Tobacco is Harming Nunavik
Nunavik has the highest smoking rate in the country and among Indigenous groups as well. Traditional Inuit society was smoke-free and smoking was never a part of Inuit culture.
Recently, the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 revealed that 72% of Nunavimmiut aged 16 and over smoke.
Naturally present in the tobacco plant, nicotine is the component responsible for addiction. It creates a feeling of well-being and addiction sets in when a person no longer in control of their tobacco consumption. At some point, the body ends up getting used to smoking tobacco and to keep the feeling and its effects, the need to use more becomes present.
Tobacco leaves and many chemical additives are used in the manufacturing of cigarettes. When a cigarette is lit, the tobacco burns and produces smoke containing more than 7000 chemicals. Many of these are known to cause cancer and respiratory and heart disease.
Types of Cancer
- Lung cancer
- Throat cancer
- Bladder cancer
Second-Hand Smoke (SHS)
Second-hand smoke is smoke produced by the tip of a burning cigarette and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Containing more than 4000 substances, exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful to non-smokers and smokers alike. Children's exposure to second-hand smoke can lead to ear infections and respiratory problems like pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
Smoking and COVID-19
The COVID-19 virus mainly affects the respiratory tract, including the lungs. People who smoke cigarettes are more at risk of developing respiratory complications that could lead to medical evacuation and hospitalization if they contract the virus.
Like tobacco, vaping carries risks. It consists of inhaling and exhaling a vaping product using an electronic cigarette, also called an e-cig or e-cigarette. The product is liquid based, heated by the e-cigarette and transforms into a fine mist which the smoker inhales.
Most vaping substances contain nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals that can be addictive. When inhaled, they are absorbed by the lungs and transmitted into the blood. Exposure to these chemicals carries risks and the long-term health effects are unknown.
Although vaping is less harmful than smoking, quitting any type of smoking is the best way to improve health.
It's never too late to quit smoking. Former smokers appreciate the benefits of quitting not only in their health, but also in their finances. Taste and smell that was once hidden by tobacco eventually returns.
By quitting smoking, the risk of developing heart disease, lung disease or cancer is significantly reduced. The level of nicotine in the body drops and it is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Quitting smoking during pregnancy is beneficial for both mother and baby. It helps reduce the risk of complications (e.g. a premature birth, having a baby with lower weight and miscarriages).
For support to quit smoking, surround yourself with those who can encourage and motivate you. Talking to your doctor to get informed can help before deciding on any solutions. Several options are available to help quit smoking. Nicotine patches, gum and vaporizers help to gradually lower the level of nicotine in the body, helping to increase the chances of quitting smoking.