Nicotine is the culprit, says WHO

Why is quiting smoking hard for many people?

The answer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is nicotine, a drug found in tobacco. “It is highly addictive, as addictive as heroin, or cocaine,’’ it said.

“When cigarette smoke is inhaled, nicotine is carried deep into the lungs, where it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and carried through out the body including the heart and blood vessels, hormonal system, metabolism and brain,’’ according to the WHO study.

“Studies have shown that nicotine produces pleasant feelings that make the smoker want to smoke more. When inhaled in cigarette smoke, nicotine reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body intravenously,’’ said Dr. Juanito A. Rubio, executive director of the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP).

One patient of the hospital interviewed by this writer said “ginusto ko mang ihinto ang paninigarilyo noon hindi pa ako tinatamaan sa baga, ay hindi ko nagawa dahil masarap talagang manigarilyo at talagang nakaka-addict.’’

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said about 35,000 Filipinos die every year due to smoking. He said a stick of cigrarette contains 4,400 chemical components, of which 43 are cancer-causing. He added that about 8.5 percent of lung cancer are related to smoking.

Also according to the WHO, tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world and is responsible for the death of one in 10 adults worldwide.  If current smoking patterns continue, WHO predicts tobacco use will cause some 10 million death each year by 2020.

Dr. Rubio said that “even non-smokers who are continuously exposed to tobacco smoke in enclosed spaces, also run the risk of getting lung cancer.

“Kaya dito sa Lung Center nag-issue na ako noon pa ng memorandum to all our department heads and hospital staff to strictly enforce RA 9211, also known as Tobacco Regulation Act which bans smoking within the buildings of public and private hospitals,’’ he said. (SG)

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