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Children: Victims of adults' vices like smoking

DHAKA, Jan 3, 2018 (BSS) - It is seldom assessed how much nicotine is being released from a cigarette puff but it is quite evident how children at home and outside are fast falling victims to the billowing white or bluish smoke.

Smokers may think they have a good reason that smoking offers comfort and relaxation but the fact remains that it perpetuates addiction to nicotine. The tobacco cigarettes' exuberant and stylish marketing campaigns have been creating nicotine addicts in each generation.

Thus, the adults' vices like smoking, better be dubbed as the billowing white hoax, are poisoning atmospheres with unbridled release of nicotine at homes and open places putting, especially the kids into a state of formidable danger.

For years and eras, children are being very proudly declared as the future leaders. But who would write down all the crimes being done against the children by their adults or who would hear and behold all sorrows and horrors the children have been suffering for ages?

A study came out recently with a hair raising report that 95 percent of the children of Dhaka City Corporation and nearby areas have harmful nicotine. Six natives of the capital's Mirpur area and 479 primary children in Savar were found to be harmful nicotine in saliva examination.

The study, published on December 7 last in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Journal of Oxford (UK), said that it became necessary to reduce the impact of indirect smoking on children in Bangladesh, where smoking was outlawed in public places in 2013.

The survey found that these children were recently exposed to secondhand smoke, containing more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which can cause cancer. "Our research is based on the affect of this indirect smoker," observes Professor Rumana Haque of Dhaka University, associated with this study.

She said the study was done with approval of Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) by including the 5th grade students of 12 schools, majority of whom were between 11 and 13 years. Their saliva was sent to the UK for testing as there is no such laboratory in Bangladesh.

Smoking and chewing tobacco as major health hazards contain the venomous chemical nicotine, which addicts anyone within days of first using it. In fact, nicotine in tobacco can be as addictive as cocaine or heroin, which means that once a person starts to smoke, it's very hard to stop.

Doctors say smoking and tobacco use cause heart disease, stroke, breakdown of lung tissue and many types of cancer as well as increased risk of infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. They also irritate the throat, cause bad breath, and damage the airways leading to "smoker's cough."

"The research results are important and the situation is dangerous," said former director of the National Chest Disease Hospital and renowned physician Ali Hossain. He said the main reason for the child's respiratory and asthma is this indirect smoking.

Many studies have proven the worst affect of indirect smoking in children's health. Elders smoking by enjoying liberty quite whimsically are killing their kids at every moment as anyone's ability to prevent people smoking at homes or in the neighborhood is relatively low.

In the study, 43 percent of the children said that at least one person in his/her family smoked, 21 percent said smoking in their families was prohibited and 87 percent of them said they were victims of indirect smoking in public places. .

According to Kamran Siddiqi, affiliated with the International Union against TB and Lung Diseases and Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, the children exposed to secondhand smoking are at risk of developing chest and ear infections. And for the children with asthma, he said, it can increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

WHO says more than 600,000 nonsmokers die every year from secondhand smoke. About 165,000 of these deaths occur in children, and most are due to respiratory infections. In Bangladesh, a national survey said, 45 percent males smoke tobacco.

Nicotine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the tobacco plant. In humans, when nicotine is inhaled, it rapidly enters the blood stream, crosses the blood-brain barrier and reaches the central nervous system (CNS) where it acts as a stimulant.

In recent years, the child mortality rate has been declining in Bangladesh but is still unacceptably high compared to many other nations. If most children in Bangladesh are exposed to secondhand smoke, they are also at risk of respiratory infections and associated deaths.

Any death due to secondhand smoke is avoidable, and Bangladeshi children are clearly not benefiting from their country's smoking ban. In this case, the social leaders can create more public awareness about the harms of secondhand smoke and the NGOs should support a grassroots movement to change smoking norms in communities.

Finally, many studies show that young smokers are more likely to experiment with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other drugs. But parents are the best ones who can keep kids away from trying and getting addicted to smoking and chewing tobacco.