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Does Smoking Deteriorate Bone Health?

Consumption of tobacco is the foremost risk factor for several chronic diseases, like cancer, lung disorders, cardiovascular disease, stroke etc. As per WHO, nearly half of tobacco users fall prey to different diseases leading to death. It is estimated that more than 8 million people are killed every year due to hazardous effects of tobacco, out of which over 7 million deaths are the results of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million non-smokers due to exposure to second-hand smoke. About 10.7% of adults and 4.1% of youth (ages 13–15) in India smoke tobacco.

Tobacco contains highly addictive stimulants like alkaloid nicotine, and dried tobacco leaves that are mainly used for smoking in cigarettes and cigars, as well as in pipes and shishas. Cigarette or tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 different hazardous chemical compounds in solid, gases, liquid phases of smoking and a majority of those chemicals are released on burning tobacco. As per the reports, Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke kills about 1.2 million Indians annually. It’s observed that tobacco smoking products like cigarettes, beedi, etc. are available within the marketplace for a awfully low price leading to higher amount of consumption rate.

Recent studies have indicated that tobacco smoking causes an imbalance in bone turnover, resulting in reduced bone mass making the bone vulnerable to osteoporosis and fracture. Tobacco smoke has potential to influence the bone mass indirectly through alteration of body weight, parathyroid hormone, vitamin D axis, adrenal hormones, sex hormones, and increases the oxidative stress on bony tissues. Smoking increases the levels of the hormone cortisol, resulting in bone breakdown.

Nicotine and free radicals kills the osteoblasts (bone-making cells), and damages the blood vessels leading to poor blood supply. It is observed that individual who smoke have repeated fractures and reduced bone mass. Many studies have concluded that Smoking tobacco has been associated with reduced bone mass and increased risk of fracture through its direct or indirect effects on osteoblast and osteoclast activities. It is proven that smoking is one of the major factor responsible for many diseases and is proven to slow down the healing process resulting in worsening of the condition.

It is observed that every packet of cigarette displays the side effects of consuming tobacco, but despite knowing the health risks associated with smoking the facts are completely ignored by the consuming group. It is time we make everyone aware about the side effects of smoking and its long time hazards. It is time for the country to work for the betterment of every individual by implementing certain laws to overcome the hazards caused by smoking.

The change in the society can be brought by implementing the 6MPOWER introduced by WHO.

The 6 MPOWER measures are:
  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco use
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the hazards of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco.