World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2016

Risks of tobacco

Tobacco is a plant. Its leaves are smoked, chewed, or sniffed for a variety of effects. Tobacco contains an addictive substance called chemical nicotine. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Tobacco that is not burned is called smokeless tobacco. Including nicotine, there are 29 chemicals in smokeless tobacco that causes cancer.

Health risks of smoking or using smokeless tobacco

Using tobacco over a long time can increase your risk of many health problems.


Heart and blood vessel problems:

Blood clots and weakness in the walls of blood vessels in the brain, which can lead to stroke

• Poor blood supply to the legs

• Blood clots in the legs, which may travel to the lungs

• Coronary artery disease, including angina and heart attacks

• Temporarily increased blood pressure after smoking

• Problems with erections because of decreased blood flow into the penis

Other health risks or problems:

• Cancer (more likely in the lung, mouth, larynx, nose and sinuses, throat, oesophagus, stomach, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, colon, and rectum)

• Poor wound healing after surgery

• Lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma that is harder to control

• Problems during pregnancy, such as babies born at a low birth weight, early labour, losing your baby, and cleft lip

• Decreased ability to taste and smell

• Harm to sperm, which may lead to infertility

• Loss of sight due to an increased risk of macular degeneration

• Tooth and gum diseases

• Wrinkling of the skin

Smokers who switch to smokeless tobacco instead of quitting tobacco still have health risks:

• Increased risk of mouth or nasal cancer

• Gum problems, tooth wear, and cavities

• Worsening high blood pressure and angina

Health risks of second-hand smoke

Those who are often around the smoke of others (second-hand smoke) have a higher risk of:

• Heart attack and heart disease

• Lung cancer

• Sudden and severe reactions, including of the eye, nose, throat, and lower respiratory tract

Infants and children who are often exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of:

• Asthma flares (children with asthma who live with a smoker are much more likely to visit the emergency room)

• Infections of the mouth, throat, sinuses, ears, and lungs

• Lung damage (poor lung function)

• Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Like any addiction, quitting tobacco is difficult, especially if you are doing it alone. Knowing the serious health risks of using tobacco may help motivate you to quit. Seek support from family members, friends, and co-workers. Talk to your health care provider about nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation medications. Join smoking cessation programmes offered by hospitals, health departments, community centres, etc. and you will have a much better chance of success.

Contact Us


SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY

Filistin Sokak No: 27 GOP 06700 Ankara Turkey

Telephone: +90 (312)  405 68 61

Visa Section: + 90 ( 312) 405 68 71

Fax: +90 (312) 446 64 34

E-Mail: general.ankara@dirco.gov.za

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