Smoking can be defined as a chronic poisoning due to the consumption of tobacco. It is the leading cause of chronic disease and the second leading cause of death worldwide. Cigarettes contain tar, flavorings and many additives, such as nicotine that act on the central nervous system, creating a tobacco addiction. Smoking is active or passive, leading to the voluntary or involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke.
The effects of tobacco are harmful and can be fatal. Tobacco causes:
- cardiovascular diseases: decreased size of arteries, increased blood pressure, damage to the arteries of the heart;
- Many cancers: broncho-pulmonary, digestive, bladder, head and neck ...;
- chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
- brain injury;
- deterioration of teeth and receding of gums;
- premature skin aging;
- disruption of taste and smell;
- extremely serious complications during pregnancy.
A diagnosis may determine the degree of tobacco dependence. The diagnosis is based on the observation of physical signs described by the patient such as urges, loss of control in regards to consumption, lack of physical symptoms as well as irritability when attempting withdrawal, sleep disturbances... the Fargerström test is used to assess the degree of dependence.
An individual approach may be sufficient to quit smoking. However, it is also possible to get help from a professional: doctor, pharmacist or smoking cessation center, who will propose one of many nicotine replacement therapies: stamps, patches, gums or lozenges. Quitting smoking is beneficial at any stage of the intoxication and reduces the occurrence of many diseases.
The best prevention is to not start smoking, hence the need to educate children from a young age.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff