World No Tobacco Day is marked on May 31 every year to raise awareness about the deadly side effects of cigarette smoking.

This year's theme is "we need food, not tobacco," aiming to encourage governments all over the world to end subsidies for growing tobacco and instead, use the money to support farmers in growing sustainable crops that would improve food security and nutrition.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million people in the U.S. live with a disease caused by smoking. Passive smoking contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths in adults and 400 deaths in infants each year.

Here are some of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking that may encourage you to quit the habit:

1. Gum diseases: Smoking is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. It can increase the risk of gum diseases such as periodontitis, which affects the soft tissue and the bone that supports the teeth.

2. Fractures: Studies have shown that smoking reduces bone strength and can lead to fractures. Smoking also slows down fracture healing.

3. Asthma: Cigarette smoking triggers asthma as it can irritate the lining of the airways. Secondhand smoke also acts as a strong trigger for people with asthma, especially for young children.

4. Diabetes: According to a CDC report, smokers are at 30–40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who do not. Smoking increases the chances of developing insulin resistance, blindness and nerve damage. It also reduces the blood flow to the limbs and can lead to amputations.

5. Lung cancer: Around 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by cigarette smoking. Smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from the disease than nonsmokers. People who smoke a few cigarettes a day or those who smoke occasionally are also at an increased risk of lung cancer.

6. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease): It is an obstructive lung disease that causes difficulty in breathing. Smoking is a leading cause of COPD and can cause flare-ups.

7. Stroke: Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off temporarily. It can lead to paralysis, slurred speech, altered brain function and death. Studies have shown people who smoke 20 cigarettes a day are six times more likely to have a stroke compared to a non-smoker.

8. Cardiovascular diseases: There is a direct association between increased tobacco use and the risk of developing heart diseases. Smoking causes blockages and narrowing of arteries, causing less blood flow to the heart.

9. Rheumatoid arthritis: It is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes swelling in the joints of the hands and feet. Smoking is one of the leading causes of rheumatoid arthritis at an early age.

10. Erectile dysfunction: The use of tobacco can result in the narrowing of blood vessels all over the body, including the ones carrying blood to the penis. Men who smoke have two times more risk of developing erectile dysfunction compared to nonsmokers.

11. Complications in pregnancy: Smoking can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy – a life-threatening complication that occurs when a fertilized egg gets implanted somewhere other than the uterus. It also increases the risk of miscarriage and premature delivery.

12. Birth defects: Smoking during pregnancy raises the risk of having children with an orofacial cleft – a condition when a baby's lip or mouth does not develop properly.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 6
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide Unsplash (CC0)