Everyone has either done it, is doing it, or wants to do it. We’re talking about smoking.
It’s easy to start smoking but, as the smokers amongst us know, it’s very difficult to stop.
While all of us are inundated with the horrifying facts about smoking, the truth remains that most smokers simply sweep this information under the carpet, and continue enjoying this habit, even if it means taking a step closer to death with every puff of smoke.
Solid Facts About Smoking
Despite my resolve not to share the gory details about how smoking is affecting the world population at large, and the Americans in specific, I think it’s time we faced some truths.
1. Did you know that cigarette smoking is the single most known reason for premature deaths in the US and across the globe? Believe it, more than 440,000 Americans die each year due to diseases caused by smoking cigarettes.
2. The US spends more than $150 billion on health care cases related to smoking alone, every year. This figure is likely to increase year after year.
3. Did you know that when you puff on a cigarette you breathe in 4, 800 chemicals out of which 69 are responsible for causing cancer?
4. It’s not just the men who suffer health consequences from smoke, almost 40% smoking-related deaths happen in women.
5. Americans spent over $90billion on products containing tobacco in 2006 out of which approx. $84 billion was spent on buying cigarettes, while $3.4 billion was used on cigars and the remaining $2.5 billion was paid towards buying chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco.
6. Can you guess how many cigarettes were sold in the US in the year 2009? 315 billion, that’s how many!
Needless to suggest, that smoking is like a virus that is slowing eating away at the country’s economy, the health of its citizens, as well as their well-being.
However, there is hope for those of you who have been trying to stop smoking, but haven’t managed to despite trying all the nicotine patches, gums, and what have you. That ray of hope has come in the form of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology and Smoking
One of the fields where nanotechnology can contribute the maximum is medicine. This is especially true case of in diseases caused by first hand or second hand smoke, which is also one of the biggest reasons for early mortality in developed and developing countries.
The main culprit is tobacco tar that reduces the lifespan of the smoker. However, now with the help of nanotechnology, it may be possible to remove tobacco tar from a smoker’s lungs, helping him/her live a higher and longer life.
Nanotechnology is a technology that uses very tiny particles like 1 billionth of a meter in size. Nanometer is the scale used to measure these particles and to make it easier to understand, let me give you an example. 1 nanometer or nm = 3 atoms (approximately). Clearly nanotechnology has the capability to manipulate elements (energy etc) at the level of molecules quite successfully.
Due to its versatility, nanotech can be used for many things but, its applications in the field of medicine would be most useful to the world. Also known as ‘nanomedicine,’ this breakthrough will especially play an important role in treating diseases that the doctors have not been able to treat previously. And one such application would be to remove the tobacco tar from a smoker’s lungs.
Cigarette tar is a compound of chemicals that is created when a cigarette is lit. This compound contains hundreds of organic as well as harmful inorganic chemicals known to be very harmful for our bodies like ‘benzopyrene’ and ‘vinyl chloride.’ These inorganic chemicals are also called ‘carcinogens.’
Over the years, as you smoke, these chemicals form a coating inside your lungs along with the tobacco tar and cause diseases ranging from cancers like lung (affects 90% smokers), mouth, and esophageal, to Atherosclerossis or stiffening of arteries, to Coronary Thrombosis (blood clots in vessels carrying blood to the heart), to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD (insufficient airflow leading to breathing difficulty) etc.
Now it is a known fact that smoking causes certain types of cancers and the most common of them all is lung cancer. However, with there being a 20 years window (from the time you start smoking to the time you are likely to develop cancer) the use of nanotechnology to remove cigarette tar could well be the vital link to help people stop smoking.
Why is this viable proposition? Simply because lungs have the ability to self- clean. And once the tar is removed from the smoker’s body, the effects of the cleaning process will be visible in a few days. That being said a smoker’s lungs may require 10-15 years to become pink once again.
So, I’d like to say that if by using nanotechnology doctors can remove tar from the lungs of chronic smokers, it would be a major breakthrough in prevention of the occurrence of the ‘king of maladies.’ Are you willing to use nanotechnology for your own good?