Tobacco and cancer

Tobacco use poses a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and over 20 other diseases. It contains nicotine, which can lead to addic­tion, making it difficult for many tobacco users to quit. The tobac­co epidemic is one of the most significant public health threats globally, resulting in over 8 mil­lion deaths annually. Out of these, more than 7 million are attrib­uted to direct tobacco use, while approximately 1.3 million result from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. All forms of tobacco use are harmful, with no safe level of exposure. Ciga­rette smoking, in particular, is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide.

Tobacco products, including cig­arettes and cigars, are responsi­ble for almost nine out of every ten cases of lung cancer. Howev­er, tobacco use can lead to cancer in various parts of the body, in­cluding the bladder, blood (acute myeloid leukaemia), cervix, co­lon and rectum, oesophagus, kid­ney and renal pelvis, liver, lungs, bronchi, and trachea, mouth and throat, pancreas, stomach, and voice box (larynx). Cigarettes con­tain a multitude of toxic chemi­cals, including nicotine and cad­mium from the tobacco plant itself. Others are formed during the curing and manufacturing of cigarettes, while additional harm­ful substances like benzene and carbon monoxide are produced when tobacco is burned, such as when lighting a cigarette. In to­tal, the act of smoking a cigarette releases around 7,000 chemicals, with approximately 70 of them linked to cancer. Inhaling ciga­rette smoke draws these chem­icals into the mouth or nose and down the windpipe.

To avoid health risks from can­cer, the most critical steps are to refrain from starting tobacco use if you don’t already, and if you are a tobacco user, it’s imperative to quit. No matter the duration of to­bacco use, quitting can substan­tially reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.



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