‘My husband was a smoker, but I had cancer’ health

“I can’t breathe through my nose. I breathe through a neck hole called the stoma,” says 75-year-old Nalini Satyanarayan.

Nalini was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, five years after her husband’s death. A resident of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, he does not smoke, but has suffered second-hand smoke during his 33 years of marriage.

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“My husband was a big smoker. I didn’t know if it would affect me or if it would be so bad,” he told the BBC. “I was worried about his health, I told him to quit smoking, but that was useless.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) says smoking kills eight million people every year. Of these, 1.2 million were affected by second-hand tobacco smoke.

In addition, many others suffer from limiting diseases. The BBC explains the damage done to non-smokers like Nalini.

Second-hand smoke can be deadly for children – Photo: BBC / GETTY IMAGES

He watched Nalin sharpen her voice as she told her grandson Janan the stories. Before long, he stopped speaking clearly and was out of breath.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors removed her vocal cords and thyroid gland.

“I lost the ability to speak. It was very frustrating. So the doctors told me I wasn’t going to regain my original voice.”

Janani, now 15, suddenly remembers what happened to her “very talkative” grandmother.

“When she was diagnosed, she didn’t stay home for a long time,” says the young woman.

“When he came back I was about four years old. He had pipes in his stomach … there were pipes everywhere. We had to clean our house many times and there was a nurse with us.”

Nalini received good medical attention and was able to start talking again with the help of an electronic device.

“I had cancer because of my husband,” says Nalini. “Smokers breathe poisonous substances and passive smokers stop breathing.”

Tobacco industry fights regulations – Photo: BBC / GETTY IMAGES


The WHO stresses that “all types of tobacco are harmful and that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco.”

“Passive smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, about 70 of which can cause cancer,” said Angela Ciobanu, head of tobacco control at the WHO’s European Office.

Tobacco smoke also affects our heart health. “Exposure to second-hand smoke for only an hour can damage the inner layer of the coronary arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack,” Ciobanu added.

The UN health agency estimates that passive smoking kills 65,000 children a year.

Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are also at higher risk for ear infections, which can lead to hearing loss and deafness.

“Children are 50 to 100 percent more likely to develop acute respiratory illness, as well as the risk of developing asthma and sudden death syndrome,” says Ciobanu.

The WHO says there is strong protection between smokers and non-smokers in certain environments to ban smoking.

“Absolutely smoke-free environments are the only effective way to protect the health of non-smokers. Don’t let anyone smoke next to you or your children. Clean air is a basic human right,” says Ciobanu.

However, reducing tobacco use is not easy. According to Grand View Research, the sector moved $ 850 billion (R $ 4 trillion) in 2021.

That’s almost double the GDP of Nigeria’s most populous nation in Africa. The World Bank estimates that its economy will be worth $ 430 billion by 2020.

Grand View Research says the rise in tobacco demand “has contributed to the growing number of smokers in developing regions in Asia and Africa.”

To protect their commercial interests, major tobacco companies are violating health regulations and sometimes even get banned.

Ainuru Altybaeva was a group of Kyrgyz lawmakers who joined forces to pass a bill banning smoking in public places in 2018.

He argued that tobacco caused 6,000 deaths a year in the country and that a ban could reduce tobacco consumption by ten percent.

But he had great endurance.

“Due to the link between some members of parliament and the tobacco industry, the proposal was forwarded to a committee that was expected to delay its approval. “Some people used social media to attack me and my family.”

He fought relentlessly and in 2021 a law banning smoking in public areas came into force. Altybaeva’s work is a long way off.

It is conducting awareness campaigns and creating anti-tobacco aid among different communities.

Global efforts to help reduce tobacco deaths were implemented in the 2005 Tobacco Control Convention. So far, 182 countries have joined.

Tobacco activists say countries should go beyond imposing public bans on smoking and implement other suggestions contained in the convention.

“A smoke-free policy is to respect people’s right to clean air,” said Mary Assunta of Mary Assunta, an NGO at the Global Center for Good Governance for Tobacco Control.

“It simply came to our notice then [impacto com as proibições] By reducing death rates, this measure must go hand in hand with comprehensive tobacco control policies – including high taxes, education campaigns, figurative warnings on tobacco packages, and a ban on tobacco advertising and promotion. ”

(VIDEO: Welfare shows that lung cancer affects 2 million people a year.)

Lung cancer affects 2 million people a year

Although the number of smokers worldwide is gradually declining, it is still 1.3 billion. The WHO says that one in 10 cigarettes comes from the illegal trade in tobacco, and that there are no regulations.

Assunta also urges the authorities to be vigilant. He found several cases of advertisements for tobacco products in applications and games known to children.

“It is cruel for an industry to sell a product that kills half of its customers early. It is also responsible for the deaths of non-smokers. It must be forced to pay for the damage caused and continues to be caused by the tobacco industry,” said Assunta.

Nalini continues to breathe through her throat and can only eat soft foods.

But he learned to live a very independent life. He has learned to play the clarinet, has a PhD in botany and is a gardener.

And he considers himself the winner, having survived the cancer.

Nalini also spends more time with her two grandchildren. Janani, who wants to be a veterinarian, often goes to her grandmother for science lessons.

Nalini attends schools, universities, community gatherings and many other places, telling people about the dangers of passive smoking, highlighting her story.

Despite losing her voice and experiencing great suffering, Nalini is not angry with her ex-husband.

“I have never felt unhappy with my husband. It is useless to feel sorry for him, he will not solve any problems. I have accepted the reality and I have never felt ashamed to talk about my illness,” she says.

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