‘Lung abnormality on rise among tobacco consumers’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 1 June 2019

“Lungs are the most affected parts due to tobacco consumption. People who are in the age group of 40 to 49 years are found to be most addicted to tobacco,” Amol Naikawadi said.

PUNE: A recent Abnormality Report revealed there is a 5 per cent increase in lung abnormality of tobacco consumers compared to last year. Around 57 per cent of the people, who underwent health check-ups had obstructive airways, suggesting reduced lung capacity due to tobacco consumption.

The report was published by Indus Health Plus, a company which works for preventive healthcare. The sample size for the study was 30,749 people across India. Of these 24,982 people consumed tobacco.

In 2017-2018, 42 per cent of people who consumed tobacco were found to be weighing below 65 kg, which further increased to 46 per cent in the year 2018-19. Over 70 per cent of people who were consuming tobacco are between the age group of 30 and 60 years, which falls under the working population. This correlates with lifestyle and stress-induced changes due to work environment.

Amol Naikawadi, preventive healthcare specialist and Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus, said in the reports, it was observed that 80 per cent of people were exposed to tobacco in some form in their lives. “Lungs are the most affected parts due to tobacco consumption. People who are in the age group of 40 to 49 years are found to be most addicted to tobacco,” he said.

“This is followed by people between the age of 50 and 59 years and then 30 and 39 years. The younger generation consumes smoke and smokeless tobacco due to peer pressure, style statement and stress. Strong will power, medical and psychological counseling and oral medication help in overcoming smoking. Timely routine check-ups, along with preventive measures, are essential to avoid risk of diseases, which might occur due to smoking,” added Naikawadi.

The study revealed that out of the total people screened this year, 39 per cent of females consumed tobacco in any form. Women who smoke or are exposed to passive smoking are at increased risk of infertility and are more likely to take longer to get pregnant.

Due to toxins from cigarettes, smoking increases the chance of miscarriage. Smoking is also a risk factor for tuberculosis. Unhealthy weight loss due to smoking reduces the appetite and immunity level and people who consume tobacco get prone to tuberculosis. It has been observed that smoking substantially increases risk of tuberculosis.

Dr Vijay Kumar Sharma, consultant - ENT and Head Neck Surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital said that compared to non-smokers, smokers are twice more likely to get tuberculosis, 22 times more likely to get lung cancer and are prone to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Naikawadi added that to encourage people to quit smoking, other than increasing the prices of tobacco, the rule of no public smoking should be strengthened and people should follow the same stringently.

“Law enforcement should be potentiated by tax rebates on quitting smoking for better compliance on no tobacco. Tobacco increases risk of multiple cancers, chronic lung disease and others. Therefore, it is imperative to spread awareness among masses about the consequences of tobacco consumption. Self-realization would drive an individual to quitting tobacco and leading a healthy life,” said Naikawadi.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY
- About 9 per cent of the people who were consuming tobacco in any form have increased the level of haemoglobin.
- About 32 per cent of smokers reported atherosclerosis, where nicotine causes greasiness in the blood vessels and triggers atherosclerosis amongst smokers. 
- About 8 to 9 per cent of the people are showing abnormalities in the chest x-ray which are the effects of smoking.

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