Smoking kills! This is no news to people all around the world, of which we are taught in the very early years of life. Cigarette companies are required by law to print the warning “CAUTION: CIGARETTE SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH” on their packages. This fact in itself is a grim reminder of how dangerous smoking can be.

Tobacco smoke contains an addictive chemical called Nicotine along with other harmful ones such as cyanide, lead, ammonia, arsenic, etc. The human brain and body get addicted to this very quickly and most of these chemicals lead to harmful, fatal diseases like cancer.

Peer pressure is the most common reason for pushing the youth into smoking. Advertisement propaganda greatly targets youth that get attracted easily. Some do it to look cool in the society whereas a few people watch celebrities smoking and wish to imitate them. Others use it as an excuse to cope with stress and anxiety that comes with adulthood. Whatever the reason be, soon it becomes an addiction which makes it impossible to quit. If a person smokes on a regular basis, their body and mind adapt to the presence of certain levels of nicotine. We start feeling the need to smoke to even feel normal.

Almost every organ of our body gets affected by smoking. It hampers brain development, eyesight and hearing capacity. It may lead to oral problems like ulcers and gum diseases. It increases blood pressure, risk of heart attacks or strokes and causes shortness of breath. Smoking can cause cancer of the lungs, mouth, kidney, throat, stomach, liver and the list goes on.

According to a report published by WHO in 2018, 14.6% of Indian youth (13 – 15 years) are tobacco users.  The daily smoking’s average age of initiation is 18.7 years. It must be noted that most people start smoking in the early years, thus increasing the risk of heart diseases in younger people. Tobacco kills more than 1 million people each year and such figures keep rising year on year.

What makes situations worse is that the smoker isn’t the only person affected by it. It has become increasingly common for people to smoke in public or crowded areas. The smoke from the cigarette is inhaled by people around may cause health issues to them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) marks the 31ST of May every year as ‘World No Tobacco Day’ highlighting the risks associated with the use of tobacco. Awareness campaigns are being organised frequently to educate the young on harmful effects of smoking. Various medicinal and non-medicinal treatments are coming up that help to combat the addiction of nicotine. Many countries have also issued laws against public smoking. Cinema halls in India display a very popular advertisement before movies, showing the amount of tar collected in our lungs due to smoking and how this tar is enough to make us seriously ill. This advertisement gained much attention of the youth and hopefully helped in educating them. Step by step, we should aim and head towards a healthier society.

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