Tobacco consumption kills nearly six million people worldwide each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, globally, there were 100 million premature deaths due to tobacco in the 20th century, and if the current trends of tobacco use continue, this number is expected to rise to one billion in the 21st century.
Doctors at Paras Bliss, Panchkula say tobacco is deadly in any form. Ninety percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women are caused by smoking.
Dr Nupur Sharma, Senior Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paras Bliss, Panchkula says, “Besides the lung cancer, colon cancer and gynaecological cancers like ovary cancer, breast and cervix are also increasing in smokers. Women who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to experience primary and secondary infertility and delays in conceiving. Women smokers who become pregnant are also at increased risk of spontaneous miscarriage, premature rupture of membranes, abruption placenta (premature separation of the implanted placenta from the uterine wall) and pre-term delivery.”
Talking about the impact smoking has on pregnancy and childbirth, Dr Nupur Sharma, Senior Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology says, “The infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy have birth weights approximately 200 gm to 250 gm lower than those of infants born to non-smoking women. The risks of stillbirth, neonatal death, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) increase with smoking. Breastfeeding is less common or of shorter duration among women who smoke than among non-smokers and smokers who breastfeed produce less breast milk than non-smokers do.”
Women who smoke are more likely to experience painful menstruation and more severe and more frequent menopausal symptoms. On average, women who are current smokers go through menopause about one to two years earlier than non-smoking women. The use of use oral contraceptives combine with smoking puts women at an elevated risk of congenital heart defect (CHD). The risk of cardio vascular diseases & venous thromboembolism (causing stroke and paralysis) the risk of CDV is many fold greater among oral contraceptive users who smoked heavily, compared with women who neither used oral contraceptives nor smoked.
“We as gynaecologists sitting in Corporates follow the 5 “A”s model where we ask patients about their tobacco use, advice them on the benefits of quitting, asses their points of willingness to quit, assist and arrange practices for those willing to quit. Various medications are available to assist and enable you to quit especially for chronic users. Temporary changes in routine like brushing teeth directly after eating, taking a walk instead of smoking, buffing fingernails reduces the urge to smoke a cigarette”, adds Dr Nupur Sharma, Senior Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paras Bliss, Panchkula.
Every day, more than 3,000 people under the age of 18 try their first cigarette. When you smoke, more than 7,000 chemicals spread throughout your entire body and all of your organs. Most of what is known about the health effects of tobacco is based on the smoking of manufactured cigarettes, although in India, other forms of tobacco used among women are common such as flavoured cigarettes, cigars, snuff, gel strip, e-cigarettes and other forms like menthol cigarettes which have an addictive effect.
Doctors at Paras Bliss, Panchkula, believe that their main focus remains on counselling which can actually help women get rid of this menace.