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January 20, 2020

Nicotine in disguise

Smoking, betel quid chewing and tobacco consumption are die-hard habits. The main agent that makes it hard to relinquish those habits is nicotine. In fact, most smokers, betel quid chewers or tobacco consumers are addicted to nicotine.
Nicotine is harmful to the nervous system and muscle cells. It can cause strokes due to the blockage of blood vessels in the brain. People absorb nicotine through smoking cigarettes, cheroots, pipes or cigars. And there is also another way, which is smokeless tobacco, and it includes tobacco chewing. Users put tobacco leaves into their mouths and suck on them, instead of smoking them.
Many studies have shown a convincing link between betel nut use and cancer of the mouth and esophagus. Betel nuts can cause stiffness in the mouth and eventually the loss of jaw movements. Regular chewing of betel quid can also cause gum irritation and tooth decay. The use of betel quid alone has many health hazards, and when this product is combined with tobacco, the user’s risk of early illness and death is significantly increased.
Additionally, smoking causes some seven out of every 10 cases of lung cancer (70%). It also causes cancer in many other parts of the body, including the mouth, throat, voice box (larynx), oesophagus, bladder, bowel, cervix, kidney, liver, stomach and pancreas.
Myanmar enacted a law to eliminate the habit of smoking and betel quid chewing in 2006. Under the law, warning messages have appeared on the packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
As the fight against tobacco use has turned into a global campaign, big tobacco companies began to apply alternative means to find new markets, and mainly preyed on young people. They introduced the Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), claiming that they are less harmful. But E-cigarettes may lead to the initiation of nicotine use in adult and youth non-smokers, re-initiation of nicotine dependence in ex-smokers or increased severity of nicotine dependence in dual-users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes can resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes (cig-a-likes), cigars or pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks. Regardless of their design and appearance, these devices are generally hazardous to health, as they are not free from nicotine. In fact, they are nicotine in disguise.

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