Harmful effects of smoking

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By Rose Jessica Octaviano

A Sound Mind

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

THAT smoking can deliver a slow but painful death is a fact I didn’t know until I recently attended a meeting of the Provincial Health Office about the preparations for the 100% Smoke-Free Environment caravan next Monday.

In the meeting, Kabankalan City Health Officer Dr. Fernando Fernandez and Provincial Mental Health coordinator Nelsie Guevarra shared to us how seriously bad smoking is.

Dr. Fernandez said that 10 Filipinos die every hour due to tobacco-related diseases. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed that there are six million deaths a year worldwide from smoking-related illnesses (more than TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined).


WHO also predicts that there will be eight million smoking-related deaths per year in 2030, unless urgent action is being done.

WHO added that 28.3 percent (17.3 million) adults are smokers— 47.7 percent (14.6 million) are males and 9 percent (2.8 million) are females.

For the youth, 27 percent currently use any tobacco product, more than one in five youth currently smoke cigarettes (22 percent) and almost one in 10 (10 percent) currently use some other form of tobacco.

In 2010, the US Surgeon General warned that there are 7,000 chemicals and 70 carcinogens in cigarette smoke.

Some of these are the following, and where we usually find them:

Arsenic – rat poison
Acetic Acid – hair dye
Acetone – paint and nail polish remover
Ammonia – typical household cleaner
Benzene – rubber cement
Butane – lighter fluid
Cadmium – batteries and artists oil paint
Carbon monoxide – car exhaust fumes
Carbon tetrachloride – dry cleaning fluid
Ethanol – alcohol
Formaldehyde – used to embalm dead bodies
Hexamine – barbecue solid fuel tablet
Hydrazine – used in jet and rocket fuel
Hydrogen cyanide – poison in gas chamber
Lead – batteries
Methane – swamp gas
Methanol – rocket fuel
Naphthalene – used in explosives, moth balls, paint pigments
Nickel – used in the process of electroplating
Phenol – used in disinfectants and plastics
Polorium – radiation usage equal to 300 chest xrays in one year
Stearicacid – candle wax
Styrene – found in insulation materials
Toluene – embalmer’s glue

The most harmful substances in cigarettes are:

TAR - contains hydrocarbons and carcinogenic substances which destroy lung air sacs, lessens oxygen absorption emphysema and chronic bronchitis

Nicotine – the addictive substance, increases heart rate and blood pressure, causes arrhythmia

Carbon monoxide - reduces oxygen carrying capacity of blood

These are the kinds of smoking:

First-hand (mainstream) smoke - combination of inhaled and exhaled smoke after taking a puff on a lighted cigarette

Second-hand (sidestream) smoke - combination of smoke breathed out by smoker or environmental tobacco smoke inhaled by others

Third-hand smoke - assortment of cigarette by-products that cling to smoker’s hair, skin and clothing as well as to floors, surfaces carpets, appliances, fabrics and children's toys even after tobacco smoke has cleared (Note: These carcinogens are absorbed and remains in the body for years)

Possible diseases due to tobacco intake: cancer – in the lungs, mouth, lips, nasal cavity (nose) and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterine cervix and acute mycloid leukemia.

A Negros-wide caravan to advocate on 100% smoke-free environment in Negros Occidental will be held on Monday, June 16, to be led by the Provincial Health Office and the Bacolod City Health Office in collaboration with the non-government and people organizations including the hospitals and churches.

This caravan is a program of the Department of Health (DoH) Region 6 to increase awareness on the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoking.

A caravan from northern Negros and from the southern Negros will convene at the Teresita L.Jalandoni Hospital in Silay City at 8:45 a.m., and the program will start at 9 a.m.

For inquiries, please call 435-7590.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 10, 2014.


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