Special Features
May 26, 2006

Tobacco – deadly in any form or disguise

by Dr. St. Clair Thomas 26.MAY.06
Chief Medical Officer

I once read a humorous story of a young Jew who was found eating pork in his home. When confronted by the Rabbi who asked the young man why he was eating that which was forbidden by God, the youth replied, “Rabbi, I baptised the pig yesterday before killing it. It is now converted and good to eat.”

May 31st each year is recognised as “World No Tobacco Day”. This year, 2006 the World Health Organization has forwarded the theme – “Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise”. This is a most appropriate theme, considering the tremendous resources that the large tobacco companies allocate to advertisement and promotion of tobacco smoking, seeking to glamorise the habit.{{more}}

Approximately 4 million people will die each year as a direct result of tobacco smoke.

When tobacco is analysed in the laboratory it is found to contain over 4,700 different chemical compounds. Some of these are carbon-monoxide, nicotine, acetaldehyde, benzopyrene, phenol, benzene, cyanide, styrene, quinoline to name a few.

When these substances enter the human body they affect the various organ systems. First there is constriction of the blood vessel, dryness of the mouth and throat, increase in pulse rates, increase in blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, etc.

This chronic use leads to sinusitis, bronchitis, emphysema, arteriosclerosis, hypertension and other chronic diseases.

Cancer results from tobacco usage. The most common ones are cancer of the mouth, tongue, sinuses, larynx (voice box), trachea, lungs, stomach, bladder and kidney.

Tobacco smoking is one of those habits cultivated by human beings, but to which no earthly (nor heavenly) benefits could be attributed.

The large multinational tobacco companies seek each year to expand their market so that their capital may grow. In doing that they destroy millions of lives around the world.

The message on this 2006 World No Tobacco Day is that tobacco is harmful to human health and should not be tolerated.

If you are not smoking do not start. Encourage someone never to start smoking. If you are smoking make a decision to stop, then seek help.

Read wisely on the effects of tobacco smoke on the human body.

Watch out for advertisements that make tobacco usage looks “cool.” It is not cool. Indeed it burns hot! It destroys and kills.

Do not inhale other people’s smoke. That too is dangerous and unhealthy.

May we seek to be healthy and avoid using tobacco in any of its forms. Even though the advertisements may seek to baptise it into chewing gums and other attractive habits, its basic substances are still present to affect the body.

Stay away.