless I smoke.
  • ok, ok! I know I should do something ... I'll think about it.
  • I'll try to cut down ... maybe tomorrow / next month / next year.

Which of these rationalisatons have you not heard? Quitting  is difficult. But not impossible. Similar to the AA method, the first step is to admit to oneself that there is a serious problem. The next is to get information and help.  See these links from the USA,  UK and India. I also came across this Facebook Page.

Disturbing Trends

Worldwide, 661 million people smoke, while 247 million use smokeless tobacco products.The situation is particularly acute in developing nations, where roughly half of adult men use tobacco. 275 million Indian adults are tobacco users. 75% of them consume smokeless tobacco products. More and more Indian women - said to be the highest in the world - chew "gutka", "khaini" and "zarda".

Their Gain is Our Loss

People in developed countries increasingly understand the dangers of smoking. Their governments continue to implement tobacco control policy and legislation. Therefore, the sale of cigarettes in the West has significantly gone down. To compensate for their shrinking markets in Europe and America,  tobacco-based companies have shifted the full force of their marketing to India and other developing countries. They are succeeding! Cigarette consumption is increasing in low and middle-income countries,  high enough to offset the decrease in Western countries. Read more here and here.


The sale of tobacco products is steadily rising in India, primarily because of targetted marketing and ineffectual government legislation. Due to low awareness of the harmful consequences, there is social acceptability and often a badge of maturity! With economic prosperity and population growth, consumption is expected to increase even more. Overall, a highly disturbing trend, with grave repercussions on the health of our young men and women as well as the next generation.

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