This year's theme for the World No Tobacco Day — on May 31 — is 'Tobacco Breaks Hearts', for it is a known fact that smoking is directly linked to cardiovascular diseases.
According to Dr Sachin Kumar, senior consultant, pulmonology, at Sakra World Hospital, smoking is one of the leading causes of heart diseases.
"Regular smokers, as well as secondary smokers (ones exposed to smoke), are at a high risk of heart diseases. Tobacco also contributes to heart conditions by reducing the good cholesterol (HDL) and increasing the bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) in the body," he said.
Tobacco contains over 7,000 toxins and 70 carcinogens, which damages every organ in the body. It affects the brain, eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, abdomen, sex organs, kidneys and bones, among others, Dr Sachin said.
Nearly seven out of 10 smokers in India are aware of the ill-effects of smoking. But nearly 53% of them are unsuccessful in their attempts to quit, according to data from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. It stated that 68% of smokers said they are "well informed" about the impact of smoking on health, while 51% said they are planning to quit. About 41% who tried to quit said they would need assistance and nearly 25% are using e-cigarettes or vaping devices to cut down on the puffing.
The data is part of a global survey, comprising 17,000 participants across 13 countries.
One million signatures
The Consortium for Tobacco-Free Karnataka (CFTFK) has launched the 'one-million signatures campaign'. The objective is to ask the government to take appropriate measures to protect children from easy access to tobacco products and exposure to tobacco advertisements, and to protect the health of non-smokers. The CFTFK plans to collect 10 lakh signatures from the public, demanding strict rules on the sale of tobacco and removal of smoking zones in public places. The signatures will then be submitted to the chief minister.
The consortium has organised a walkathon on Thursday to raise awareness about the ill effects of tobacco. It will start from the Anand Rao Circle and conclude at the Freedom Park. An app will also be launched, which will allow citizens to upload pictures of tobacco-related violations.