Smoking, a silent killer – smoking is the practice of burning a substance to inhale the resulting smoke for taste is a common practice world-over. It is most popular adventure of teenagers, without considering its consequences.

They adopt it as a fashion, thinking that it is very easy to quit smoking at any time. However, it is very difficult to stop, once you get addicted to it and thus, smoking leads to many lethal diseases. Often I wonder, that why people still smoke even after being well aware of the hilarious health effects of smoking.

Skin allergies, cancer and lungs destruction are some of the awful results of continuous smoking. It has been reported that cigarette smoking caused 87% of lung cancer deaths. Many other cancers and health problems are found associated with it. Smokers often have dark lips and trouble breathing. It causes mouth and lung cancer and slowly leads to loss of appetite. Smoking gradually destroys vital organs in our body that stops the continuity of this precious life and hence, it may refer as a ‘silent killer’.

Tobacco smoking is very injurious and being practiced by over one billion people around the globe, of whom the majority are in the developing countries. Tobacco products are made up of leaf tobacco as raw material entirely or partly; which are intended to be smoked, sucked, chewed or snuffed.

All these products contain a highly addictive psychoactive ingredient, the nicotine. Tobacco is a lethal risk and ultimate reason for several chronic diseases, including lung cancer and other cardiovascular diseases. Regardless of these injurious health effects, smoking is common all over the world. Anyhow, some countries are practicing legislation, limiting tobacco advertising and regulating who can buy and use tobacco products and where people can smoke.

Initially, people begin to smoke for the fun and gradually become addicted to it. Most people start smoking one cigarette a day followed by smoking more than thirty cigarettes a day. Some people get addicted to smoking in such a way that they need to smoke cigarettes even more than drinking water requirements.

It is called ‘chain-smoking’. When we sit beside a smoker, we mistakenly inhale smoke, this is called ‘passive smoking’ which is equally bad for our health and causes several diseases leading to death. Passive smoking is the inhalation of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or second-hand smoke, by persons other than the intended “active” smoker. It occurs when tobacco smoke saturates an environment and causes its inhalation by people within immediate vicinity. Smoking should be strictly prohibited at open places by law to avoid the risk of passive smoking.

Education, awareness, and counseling by physicians of children and especially teenagers have been found very effective in decreasing the risk of smoking cigarettes. Many countries have started to impose high taxes on tobacco products manufacturing companies owing to the health hazards of smoking killer. There should be also some legislation regarding its commercialization. For instance, social media should promote to run ads to discourage tobacco use and limit ads that promote tobacco. There should be proper awareness campaigns for helping the people to quit smoking. Overall, as a nation, we have to follow the motto “stop smoking and save lives”.

This article is collectively authored by Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman1, Hinnan Khalid1,2, Naima Razzaq3 and Zahoor Ahmad4 _ 1Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan, 2 Punjab Agriculture Department, Shahkot, Pakistan ,3Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. 4Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan