Lung Diseases and Cigarette Smoke Exposure: Written By Dr. Ejike Udeze

There are a thousand and one diseases of the lung, and studies have shown cigarette smoking has a role in some of these diseases.
Almost everyone knows that cigarette smoking can lead to lung cancer and other lung diseases. Example of such lung diseases is what is called Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. A long name for a long disease.

Even the ministries of health in most countries do warn that smokers are likely to die young. So it can be said that everyone knows the dangers of active cigarette smoking.
But few I guess must have heard also of the dangers of staying where others are smoking. What is called passive smoking. For example living in the same house with a father or mother or husband or any such relative who smokes. The risks from this sort of exposure to cigarette smoke is even worse than that from active cigarette smoking.

Hence it can be said that passive cigarette smokers are even more likely to die young. For this explicit reason many countries have banned cigarette smoking in open environments like parks, recreational centers and on the roads.

WHY ARE WE BOTHERED ABOUT THESE LUNG DISEASES?

The lungs are very important organs. And currently one can say that all such diseases related to cigarette smoking have No Cure.
Just the other day, I ran into a friend I used to know a long time ago. A man in his late thirties. And he was narrating to me how he was taken to hospital. He has been coughing frequently, and been having chest pains and other symptoms. He had lost some weight. He was told he had holes in his lungs. And though he couldn’t say what the doctor said was wrong with him, I made a spot diagnosis of emphysema, one of the Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases mentioned above.

Of course I didn’t tell him the diagnosis either, nor did I need mention that emphysema currently is incurable. And this is a man that had successfully quit smoking two years ago.
When we met he had been discharged and was to go back for a check-up. Along the course of our discussion he lamented on the number of our youths and young people who indulge both alcohol and cigarettes. Said it was deplorable, a situation where both males and females are smoking weed and cigarettes. And wished he could have a
chat or two with these younger ones.

So just like James Brown when he was talking about King Heroin, here we’re writing and reading this.
Cigarettes are one of the most useless of inventions by man.
And just like the dinosaurs should have become obsolete by now. As they have no advantage whatsoever to man, medically or otherwise. The white man now has other inventions keeping him warm. It is only habit that is keeping him from finally jettisoning that stick for good. What more of Africans living in Africa where the weather is so hot, there’s absolutely no excuse for the use of cigars and cigarettes.
Except the individual wants to come down with one lung disease or even cancer, it might only take time but mostly it comes. A single stick contains thousands of toxic substances, notable among which is the notorious arsenic acid. Other substances capable of inducing cancerous changes are also contained therein.

CAN I STOP NOW?

Surely, why not? In fact studies have shown that stopping cigarette smoking almost winds back the hands of time, at least halting the progression of the deleterious effects of cigarette on the lungs. But like all strong addictive habits it won’t be an easy task to stop. Hence calling for a high level of personal determination and motivation. It is achievable as shown by our cited friend above. Likewise the passive exposure. These smoking relatives must seclude themselves while doing their business. To avoid involving their loved ones in the downward spiral of cigarette smoking and its effects.

Bottom line, there’s no medical benefit in cigarette smoking, rather one tends to accrue harm from cigarette exposure.
Why not stop today, remove yourself from that environment where they smoke, or better still don’t start at all.

Ejike Udeze is a health personnel at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH). Ejike is always in search of new medical discoveries and breakthrough. You can reach him on Facebook with his name “Ejike Udeze.“

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