These ‘pleasure giving’ substances actually decrease the quality of your life !

“Though tobacco and alcohol kill a person early,

Till he lives he lives a great and happy life!”

 

Utter nonsense… Even before they finally kill, tobacco & alcohol harms the quality of your life in multiple ways!

 

I.   They cause a number of disabling diseases which cause distress and decrease a person’s capacity to work and to enjoy life.
II.   Impotence & sterility
III.   Stamina for physical effort decreases

IV.   A lot of money gets wasted

V.   The person’s attractiveness is decreased

  Thus, contrary to what alcohol and tobacco companies want to make us believe,

  by all parameters, alcohol & tobacco make you less masculine, not more!

VI.   They create a state of physical and psychological dependence:

(Since quitting addictive substances is so difficult, the best way to protect yourself from them is to not touch them even once. Keep in mind, withdrawal & tolerance are characteristics of addictive substances. They have nothing to do with your will power. Anyone who touches an addictive substance runs a risk of getting addicted to it.)

VII.   They impair mental health

VIII.   They decrease academic performance

IX.   Alcohol & tobacco act as gateway drugs; introducing the youth to other harmful drugs, bad company & crime.
X.   They harm your family too: through passive smoking, domestic violence, children picking up the addiction, fetus getting harmed and the family suffering socio-economic disadvantages.
 

Yes, everyone will not face all the problems listed above. But a significantly large proportion of people who touch these addictive poisons end up having these problems; and spoiling their own quality of life. If you wish to take the risk – its your choice. But we would strongly recommend that the momentary pleasure of intoxicating substances is not worth risking so much in life.

 

For a detailed description of above points, read below:  

 I.        They can cause a number of disabling diseases which cause distress and decrease a person’s capacity to work and to enjoy life.

   Few of the diseases caused by tobacco:

  1. Peripheral vascular disease: Like tobacco causes blockage in arteries to heart & brain, it can block the arteries of hands or legs too. Consequently, the legs start paining after minimal exertion, then it starts becoming black and finally it has to be amputed. 90% of the people who get this disease, get it because of their tobacco habit.
  2. High blood pressure: with life-long medications and it’s attending complications.
  3. Premature fusion of long bones: thereby an adolescent doesn’t reach his full height possible.
  4. Acidity, peptic ulcers and impaired digestion: which results in intermittent distressing abdominal pain every now and then.
  5. Painful mouth ulcers and submucous fibrosis: Tobacco irritates the inner lining of mouth and on repeated use this leads of fibrosis. When this happens, the extent to which the person can open his mouth keeps decreasing progressively; such that even eating and talking become difficult. Submucous fibrosis is a pre-cancerous condition – it can progress to cancer if the person is not able to stop tobacco.
  6. Sore throat, cough & breathing difficulties: Smoking damages the respiratory tract and at times the cough is so severe, that they are not even able to get restful sleep.
  7. Trembling of hands: which can interfere with any type of skilled work.
  8. Chrons disease: This leads to recurrent diarrhea.

 

Few of the diseases caused by alcohol:

Alcohol is a causative or contributing cause in 210 disease categories under ICD 10! (International Classification of Dieseases) A few of them are:

  1. Fetal alcohol syndrome
  2. Cancers: Mouth and oropharynx, Oesophageal; colon and rectal; liver; breast; etc.
  3. Alcohol dependence & Alcohol Abuse: Once a person becomes addicted, it not only has health consequences, but also harms the person economically, professionally, socially, legally & spiritually. Infact it makes life hell for the entire family.
  4. Alcohol induced psychosis
  5. Depressive disorders
  6. Epilepsy
  7. Hypertensive heart disease
  8. Ischaemic heart disease
  9. Haemorrhagic stroke ; Ischaemic stroke
  10. Cirrhosis of the liver
  11. Nutritional deficiencies
  12. Impaired immunity – making a person more vulnerable to infectious dieases.
  13. Alcohol-induced pancreatitis
  14. Alcohol is a contributory factor for risky sexual behaviour, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection.
  15. Wernicke’s Encephelitis, Korsakoff’s Psychosis, Alcohol related Dementia and various other diseases of central nervous system. If you compare the CT scan of brain of a person who has consumed alcohol for many years with that of a healthy individual, you will see for yourself that the brain appears shrunken and the empty black spaces appear widened; a proof that alcohol causes atrophy of all parts of the brain.

We wont write the entire list. We will just request you to consider, if the body & mind are not healthy, can one really enjoy life? Now lets see other than causing various diseases, what are the other ways in which these addictive substances impair the quality of our life?

 

II.        Impotence & sterility:  Impotence means decreased ability or inability to achieve erection of the penis & Sterility means inability to have a child. Out of the organic causes of impotence, the 4 most common causes are Diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco and alcohol. Also, alcohol is an aphrodisiac i.e. it increases the desire to have sex. Thus it’s a double blow – the person desires a lot but can have nothing!! There is mounting evidence that tobacco increases the chances of sterility in both genders; it causes a delay in conception and it increases the chances of abortion. Hypothesised mechanisms are decrease in the sperm count, damage to the follicles in ovaries, menstrual cycle disturbances, mutagenesis in gametes & embryo, and damage to cilia of fallopian tubes leading to implantation of embryo at abnormal sites.

 

III.    Stamina for physical effort decreases:You would have observed that your friends who start smoking, can no longer play football after a few years. Its obvious that when your lungs, heart, limb muscles and various other organs of the body are damaged and when your overall nutritional status is bad, your ability to do work that requires physically fitness & your ability to play physical sports decreases.

 

IV.     A lot of money gets wasted: Drop by drop makes the ocean. A person smoking 10 cigarettes a day, would lose around Rs 50/ day. This comes to Rs 1500/month and Rs18,000 every year. For alcohol it is even higher. Even a labourer ends up spending Rs 100/day à Rs 3000/month à Rs 36,000 every year. According to a study done by Dr. Vivek Benegal, et.al at NIMHANS, the percentage of family income spent on alcohol was 24% in rural areas and 32% in urban areas of Bangalore. Imagine the possibilities which will open up for the family if all this money gets saved. And besides this there are the indirect costs of work-absenteeism/ loss of professional skills, money lost in treatment of alcohol related diseases, and premature death of earning member. Collectively, it results in a financial disaster for the family; which gets trapped in a whirlpool of debt & drinking. They are forced to sell off their possessions one by one and at times the frustration leads to suicide.

 

V.        The person’s attractiveness is decreased:

Tobacco causes staining of teeth, blackening of lips and early wrinkling of skin. It increases chances of gum infection and is a common cause of tooth fall in adults. Your smile is your best ornament; and using tobacco spoils that J Alcohol causes various nutritional deficiencies which results in drying of skin, fissuring around lips and various other skin diseases. Besides, whether you drink or smoke, your mouth stinks and you have to take some mouth freshening chewing gum before talking to people, if you want to avoid creating a bad impression. Alcohol & tobacco companies try hard to create an illusion that women get attracted to men who smoke/ drink. However the fact is that surveys have consistently shown that women dislike men who use addictive substances.

 

To summarise, an alcohol or tobacco user:

  • stands a chance of becoming impotent,
  • his physical stamina decreases,
  • his occupational performance can deteriorate,
  • his financial power decreases and
  • he also looks less attractive.

Thus, contrary to what alcohol and tobacco companies want to make us believe,

by all parameters, alcohol & tobacco make you less masculine, not more!

 

VI.        They create a state of physical and psychological dependence:

      The first time a person smokes he gets a quick high. But that is short lasting and soon he starts feeling worse than normal. To remove the discomfort he smokes again. This time the positive effect is less than the 1st smoke and after the temporary euphoria, his distress increases still further. He keeps feeling anxious, restless & depressed, he is not able to get proper sleep and his concentration also decreases. An addict cannot enter the library without puffing his cigarette. Right? This phenomenon is called as withdrawal. A stage comes that as soon as he wakes up, he needs a cigarette just to feel normal and get started. Eg. a person addicted to tobacco is not even able to pass stools in the morning till he chews or smokes his tobacco. The body just doesn’t function without it. This is how a person becomes dependent on tobacco and becomes its slave. Also, gradually he needs to smoke more and more number of cigarettes to get the same feeling which he previously got with just 1 cigarette – a phenomenon known as tolerance. It is often difficult to decide, whether the person is enjoying the cigarette or the cigarette is enjoying the person! Such withdrawal symptoms & tolerance are observed with all other addictive substances as well, like alcohol, cannabis, brown sugar, etc. 

 

Because of these withdrawal symptoms and craving, a person gets trapped and is unable to quit the addiction even though he wants to. There are so many people who get discharged from de-addiction centres after many weeks or many months; and then end up drinking on the day of discharge itself. Ofcourse, some people do manage to quit it completely or intermittently. But for many families – they find themselves trapped in a hell from which there is no escape. Since quitting addictive substances is so difficult, the best way to protect yourself from them is to not touch them even once. If you are taking alcohol occasionally in parties then the time to quit is now; because once it gets out of control you will not be able to quit it even though you would want to.

 

Keep in mind, withdrawal & tolerance are characteristics of addictive substances. They have nothing to do with your will power. For some people it may develop faster for some it may develop slowly. There are some risk factors which increase the risk. However that doesn’t mean that others are safe. Anyone who touches an addictive substance runs a risk of getting addicted to it, irrespective of his will power or other qualities – There are enough number of successful businessman, doctors, engineers, etc. who have ruined their lives just because someday they chose to use an addictive substance like alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, etc. for their recreation….

 

VII.        They impair mental health: Contrary to what advertisements promise, alcohol and tobacco use have been seen to be associated with low self esteem, anxiety and depression. This is because of the direct impact of these substances on the brain physiology as well as because of the physical, social, professional and economic damage which they bring along.

 

VIII.        They decrease academic performance: Their use has been observed to be associated with poor school performance, truancy, low aspirations for future success and early school drop outs. The reasons hypothesised for this are:

1)    Decreased ability to concentrate on studies due to withdrawal symptoms.

2)    More and more time starts going in procuring and consuming addictive substances. Decreased interest in all other activities including studies & sports.

3)    Their company gets spoilt and they spend most of their time with youth who have little or no interest in studies.

4)    Once they get used to the easily obtainable and instant gratification of addictive substances, probably they are not left with the drive to consistently work hard over something in which the rewards come only after a long period of effort.

 

IX.        Alcohol & tobacco act as gateway drugs: Besides being extremely harmful themselves alcohol and tobacco often act as the 1st step; leading the person to more harmful substances. People who take illicit drugs like brown sugar, cocaine, ganja, etc. don’t directly starts with them. Invariably, the 1st drugs experimented with are the ones which are easily available, widely marketed and perceived to be relatively harmless eg. alcohol, cigarettes, gutkha, pan masala, etc. Then they meet up with new friends who introduce them to “better”/ “real” stuff – and then gradually, without even realising, they get sucked up into a world of illicit drugs, unproductive lifestyle, crime, etc. If you can convince youngsters in your family to stay away from alcohol/ tobacco/ cannabis – then you can be reasonably sure that he is never going to touch any other intoxicating substance/ party drug either.

 

X.        They harm your family too: A person using addictive substances loves his / her family members; but still ends up harming them in multiple ways:

1)  Passive smoking: All these adverse effects of tobacco smoke are suffered by other people living around smokers too. Tobacco smoke remains suspended in the room for hours, though it may not be seen. So even if a person smokes only when his family members are not at home, they still get affected. Infact, 10% of the tobacco attributable deaths are amongst innocent near & dear ones of smokers, due to passive smoking!

 

After a study consisting of 24 research projects, spread over 8 countries, US Environment Protection Agency has proclaimed passive smoke also to be a group A carcinogen – i.e. definitely producing cancer. It is because of such strong evidence, that public smoking is banned in all countries.

 

2) Your children too pick up the addiction from you: Most of the attitudes & behaviours in children get shaped by what they observe in their parents; and this holds true for tobacco & alcohol use too. If youngsters see elders in their family drink/ smoke they are bound to think, “Though alcohol/ tobacco are said to be unhealthy; they cant be that bad either. Otherwise why would my elders take these substances?”

 

3)     Domestic violence and Socio-economic backwardness: More than half of the domestic violence episodes take place under alcohol intoxication. Daily witnessing their father assaulting their mother and at times even themselves, children develop anxiety & depressive disorders and are not able to focus on their studies. Later on, many of them themselves take up addictions to deal with their pain. Also, because the money is squandered and the person doesn’t earn, the family remains poor & backward – often not having enough money even for basic needs like schooling, food, etc.

 

4)     They have to lose you around 10 years early: Alcohol & tobacco are two of the leading causes of untimely avoidable deaths. The family is left with no other option but to cry and curse the alcohol/ tobacco companies. And if

 

5)     Effects on pregnancy: If a pregnant female consumes tobacco or if she passively takes in smoke from her husband:

  • It increases the chances of spontaneous abortion.
  • Risk of ectopic pregnancy gets doubled
  • Birth weight decreases by 150 to 250 gms on an average!
  • And it’s a major cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). I.e. the newborn is all fine and well. But suddenly 1 day, without any apparent reason, it just dies.

Similarly, we all know that if a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, the fetus gets harmed. The condition is called fetal alcohol syndrome and is characterised by low birth weight and various body anomalies. Each mother knows about this and yet some of them are not able to stop alcohol even while they are pregnant! That’s how addictive alcohol can get. Before starting to drink alcohol in parties, shouldn’t girls give this a thought?

 

A person using addictive substances loves his family and doesn’t want to harm them. But still he just cant control and ends up hurting & harming them unintentionally. Hence, while looking out for a life partner it might be a very wise thing to make sure that he/she doesn’t drink/smoke or that he/ she gives up the addictive poison completely before you decide to go ahead. Today he or she might be completely healthy, just drinking occasionally in parties. But one can never be sure how will things be after 10 years…

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