- According to World Health Organization statistics (2016), nearly 1 billion of the world’s population smokes.
- They consumed 5.8 trillion cigarettes in the year 2009.
- More than half of the tobacco consumption is reported from Asia.
- Around 6 million people die every year due to the consumption of tobacco.
- Out of this number, 600,000 deaths are reported due to second-hand smoking.
- Tobacco killed 100 million people in the world during the 20th century.
- If this rate of smoking persists, losing 1 billion lives in the 21st century is inevitable.
People start smoking at their younger age. Most of them start before graduating from high school. So, if adolescents can be prevented from attracting to tobacco, majority of them will not use it throughout their lifetime.
There are many different reasons for them to get in to smoking.
- Peer pressure
- Misconceptions about social prestige
- Easy access to the products
- Marketing strategies of cigarette manufacturers.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals out of which more than 100 are toxic and harmful to the body organs. Some of them are,
- Nicotine (This is what makes smoking cigarettes so addictive)
- Tar (Cancer-causing chemical, sticks inside lungs)
- Hydrogen Cyanide (Toxic chemical)
- Carbon Monoxide (Cause breathing problems)
Intake of these chemicals may end up causing,
- Cancer (mainly lung cancer)
- Respiratory diseases
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Digestive diseases
These health issues are known to be fatal and cause to spend lot of money on medications. It’s not only the direct costs involved with treating the illnesses, but also the cost of labor output, damages to the properties by fire, environmental impact due to wrong practices in farming related to tobacco, burden of the cost that has to be borne by the family members due to disabilities, illnesses, health care or premature death of the person.
The degree of understanding of the health risks has a strong influence on their smoking patterns. But a study has done in four countries (Canada, Australia, USA, UK in 2006) and found out that majority of smokers are aware of the health risks.
|Health Effect||Percentage who agree|
|Smoking causes lung cancer in smokers||95||94||94||94||94|
|Smoking causes heart disease||91||89||86||90||89|
|Smoking causes stroke||83||81||73||70||73|
|Smoking causes lung cancer in non-smokers||80||69||68||75||70|
|Smoking causes impotence||56||36||34||36||41|
According to this data, even though they know the health risks, they have neglected or underestimated those risks. This research further concludes that even though the health knowledge is not the most sufficient factor to stop smoking, it helps them as a good motivation to a greater extend.
Smokers usually have clashes in their thoughts as most of them know the health risks but refuse to quit smoking since it has some form of pleasure. To lower these clashes, they often neglect the health risks by telling themselves,
“I stop before I get health issues”
“Low tar cigarettes make low harm”
Knowing these cognitive issues smokers have, cigarette companies align their marketing strategies to get the maximum benefit in their promotions to reduce the fear they have by using statements such as
“Too much of tar and Nicotine is bad”
“Government tests show that there is less tar and Nicotine in … (Brand name)”
The smokers’ belief of low-tar or filtered cigarettes would lower the health risks is precisely targeted here although it is proven to be wrong.
So, wake up! Don’t be a victim of fake marketing strategies of those cigarette companies. Don’t put your life and the lives of people who care for you and who rely on you at risk. You are given a great gift by nature! Your brain! So now,
THINK before you SMOKE!
World Health Organization: Media Center, Tobacco fact Sheet. Retrieved by http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Retrieved by http://www.fctc.org/media-and-publications/media-releases-blog-list-view-of-all-313/industry-interference/1476-demand-for-global-cigarette-graphic-warnings-grow
Mackay, J., Schluger, N. (2015). Global Tobacco Epidemic. The tobacco epidemic, 42, 19-26. DOI: 10.1159
Cummings, K. M., Hyland, A., Giovino, G. A., Hastrup, J. L., Bauer, J. E., & Bansal, M. A. (2004). Are smokers adequately informed about the health risks of smoking and medicinal nicotine? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 6(3), S333-S340, DOI: 10.1080/14622200412331320734