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Waging the war on smoking


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Russian surveys conducted by the Scientific Research Institute of Preventative Medicine have found tobacco contributes significantly to cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and cancer.  The risk of premature death associated with coronary heart disease was found to be three times higher than that of a non-smoker.  

A shocking 52.1 percent of malignant cancers have been found to be linked to tobacco.  The annual tobacco death toll in the Russian Federation is now over 400,000. 

The mortality rates continue to grow as tobacco companies now relentlessly target children and teenagers.  It is reported that 90 percent of the 44 million Russian smokers start before the age of 20.  

Education is not enough

Cigarette smoking is still very common despite awareness campaigns and the known hazards.  Tobacco use has been found to be a status symbol among the educated.  Nearly 80 percent of Russians that smoke have a secondary or high education according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  Further education and awareness will not end this disaster.  

If you don't smoke, you're still at risk.  WHO reports that at least 8 out of 10 adults are exposed while visiting restaurants and other public places.  Medvedev's smoking ban will significantly reduce these staggering statistics.

The media still continues to play large role regardless of education.  Despite restrictions on the advertising on television, young adults ages 15 to 24 still notice cigarette advertisements.  Nearly a quarter of this age group believes that cigarettes do not cause addiction or have severe health complications.  Further public policies and laws will help protect our children and future generations.

Tobacco shortens lives

The constant exposure to smoke and secondhand smoke significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, allergies, asthma and other respiratory related conditions.  Statistics also show that smoking increases the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and impotence by 100% and increases the risk of death from undiagnosed coronary heart disease by 300%. 

Nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco can accelerate the heart rate and can raise blood pressure.  It also damages the lining of the blood vessels, increases fatty deposits in the arteries, increases clotting, raises bad cholesterol, reduces good cholesterol and promotes coronary artery spasm according to the World Heart Federation. 

Research has shown that the benefits of quitting smoking happen immediately.  After you quit, your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal quickly.  It is very common for individuals to experience symptoms of withdrawal from the dangerous additives and chemicals in cigarettes.  The withdrawal symptoms are only temporary while symptoms of smoking can cause irreversible disease and possible death. 

Powerful benefits of quitting

The World Health Organization says that there are immediate and long-term health benefits of quitting smoking.  The following will demonstrate the powerful impact that quitting smoking will have on your health:

Within 20 minutes -- Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
12 hours -- The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2-12 weeks -- Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
1-9 months -- Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
1 year -- Your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker.
5 years -- Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
10 years -- Your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.
15 years --The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.

If you quit smoking and have a relapse, do not worry.  It has been quoted that 75% of people relapse at some point.  The average person needs to quit three times before achieving success.  The purpose is always constant, continual improvement.  Even if you reduce the amount of cigarettes, it has a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing.  

The cost of smoking is a lot more than financial, it’s personal.  We have all seen good health ripped away and the quality of life of our loved ones get trampled.  The use of tobacco does endanger the lives of our children and we must take action now.

Support Medvedev and the anti-smoking bill that is currently being drafted by the Health Ministry.  It can save your life but more importantly, your family’s life.

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement. 

Facebook: Cory Couillard
Twitter: Cory_Couillard

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