Tobacco – The Silent Killer Summary


Tobacco is an agricultural product. Processed from the leaves of the plants of the genus Nicotiana. It’s most commonly used as a recreational drug. There are more than 70 tobacco species in the plant genus Nicotiana. It is believed that Christopher Columbus and his men on landing the island of Tobago in 1492 found the native using tobacco leaves for pleasure. The word Nicotiana is taken from the name of Jean Nicot, who was the French ambassador to Portugal in 1559. He sent tobacco leaves to Catherine de Medici’s court as a kind of medicine.

1. Tobacco smoke is a complex, dynamic and reactive mixture containing an estimated 5,000 chemicals.

2 . This toxic and carcinogenic mixture is probably the a most significant source of toxic chemical exposure
and chemically mediated disease in humans.

3 Due to the addictive properties of tobacco, tolerance and dependence develop. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that it is the world’s leading preventable cause of death and estimates that it currently causes 5.4 million deaths per year. More than a billion tobacco victims could have been seen in the twenty-first century.

4. Tobacco is used in various forms all over the world. It may be consumed either by smoking or by chewing. Smoking is the most common form of tobacco abuse in the world. Tobacco use commonly affects the heart and lungs. The most common areas affected by tobacco are hands and feet with first signs of smoking-related health problems with numbness, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and cancer, particularly lung cancer, larynx and oral cancer and pancreatic cancer.

5. The effect depends on the number of years a person smokes and how often a person smokes. Overall life expectancy is also reduced for long-term smokers, with estimates ranging from 10 to 17.9 years lower than for non-smokers.

6. Environmental smoke or second-hand smoke has been shown to cause adverse health effects in people of all ages.

7. Non-smokers who have been exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work is thought to increase the risk of heart disease by 25-30% and the risk of lung cancer by 20-30%. It has been estimated that second-hand smoke causes 38,000 deaths per year, of which 3400 are deaths due to lung cancer in non-smokers.

8. The WHO states that ‘much of the disease burden and premature mortality attributable to tobacco use disproportionately affect the poor.’ Of the 1.22 billion smokers, one billion live in developing or transitional nations. Rates of smoking have levelled off or declined in the developed world.

09. There are three major components present in cigarette smoke which are covering all major tobacco-related diseases. They are nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar.

10. Nicotine and carbon monoxide are two chemicals in cigarettes that pose a serious risk to the heart and cause other circulatory diseases. Nicotine increases the heart rate and increases the blood pressure that constricts the arteries. It is hard for the heart to pump blood through constricted arteries. As a result, fat and cholesterol are stored in the blood vessels. The heart needs to work hard to pump blood all over the body. More oxygen is needed to provide more energy to the heart muscle. But carbon monoxide, the other component of the cigarette, hinders the supply of oxygen since the affinity of carbon monoxide is 250 times higher than that of oxygen to be combined with haemoglobin. Therefore, instead of forming oxyhemoglobin, carboxyhemoglobin is formed. Both nicotine and carbon monoxide increases blood clotting as well as clogging factors. The presence of excessive concentrations of carbon monoxide poisons the blood, which can lead to death from asphyxiation.

Another component tar is a thick and sticky substance. When inhaled it sticks to the cilia in the trachea and bronchioles and stop their flicking movement by paralyzing them. This condition affects the whole respiratory system.

11. Smoke contains several carcinogenic pyrolytic products that bind to DNA and cause genetic mutations. Similarly, acrolein, which is abundant in tobacco smoke, also irreversibly binds to DNA, causes mutations and thus also cancer. However, it needs no activation to become carcinogenic.

12. Smoking leads to an increased risk of bone fractures, especially hip fractures.

13. Smokers are three times as likely to die before the age of 60 or 70 compared to non-smokers.

14. Each cigarette smoked is estimated to shorten life by an average of 11 minutes.

15. However, if someone stops smoking, then these chances gradually decrease as the damage to their body is repaired. A year after quitting, the risk of contracting heart disease is half than that of continuous smokers.

16. In Kashmir, people consume tobacco by inhaling smoke from the hookah (habul babul) which in the native language is called jigeer.

16. To prevent these problems, education and counselling of children and adolescents by physicians has been found effective in decreasing the risk of tobacco use.


Working with the Text | Solved Questions


Q. 1. What is the major component of tobacco smoke?

Ans. Nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar are two major components of tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke also contains many other toxicologically significant chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzopyrene), aldehydes (acrolein, formaldehyde), hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, benzene, toluene, phenols and tobacco-specific nitrosamines.

Q. 2. What are the carcinogenic chemicals?

Ans. Carcinogenic chemicals are those chemicals they have been found to cause cancer. Certain chemicals, including benzene, beryllium, asbestos, vinyl chloride, and arsenic are known human carcinogens, meaning they have been found to cause cancer in humans

Q. 3. List some uses of tobacco?

Ans. Tobacco has many uses.It contains nicotine, which is obtained from the plant is widely used in agriculture as an insecticide. Its seed oil can be used in an oil plant and varnish industries. In the past, it was used as a sedative and for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Dried tobacco leaves are mainly used for smoking in cigarettes and cigars, as well as pipes and shishas.

Q. 4. What is the difference between an active smoker and a passive smoker?

Ans. An active smoker is a person who directly use cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other tobacco products.

Passive smoker, i.e., non-active smoker is the person who inhales the fumes that are emitted when smokers use cigarettes; pipes; cigars and other tobacco products. It occurs when tobacco smoke permeates any environment, causing its inhalation by people within that environment. The smoke that passive smokers inhale is called secondhand tobacco smoke or environmental tobacco smoke.

Q. 5. List five harmful effects of smoking?

Ans. Five harmful effects of smoking:
i. It increases the risk of stroke and brain damage.
ii. It can cause lung and pharyngeal cancers.
iii. It increases heart rate and blood pressure.
iv. It causes yellow teeth, tooth decay and bad breath.
v. It cause loss of sense of smell and taste.
vi. It slows down the blood flow cutting off oxygen to feet and hands.

v. Carbon monoxide present in smoke decreases the oxygen supply to muscles and brain making these organs stressed.

Language Work

1. Fill in the blank:

Carcinogenic, Columbus, Carbon monoxide, Lungs, Oxygen

1. Columbus landed in Tobago and found people using tobacco leaves.

2. Smoke contains carcinogenic chemicals.

3. Carbon monoxide is a component of smoke.

4. Smoking decreases the oxygen supply to the tissues and organs.

5. Smoking mainly affects the lungs.

Jumbled Letters

2. Make meaningful words from the jumbled letters. These words appear in the lesson.

  • Botococ = Tobacco
  • Smoikng = Smoking
  • Gslun = Lungs
  • Genoyx = Oxygen
  • Brnocihtis = Bronchitis
  • Kahooh = Hookah
  • Catvei = Active
  • Paisvse = Passive
  • Heathl = Health

Grammar Work

1. Use the verbs, given in the brackets incorrect form (Present Continuous or Present Perfect Continuous Tense) in the following sentences.

1. The child has been crying since sunset. (Cry)

2. I am crying, of pain. (Cry)

3. She has been sleeping for five hours. (Sleep)

4. She is sleeping. So you cannot talk to her. (Sleep)

5. Come quickly. I am waiting for you. (Wait)

6. She has been waiting for him throughout the day. (Wait)

7. We have been living here for generations. (Live)

8. We are living at our maternal home all this time. (Live)

9. He is talking to somebody on the phone. (Talk)

10. He has been talking to his son for two hours. (Talk)

11. They are working in my office for a month. (Work)

12. The workers have been working in the factory for twenty years. (Work)

13. She has been mowing the lawn since morning. (Mow)

14. She is mowing her lawn. (Mow)

15. It is drizzling. (Drizzle)

16. It has been drizzling since sunrise. (Drizzle)

17. The children have been suffering from this disease since birth. (Suffer)

18. They are suffering unnecessarily because of you. (Suffer)

19. We are trying our best. (Try)

20. She has been trying hard to pass the examination. (Try)

Write Your Opinion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: