Smoking is detrimental to our health and it can leave us in the dark
To mark World No Tobacco Day, we at the Institut de la Màcula wish to point out that tobacco is the leading cause of avoidable death in the European Union, numbering almost 700,000 every year. It is responsible for 85% of deaths from lung cancer. Cardiovascular or respiratory problems are the first to come to mind when we talk of the harm inflicted by tobacco but they are not the only ones. Tobacco can also leave us in the dark because smoking causes blindness.
It has been proven that smokers are four times more likely to lose their sight. Tobacco is jointly responsible for 25% of cases of AMD and it does not just affect active smokers. Those who breathe environmental tobacco smoke are also victims: it has been shown that this doubles their chances of developing macular degeneration.
Smokers also have twice the risk of developing cataracts, which is the primary cause of vision loss. Tobacco is also connected to the risk of increasing intraocular pressure, a major risk factor for developing glaucoma.
With regard to women who smoke during pregnancy, tobacco use raises the risk of the baby developing strabismus or retinopathy of prematurity.
Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 toxic substances including carbon monoxide, arsenic, toluene, methanol and ammonia. The concentration of some toxic elements in city pollution is 400 times less than the concentration of pollutants given off by tobacco smoke.
We should also take into account that the number of cigarettes people smoke is not as important as the time that has passed since they got into the habit. The benefits of quitting are not obtained by reducing use but are enjoyed only when tobacco use is given up completely.
We at the Institut de la Màcula would like you to take advantage of this World No Tobacco Day to make a difference to your health and decide to quit. Smoking is detrimental to our health and can leave us in the dark.