Smoking can be active or passive – active when the person himself smokes where as passive smoking is when a person inhales other person’s smoke. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are said to contain carcinogens (cancer causing agents), nicotine (an addictive agent) and various other poisonous substances. It is said that the increase in the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the number of years of smoking, particularly when it has started at an early age leads to the increase in the risk factors and diseases related to smoking. Smoking is one of the major risk factors which cause mainly three diseases – ischaemic heart disease, cerebro-vascular disease and lung cancer. Further tobacco has led to cancers of mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach and cervix among others. It also leads to increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and reduced lung function. Many other health conditions have been associated with the use of tobacco – diabetes, peptic ulcers, some vision problems, and back pain. Also smoking during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth.
Tobacco smoking not only affects the health of self smokers but also of non-smokers. Passive smoking has been determined to be more harmful than active smoking. Passive smoking implies inhaling the tobacco smoke of some other person who might be using cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other sources. It is especially harmful for pregnant women, children and partners of smokers. It causes many health related problems – like, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS or cot disease), middle ear disease, asthma, respiratory illness, lung cancer and coronary heart disease (Better Health Channel, 2011). Smoking has been found to be the main cause leading to most of the premature deaths and diseases in Australia. Almost a quarter of deaths caused by smoking occur in middle age in the country. According to reports, there are 15,000 deaths from smoking each year. This number is much more than the deaths caused by alcohol and drugs put together (Cancer Council NSW, 2010). According to Health Insite, it has caused around 80%of all lung cancer deaths and 20% of all cancer deaths in Australia (Health Insite, 2011). Further, it has been stated that smoking is responsible for about 8% of the total burden of disease and injury for all Australians – 9.5% of total for females and 6.1% of total for females. Further, second hand smoke has adversely affected the health of adults by causing heart related diseases, cancer and various other problems. Children have been exposed to high risk of asthma, SIDS, severe respiratory problems and ear problems due to second hand smoke in this country. Tobacco is responsible for 11.7% of deaths in Australi