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Say No To Tobacco

Dr. D. Nageshwar Reddy, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, India

Tobacco increases the risk of GI disease by five-fold in people under the age of 50 and doubles the risk for those over-60. The prevention of children and adolescents from taking up smoking is essential to the future health of India and rest of world.

By 2020, Tobacco will be responsible for the death of 1.5 million Indian citizens a year. Tobacco is now the main cause of chronic pancreatitis which leads to an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

Tobacco/Smoking adversely affects the hepatobiliary system. It increases the risk of liver cirrhosis, gallstones or cholecystitis. It also reduces the production of gastric mucus and other protective secretions, promotes duodenal reflux and reduces blood flow to the lining of the tract. In this compromised environment, Helicobacter pylori spread easily and cause damage. Tobacco may also be related to an increased risk of developing complications of peptic ulcer disease, such as ulcer perforation or bleeding.

Tobacco affects the immune system. In India, data shows that tobacco also increases the risk of Crohn’s disease and appendicitis. Patients with Crohn’s disease who continue tobacco use have a worse prognosis. Tobacco increases the risk of GI Diseases, but this risk decreases by 15% every year after quitting.