Smoking kills 3500 people in PNG yearly, says doctor


Smoking kills 3500 Papua New Guineans annually through lung cancer, according to a senior consultant at the Pacific International Hospital (PIH).
Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Mathias Sapuri said tobacco products which contained acetone, tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide were harmful to the entire body.
He said the risk of developing a variety of health problems increased with smoking.
Sapuri said unhealthy teeth, persistent cough, bronchitis, mood stimulation, anxiety and irritability were some of the common immediate effects of smoking.
He said over time, the damage to lungs led to increased infections, with smokers having a higher risk of developing chronic nonreversible lung conditions such as:

  • Emphysema – the destruction of the air sacs in the lungs;
  • chronic bronchitis – permanent inflammation that affects the lining of the breathing tubes of the lungs; and,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a group of lung diseases like cancer.

“Smoking damages the entire cardiovascular system of the human body,” Sapuri said.
“Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten which restricts the flow of blood. The ongoing narrowing can cause peripheral artery disease.
“Smoking also raises blood pressure, weakens blood vessel walls and increases blood clots which raise the risk of stroke.”
He said smokers were at an increased risk of worsening heart disease if they already had heart bypass surgery, a heart attack, or a stent placed in a blood vessel.
Smoking was also detrimental to those who do not smoke.
“Exposure to secondhand smoke carries the same risk to a nonsmoker as someone who does smoke.”
Sapuri said children whose parents smoked were more prone to coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks than children whose parents did not.