NEWS

Tobacco industry targets youth with misleading adverts

How can a single cigarette lead to sudden death? When someone is smoking, their heartbeat and arterial pressure are often slightly raised. In some cases, exceptional systolic arrhythmia may be observed. A single cigarette can have serious consequences if other risk factors suddenly appear at the same time, such as acute anxiety caused by rage, which doubles the incidence of heart attacks. There have been deaths at soccer stadiums while people are smoking when a goal has had such an emotional impact on the smoker as to cause an intense spasm and thrombosis of the coronary artery, causing death. These lethal episodes usually occur in people with coronary disease, but in many cases, such as the example I mentioned at the soccer stadium, the catastrophic effect of smoke inhalation is apparent. Combining coffee and a cigarette is considered to be even more dangerous. There is a general impression that smoking causes irreversible damage after many years, which is why it is known as the «silent killer.» Indeed, the more cigarettes a person smokes every day and the more years they smoke, the greater the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, strokes, angina, arrhythmia, peripheral arterial blockages and aneurysms of the aorta. There seems to be no difference between the dangers of smoking cigarettes or cigars, light or regular cigarettes, perhaps because those who smoke lighter cigarettes inhale more deeply and take in more smoke. The danger is multiplied if other risk factors are present, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Smoking intensifies atheromatic changes and smokers often present extensive atherosclerosis as is apparent in peripheral arterial blockages. An acute event such as a myocardial infarction may be caused by a single fault in a part of the heart when the remaining coronary system is normal. In this case, there is usually an intense spasm of the artery caused by a cigarette. Even sudden death, as I said, may be caused by disturbances attributable to smoking one cigarette. Corruption When industry first began to produce tobacco, the great deception began – the notion that coffee goes well with a cigarette or a glass of wine; that you need a smoke after a meal and after having sex; the idea that smoking promotes thought, enhances effort, creates the right environment for meetings and boosts productivity. It is general corruption and entanglement. There is funding and sponsorship for organizations and governments to support smoking. Groups of young people offer cigarettes to pupils in squares, cafes and even on beaches. Students are bombarded with advertisements showing their idols holding cigarettes. The mass media artfully make smoking look exciting so that many children think they won’t have a career or have normal relations with the opposite sex if they don’t smoke. Alongside their lessons, students struggle to learn to smoke. At first, they are irritated by the smell. The first time they inhale, they choke, cough and may even faint. But the command is so strong that they have to try again, go through the same discomfort again and again until it becomes a habit. Masochism is a matter of habit and is recorded in the brain. Many people protest at what they claim to be prejudice on the part of non-smokers against smokers. This is a logical distortion. We say we should allow children to develop freely and liberate them from that bombardment of messages that leads them into the disastrous habit of smoking. Certainly, if sensible people could protect children at a sensitive age from those messages, when they got to be 20 or 30 they wouldn’t protest if kiosks didn’t sell cigarettes. Do you think there should be prohibition for cigarettes as there was for alcohol? This evil must be dealt with at its root, and that will only happen if governments possess the political will. Then they will prohibit the growing or advertising of tobacco, and advertising cigarettes and smoking in schools and hospitals. Don’t forget that smoking induces migraines, reduces the power of memory and the ability to make fine movements, dulls hearing, damages the optic nerve, causes premature wrinkles, aging, hair loss, graying, sexual dysfunction – especially in men – and osteoporosis in women. Smoking affects lung performance and general ability. Athletes, for example, can’t perform as well when they smoke. Among those with coronary disease, those who exercise daily on doctors’ orders are those who have quit smoking. The smokers prefer to rest.