MITERA Hospital: Smoking Is a Disease that Can Be Prevented May 31st: World No Tobacco Day
Smoking is a universal polysystemic disease that grows up to epidemic proportions. It affects nearly all human organs, causing plethora of severe diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease, emphysema, cerebrovascular accidents, hypertension & coronary artery disease, blindness, peripheral arterial disease, reduced fertility, cancer and others. It is estimated that 1/3 of the total adult population, i.e. 1.2 billion people all over the world, are smokers. Half of those will die from causes related to smoking. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers smoking the leading cause of death worldwide, which however is reversible and can be prevented, despite the addiction it causes.
All these were presented during the two-day scientific conference organized by MITERA Hospital, 1st Internal Medicine Clinic. 31st of May, the very first day of the conference coincides with the World No Tobacco Day. This scientific event was held in the N. Louros Conference Center, within the Hospital grounds and was attended by a large number of professionals from public as well as private sector.
According to WHO, smoking kills 6,000,000 smokers and 600,000 non-smokers, including 150,000 children, every year. It is believed that by 2020, the number of smoking-related deaths will reach 10,000,000 annually. An EU report concluded that 1 out of 7 deaths in the EU is related to smoking, while in Greece approximately 20,000 people die annually of diseases related to smoking. It is worth noting that one cigarette costs 13.8 minutes from one’s life and one pack of 20 cigarettes per day, 4.6 hours of their life, while every 5 minutes a smoker dies. On the other hand, a non-smoker lives at least 10 years longer and enjoys a better quality of life.
As noted by Eleftheria Krikelis MD, Conference Chairwoman and Director of the 1st Internal Medicine Clinic, MITERA Hospital, “Drastic and coordinated measures are required to contain the epidemic known as smoking. Suffice to say that cumulatively, smoking-related deaths account for more than the sum of the deaths caused by guns, drugs, suicides, AIDS and traffic accidents. Each year, 840,000 tons of cigarette butts, non-biodegradable chemical materials, wind up in the ground water table, causing severe and immeasurable environmental pollution. Consequently the future of the human race seems rather ominous, unless we take advantage of the powerful weapon known as prevention. The main aim of prevention is to avoid early deaths and increase life expectancy as well as quality of life. To achieve this, we need coordination and the full support of the State, medical community, as well as social workers and organizations that will work together to raise awareness. Prevention and health education require constant flow of information and a deep sense of self and mutual respect so that aspiring young smokers will be consciously discouraged, while at the same time spreading the message themselves to friends and family.”