According to a US study recently published in The Lancet, one in ten people in the world dies from the damage caused by smoking. “We must continue to fight against smoking, never stop talking about the damage of smoking and never lower our guard”, these are the words of Dr. Licia Siracusano, oncologist and contact person of the Anti-Smoking Centre at Humanitas.
“In our country the situation has been stable for about five years, there has been a slight decrease in male smokers, but a steady rise among women. After the Sirchia Act of 2003 (“Protection of the health of non-smokers and measures to combat passive smoking in the workplace and in enclosed public places”) we had a significant decrease in smokers, the situation unfortunately stabilized.
That’s why it’s important to keep saying that quitting smoking is crucial for your health, for the health of those who live next to you and for the environment and society in general,” explains Dr. Siracusano.
Despite the false myths that are circulating, it is still worth to quit smoking.
Stop smoking, even if you smoke little
“What matters is not so much the amount of cigarettes you smoke, but how long you smoke. Every single cigarette is a concentrate of harmful substances: at least one hundred carcinogens, four thousand harmful substances that are released from combustion, as well as radioactive substances such as Polonium 910”.
Stop smoking, even if you have been smoking for a lifetime
“It has been seen that the damage caused by smoking reaches its highest peak after thirty years of smoking; we could say that quitting smoking before this threshold could limit the damage a great deal. It is never too late to stop, on the contrary, our organism will always benefit from it”.
What about electronic cigarettes?
“We cannot compare the extent of damage to electronic and traditional cigarettes at the moment. We do not yet have scientific evidence of the damage that electronic cigarettes could cause, and it will take at least 20 years. Electronic cigarettes cannot hurt as traditional cigarettes, but they are not good either. It must be made very clear that smoking an electronic cigarette does not mean smoking is healthy. In some cases, in patients who are strongly motivated to quit smoking, it may be a useful step towards defeating addiction, but it cannot be considered a smoking cessation device. About the electronic cigarette, indeed, you have to pay attention to teenagers. Recent data show that 6% of them started smoking traditional cigarettes just after trying the electronic cigarette,” she stresses.
Smoke-free centre in Humanitas
“At Humanitas, at the Centre for Anti-Smoking, we propose a path that helps combat the multifactorial addiction induced by cigarettes, acting on physical and psychological aspects. Our approach is therefore integrated in pharmacological and psychological terms. In our experience we have 30% of people who in the following two years are abstinent at cigarette smoke”, concludes Dr. Siracusano.