Tobacco according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse is a plant grown for its leaves which are dried and fermented before being put in tobacco products. The World Health Organization identifies tobacco as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world.
Close to 8 million people die around the world every year because of the use of tobacco. More than 7 million of those deaths are a result of direct tobacco use. According to the World Health Organization, people exposed to second-hand smoke are 1.2 million as a result of non-smokers. Tobacco contains nicotine which is an additive making it hard for people to quit.
Low and middle-income countries cover over 80% of the 1.3 billion users with a burden of tobacco-related illness and death at its heaviest. It contributes to poverty by diverting household spending from basic needs such as food and shelter to tobacco.
In Uganda, 7.9 percent of adults (age 15+) use tobacco products. The rates are higher in men than women. Average of 11.6 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women. Among the youth, 17.3 percent (5.0 boys and 4.7 girls) use tobacco products. Secondhand smoke exposure goes to 20.4 percent of adults who work indoors, those exposed in restaurants are 16 percent, and exposed in public transport are 7.8 percent. More than 9,650 Ugandans die from smoking-related causes. Smoking tobacco kills 124 men and 64 women every week.
People can smoke, chew, or sniff tobacco. Smoked products include cigarettes, cigars, bidis, and kreteks. Loose tobacco is smoked in a pipe ( water pipe ) and chewed products include chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, and snus.
The blood absorbs nicotine and demands the brain. The adrenal glands release the hormone epinephrine that stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. As it is for other drugs that reinforce rewarding behaviors. Tobacco smoking can lead to lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It increases the risk of heart disease which can lead to stroke or heart attack. Smoking is close to other cancers like leukemia, cataracts, type 2 diabetes, and pneumonia.
Miscarriages, stillborn or premature infants, or infants with low birth weight are unavoidable if the pregnant woman smokes cigarettes. Its effects don’t spire those who stand or stand those who smoke. Furthermore, Secondhand smoke exposure also leads to lung cancer and heart disease. Children have an increased risk of ear infections, severe asthma, lung infections, and death from infant death syndrome.
In Uganda, people have been hoodwinked to think that tobacco growing improves their livelihoods while consumption is looked at as a leisure activity. In 2015, the country passed one of the strongest laws in the world and the Minister of Health published the tobacco control regulations. Other gains in tobacco control in the country include a ban on direct advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, enforcement of smoke-free environments, and an increase in tobacco taxation by 39.9%.
The tobacco industry has a lot of resources and fighting it is not easy. Given its effects, we must join hands in creating awareness to people on the use of tobacco. However, tobacco has a good part with it. These include:
- Tobacco is used as a great pest poison for the garden to kill pests, especially caterpillars and snails that tend to feed on leaves.
- Help soothe itching and mild pain hence it also helps in relieving allergies.
- First aid to minor cuts
Choosing to volunteer so that to create awareness to people who smoke to stop and to those who have not yet started not to try it in any way.
But remember to use tobacco to get advice from doctors to avoid health problems.