This study sought to determine the knowledge of cancer, cardiovascular, perinatal and respiratory diseases caused by tobacco use among civil servants in Abakaliki metropolis. Survey design was adopted in the study which enabled the researcher to assess opinions on the issue. Primary data were generated using a well-structured questionnaire used for eliciting opinion and 333 respondents were sampled through the use of Taro Yamane statistical formula. The study employed the use of frequencies and percentage for treatment of descriptive data and chi-square for testing the hypothesis with alpha level of 0.05. Findings indicate that tobacco use makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant, it weakens the body’s immune system thereby damaging the cell’s DNA. Also findings proves that civil servants in Abakaliki metropolis have little on the above mentioned diseases caused by tobacco use. Based on this findings, the study therefore recommends a legislated ban on tobacco use such that policies will be made in other to reduce the increased trend of smoking in our society.
1.1 Background to the Study
WHO (2000) defined Tobacco as a green, leafy plant that is grown in warm climates. After it is picked, it is dried, ground up, and used in different ways. It can be smoked in a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. It can be chewed (called smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco) or sniffed through the nose (called snuff). Nicotine is one of the more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and its smoke. It is the chemical that makes tobacco addictive or habit forming. Once we smoke, chew, or sniff tobacco, nicotine goes into our bloodstream, and our body wants more. The nicotine in tobacco makes it a drug. This means that when we use tobacco, it changes our body in some way. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it speeds up the nervous system, so we feel like we have more energy. It also makes the heart beat faster and raises blood pressure.
Tobacco consumption, either in smokeless form or as smoking, is reported to be responsible for major diseases, such as; cancers diseases, cardiovascular diseases, perinatal diseases and respiratory diseases. Whatsoever control strategy is being used, the community participation is of utmost importance, which will depend largely on the level of the knowledge in the community.
Cancer is one of the primary risks of tobacco usage, this include many forms of cancer, particularly lung cancer, kidney cancer, cancer of the larynx and head and neck, bladder cancer, cancer of the esophagus, cancer of the pancreas and stomach cancer. Studies have established a relationship between tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, and cervical cancer in women. Cigar and or pipe smoking cause cancers of the oral cavity (mouth) and the upper digestive tract (oropharynx and hypo pharynx, larynx and oesophagus). The risk increases with the amount smoked and when smoking is combined with alcohol consumption. Cigar and or pipe smoking also causes lung cancer and there is evidence that it may cause pancreatic, stomach and bladder cancer.
Flanders (2006), Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels. Blood flow to the heart, brain or body can be reduced as the result of a blood clot (thrombosis), or by a build-up of fatty deposits inside an artery that cause the artery to harden and narrow (atherosclerosis). There are four main types of cardiovascular disease, they are: coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, aortic disease. Cardiovascular diseases are a major public health challenge. Smoking plays a major role in cardiovascular pathophysiology. Therefore efforts are required to address the problem especially at preventive level. Public smoking bans are related to fewer admissions for both cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Legislative efforts to reduce exposure to smoking are needed especially in the developing countries, where prevalence of smoking is rising.
Tverdal (2006) explained that, the respiratory system extends from the nose and upper airway to the alveolar surface of the lungs, where gas exchange occurs. Inhaled tobacco smoke moves from the mouth through the upper airway, ultimately reaching the alveoli. As the smoke moves more deeply into the respiratory tract, more soluble gases are adsorbed and particles are deposited in the airways and alveoli. The substantial doses of carcinogens and toxins delivered to these sites place smokers at risk for malignant and nonmalignant diseases involving all components of the respiratory tract including the mouth. The nonmalignant respiratory diseases caused by smoking contribute substantially to the burden of morbidity and mortality attributable to smoking and other means of tobacco use. To protect the lungs from injury, the respiratory tract has an elegant set of mechanisms for handling the particles and gases in inhaled air.
Most people do not know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. Smoking during pregnancy causes additional health problems, including premature birth (being born too early), certain birth defects, and infant death. Smoking makes it harder for some woman to get pregnant. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage. (Chaung,2011). he further stated that Smoking can cause problems with the placenta the source of the baby’s food and oxygen during pregnancy. For example, the placenta can separate from the womb too early, causing bleeding, which is dangerous to the mother and baby. Women who smoke may have a modest increase in risks for ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortion. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for premature rupture of membranes, abruptio placentae (placenta separation from the uterus), and placenta previal (abnormal location of the placenta, which can cause massive hemorrhaging during delivery; smoking is also associated with a modest increase in risk for preterm delivery. Infants born to women who smoke during pregnancy have a lower average birth weight and are more likely to be small for gestational age than infants born to women who do not smoke. Low birth weight is associated with increased risk for neonatal, perinatal, and infant morbidity and mortality. He concluded that the longer the mother smokes during pregnancy, the greater the effect on the infant’s birth weight..
According to Zaridze (1986), tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart, liver and lungs. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer). It also causes peripheral vascular disease and hypertension. The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes and on how much the person smokes. Starting smoking earlier in life and smoking cigarettes higher in tar increases the risk of these diseases. Also, environmental tobacco smoke, or secondhand smoke, has been shown to cause adverse health effects in people of all ages. Tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, and it contributes to a number of other health problems of the fetus such as premature birth, low birth weight, and increases the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).