Tobacco smoke cause Disease


Tobacco refers to the leaves of the Nicotiana tabacum plant, which are commonly used for the production of tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can have harmful effects on health when used in excess.

The use of tobacco products, particularly smoking, is a leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide. Smoking tobacco can increase the risk of various health issues, including lung cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and other types of cancer. It can also have negative effects on oral health, fertility, pregnancy outcomes, and overall well-being.

Efforts to reduce tobacco use and its associated harms have included public health campaigns, increased taxation, restrictions on advertising and promotion, smoke-free policies, and support for smoking cessation programs. It is important to note that quitting tobacco use can significantly improve health outcomes at any stage.


Some  people  commite suicide  by drowning, but many by smoking.A uniquely human habit, smoking has been  identified  as a major CHD  risk factor  with several  possible mechanisms __ carbon monoxide  induced  atherogenesis; nicoting  stimulation  of adrenergic  drive raising  both blood pressure  and myocardial oxygen  demand; lipid metabolism with  fall in  " protective"  high  _  density   lipoproteins,  etc.

  The  risk  of death  from  CHD  decreases  substantially  within  one  year  of  stopping   smoking  and more  gradually  thereafter  until,  after  10 _ 20  years,  it  is same  as  that  of  non_  smokers. 

Tobacco  Control Legislation  :

A comprehensive  tobacco control   legislation  titled  " The Cigarette  and other  Tobacco Products  ( Prohibition  of Advertisement  and  Regulation  of  Trade  and Commerce,  Production,  Supply  and Distribution) Act, 2003'' was  passed  by  the  parliament  in April, 2003  and notified  in the  Gazette  of India,  on 25th    February,   2004. 

The important  provisions of  the Act  are :

a. Prohibition  of smoking  in  public  places ;

b.  Prohibition  of direct  and  indirect   advertisement  of  cigarette   and  other  products; 

c.    Prohibition of  sale of cigarette and  other  tobacco  products  to  a person  below  the age  of  18  years, 

d.   Prohibition  of  sale  of   tobacco  products  near  the  educational  institution;

e.    Mandatory   depiction  of statutory  warnings   ( including   pictorial   warnings) on tobacco   packs; and  

f. Mandatory   depiction   of  tar  and  nicotine  contents  alongwith  maximum  permissible  limits  on  tobacco  packs.


Tobacco is obtained  from the dried and cured* leaves of young branches of 
Nicotiana tabacum and  Nicotiana rustica. These plants belong to the family Solana_ ceae
 Tobacco is a  native of South American where the Red Indians  first started smoking.
Practically  its  cultivation began in all parts of the world with its introduction to Europe. The genus Nicotiana was named in the honour of Jean Nicot, the French Ambassador  at Lisbon, Port. Nicotiana  is cultivated  in various countries including Russia, Turkey, some European countries and Indian. In early days, tobacco was often called the Pipe of Piece as it reduces alertness and give feeling of  tranquility. 

 Modes  of Tobacco Use. Tobacco is used for smoking,  chewing and snuffing. 

(i) Inhaling tobacco smoke from cigars, cigarettes, bidis, pipes and hubble_ bubble ( called HUKKA in North India) is called smoking.Cigar is a roll of tobacco leaf. Cigarette is cut tobacco wrapped in paper. Bidi is tobacco wrapped  in a piece of leaf. 

(ii) Tobacco in powder form is chewed with Pan. It is also placed between  the lip and the gum for a period of time and then spat out.

(iii) When powdered tobacco is taken through nose it is called snuffing. 

   Tobacco contains an alkaloid, nicotine which can be used  as a raw material  for preparation of the antipellagra vitamin, nicotinic acid (= niacin). Nicotine is also used in physiologic and pharmacologic investigation and as insecticide and a fumigant. 

Composition of Tobacco Smoke :

Approximately 92  to 95 per cent of the total weight of main stream smoke is present in the gas phase. Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon dioxide  form 85 per cent of the smoke's weight. The remaining gases and particulate matter are of medical importance.  Nicotine is a highly toxic alkaloid  that acts as both stimulant  and depressant. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that interferes with oxygen  transport and utilization.  The major carcinogens in cigarette  smoke are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic amines and nitrosamines, tar, heat and constant irritation in chewing or smoking of cigarettes/ pipes. Cararcinogens present in cigarette smoke such as Catechol, increase greatly its carcinogenicity.Potent pulmonary irritants and ciliotoxins ( which affect adversely the cilia  of respiratory tract) are found in cigarette smoke .These substances increase bronchial mucous secretion and cause acute and chronic decrease in pulmonary  and mucociliary function. 

Effect of Nicotine:

Smoking was reported to produce a feeling of tranquility  ( calmness) and in some cases made people alert and active. Nicotine is the major stimulatory component of tobacco products includ cigarettes. It is highly poisonous as well as a habit forming  alkaloid. The amount present  in one cigar can be fatal, if it is  injected  intravenously into a person. When smoked, about 10 per cent of the nicotine present in a cigarette is inhaled. Nicotine has a number of effects on the human body. It stimulates passage of nerve impulses,  causes muscles to  relax and causes the release of adrenaline, increasing both blood pressure and heart  beat  rate. The increased blood pressure caused by smoking leads to increased  risk of heart disease. In pregnant women Nicotine causes retardation and abnormal growth of the foetus. In males, it produces  infertility.

Characteristics of Smokers :

Various  features distinguish cigarette smokers from nonsmokers which are due to the effects of smoking.  Smokers drink more alcohol, coffee and tea than nonsmokers. Their heart rate is slightly  faster than those of non smokers. Smokers have  impaired maximum exercise performance and impaired immune systems compared to nonsmokers. An increased number  of pulmonary alveolar macrophages is present in smokers and the function of these cells are abnormal. Smokers show small increase in haematocrit  value, total white blood cell count and blood  platelet count and small decreases in leucocytes, vitamin C levels, serum, uric acid and albumin. Smokers have reduced high__ density lipoprotein cholesterol. High_ density  lipoprotein cholesterol is good  for health. In women the menopause comes earlier in smokers than in nonsmokers. 

Why do persons resort to the habit of smoking / chewing of tobacco?

Young persons start the habit of smoking or chewing of tobacco out of 

1)  Fun or curiosity, 

2) Group behavior,

3) Fashion or show off, 

4) Means of relaxation,

5) To ward off sleep for working late hours,

6)  To look smart and different, 

7) imitation of elders,

8) As an adventure or ,

9) Sense of freedom. 


Harmful Effects of Tobacco. Nicotine is the major component of tobacco. It is highly poisonous as well as habit forming alkaloid. The major harmful effects of tobacco on various systems of the body are given below:_ 

1) Cardiovascular disease: Cigarette smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease ( CHD).

2) Respiratory Diseases: Cigarette smoking is a major cause of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoke and heat destroy cilia in respiratory tract in long run, therefore, dust particles enter easily into the respiratory passage and lungs in heavy smokers causing TB.

3) Cancer : Cigarette smoking is main cause of lip cancer and lung cancer. Tobacco chewers are more prone to mouth cancer. It is also a cause of laryngeal, oral, oesophageal and gall bladder cancer in men and women.  It is an important contributory factor for the development of kidney and pancreatic cancer. It is also associated with cancer  of stomach and uterine cervix and myelocytic leukemia. 

 Benzpyrene and many other substances present in tobacco smoke are carcinogenic. Reverse smoking causes  oral cancer. In reverse smoking the burning end of the cigar is kept in the mouth. It is common  in the villages of Andhra Pradesh.

Tobacco smoking mutates and inactivates p 53 gene  which  checks cancer growth. 

4)  Gastrointestinal Disorders : Gastric and duodenal ulcer is more prevalent in smokers than in nonsmokers. It also inhibits pancreatic bicarbonate secretion. It also decreases the pressure of cardiac and pyloric sphincters present in stomach. Smoking also spoils  the gums. 

5) Decrease in oxygen carrying capacity: Carbon monoxide of tobacco smoke is a toxic gas that interferes with oxygen transport and  utilization. It rapidly binds haemoglobin of  RBC forming carboxyhaemoglobin  ( COHb) and causes co__ poisoning which reduces oxygen carrying capacity of haemoglobin. 

6) Pulmonary  Tuberculosis ( TB) :When one cigarette, cigar,pipe, bidi or hubble_ bubble  is used by a number of persons, it can spread the bacteria of pulmonary tuberculosis from infected to healthy persons. 

7) Tissue Damage: Smoking can rupture the walls of alveoli of the lungs, make arterioles thick  and damage ciliated epithelial lining of the trachea and bronchi. 

8) Damage to Immune  System: Smoking  decreases immunity of the body, increasing risk of infections. 

9) Smoking and Pregnancy: Tobacco smoking may delay conception. Smoking during pregnancy may affect the foetus adversely. Maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of spontaneous abortion and foetal death. 

10) Depression: Recent studies indicate that the prevalence of cigarette smoking is increased among those who have had a major depressive disorder. 

11) Involuntary smoke inhalation (=Passive smoking) : Indoor atmospheres and other confined spaces are often contaminated by tobacco smoke which is inhaled Involuntary by both smokers and nonsmokers. It is called involuntary smoke inhalation or passive smoking. Initially Involuntary smoking was thought to cause an irritant effect such as burning in  the eyes,but it is now recognized as a cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. It may also cause coronary heart disease. Parental smoking in the home is associated with an increased risk of acute respiratory illness, middle ear effusions in children. 

12) Effects on drug action : Cigarette smoking increases the metabolism of the drugs __ Propranolol, Propoxyphene and Theophylline. Hence, changes in smoking behaviour may cause significant alterations of serums drug levels that may result in either drug toxicity or failure of drug treatment. 

13) Impotency: It leads to impotency in males. 

14) Other Effects of smoking: Tobacco smoking has also other effects. 

( i) Affect on other Persons: Tobacco smoking annoys non__ smokers. 

(ii) Effect on Personality : Lips of the smoker may get coloured. Teeth and fingers may become stained and breath becomes  foul.

(iii) Effect on Economy: Tobacco  smoking also affects economy of the smoker.

Prevention and Control:

" Prevention is better than cure" is also true here. Tobacco, drugs/ alcohol abuse are more during young age and during  adolescence. Thus remedial measures should be taken well in time. 

1) Avoid undue Peer Pressure: A child should not be pressed unduly to do beyond his / her capacities, be it studies, sports etc.

2) Education and counselling : Education and counselling are very important to face problems, stresses, disappointments and failure in life. 

3) Seeking help from parents and peers : Whenever, there  is any  problem, one should seek help and a guidance from parents and peers. 

4)  Looking for  Danger  Signs : It friends find someone using drugs or alcohol , they should bring  this to the notice of parents or teacher so that appropriate measures would be taken to diagnose the illness and the causes. 

5) Seeking  Professional and Medical  helps : Highly qualified psychologists, psychiatrists and de_addiction and rehabilitation programmes can help individuals who are suffering  from drug / alcohol  abuse. 

Caused  Tobacco and Smoke : 

Tobacco is primarily caused by the cultivation and processing of the Nicotiana tabacum plant. It is grown in many countries around the world, with the largest producers being China, India, Brazil, and the United States.

Smoke, on the other hand, is produced when tobacco products are burned for consumption. The act of smoking involves inhaling the smoke produced by burning tobacco, while other tobacco products such as cigars and pipes also produce smoke when lit.

The burning of tobacco releases thousands of chemicals, many of which are harmful to health. These chemicals include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and various carcinogens. When tobacco smoke is inhaled, these substances can enter the lungs and then be absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to various health problems.

It is important to note that the combustion process itself, when tobacco is burned, is what releases harmful substances into the air. Therefore, the act of smoking, which involves inhaling this smoke, is what exposes individuals to the harmful effects of tobacco use.


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