Claims by some chronic smokers that they derive some benefits from the intake of tobacco has been rubbished by a medical practitioner.
Contrary to the persistent calls against smoking due to the dangers it poses to the human system, some chronic smokers often hold the belief that smoking, apart from helping them keep their weight in check, also makes them active, among other benefits.
But reacting to these claims, Dr. Munaif Nuhu Ibrahim, a medical doctor with the Upper West Regional Hospital, shot down those assertions explaining that smokers often lose weight owing to their failure to feed well and also resort to eating good healthy food.
He noted that because tobacco contains a chemical known as nicotine which has receptors that stimulates the brain, it is the reason smokers tend to feel excited when they consume tobacco.
“Tobacco contains nicotine. Nicotine has some receptors in the human brain. It stimulates the brain and excites it. The smoker then feels pleasure from such stimulations. Nicotine also reduces anxiety and stress. So, people usually smoke tobacco to get rid of stress and the so-called feel-good effect. Also, smoking tobacco increases metabolism and stimulate hunger centers in the brain. Persons that smoke and don’t eat healthy and well tend to lose weight,” Dr. Munaif explained.
He warned smokers with significant weight loss to pay critical attention to their health status as that could signal the existence of cancers in them.
“Furthermore, loss of significant weight in people who smoke should be an alarming sign because it can symbolize cancers. So, if a chronic smoker loses so much weight and is old we should take it seriously. Hence, yes, it is not arguable if people say they smoke to lose weight. Nevertheless, there are obese people who smoke as well,” he warned.
Dr. Munaif Nuhu Ibrahim said this Tuesday, May 30, 2023, during an interview with GhanaWeb’s Upper West Regional correspondent, Ilyaas Al-Hasan.
As World No Tobacco Day is observed today, May 31, as is done every year, GhanaWeb sought to find out from the medical practitioner the negative health effects involved in the use of tobacco.
On the risk factors of tobacco intake to the human body, Dr. Munaif Nuhu Ibrahim stated that: “Tobacco products contain unsafe substances, from acetone and tar to nicotine and carbon monoxide. These substances are naturally in many ways harmful to the human body. The inhaled substances can affect your lungs and the other organs in your body. Smoking tobacco is a major risk factor for stroke, lung cancer and heart conditions. It also can lead to ongoing complications and long-term effects on your body systems. While smoking can increase your risk of certain health conditions over years, like glaucoma, cancer, and issues with blood clotting, some of the bodily effects happen immediately.”
The medical doctor categorised Shisha that has become a new sensation among youth in the region particularly at pubs and night clubs, as having the same health dangers as tobacco.
He also warned passive smokers who inhale smoke from primary smokers to guard against doing so as they are “at equal or even higher risk of lung, heart and brain problems” especially on children and pregnant women.
“Shisha is same as tobacco just that it is the heated form and smoked trough a bowl or tube. It basically has the same health effects on smokers.
“Passive smoker, second hand smoking and environmental tobacco smoking are basically same. It describes a person that inhales the smoke from a primary smoker. High impact passive smokers affected are children and pregnant women. They are at equal or even higher risk of lung, heart and brain problems. Hence passive smokers are not safe especial children and pregnant women.
“Usually in chronic passive smokers, oxygen entry into the lungs reduce, and the blood oxygen levels decrease as well. This is usually as a result of lung disorders associated with tobacco smoking. So, imagine a pregnant woman who smokes tobacco during pregnancy. The unborn child doesn’t get enough oxygen from the mother. This impedes brain and lung development in the unborn child. Studies have also confirmed such effects in passive smokers who are pregnant,” the doctor educated.
The theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day is “We Need Food, Not Tobacco,” according to the World Health Organisation.
World No Tobacco Day is observed to create awareness among people about the health risks of tobacco consumption.
This campaign is to help tobacco farmers switch to sustainable crops to enhance food security and nutrition.
In addition, the campaign encourages governments and policy makers to support tobacco farmers to switch to alternative, more sustainable livelihoods to reduce the environmental impact of tobacco growing, curing and manufacturing while continue to implement tobacco control measures.
Tobacco smoke contributes to higher air pollution levels which contains various kinds of greenhouse gases.