UK respiratory specialist calls for a total ban on cigarettes..

March 10, 2010 - More young people are being treated for smoking-related lung diseases, an expert has claimed. Anindo Banerjee, 41, respiratory specialist at Southampton General Hospital, said even though there is a ban on lighting up in public, cigarettes continue to be a major health problem and not just for older generations.

Doctor calls for a total ban on cigarettes on the eve of No Smoking Day..

Mr Banerjee said he is even treating a 19-year-old for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which can cause sufferers to slowly suffocate. "Year on year we are seeing increasing numbers of patients with severe chest diseases due to smoking in which the lungs are damaged, such as COPD," he said.

"This is not just death, but a slow suffocation in which patients progressively lose the ability to work, go out, or even walk around the shops because they are out of breath. Eventually they become chair or bed-bound, dependent on oxygen to keep them going."

Mr Banerjee went on: "It is an old myth that COPD is a disease of old men. Depressingly, large numbers of young people smoke, and they often believe that the warnings do not apply to them. "We are seeing increasing numbers of young people whose lungs have been destroyed by smoking, who suffer the same breathlessness and restriction and whose lives are blighted by their 'enjoyment'. Our youngest patient with this disease is 19 years old." The 19-year-old COPD patient is female and has been smoking since the age of 10, according to a spokesman for the hospital.

The doctor said that even though the terrible effects of cigarettes have been known for many years, smoking is still accepted in society.

"Cigarettes damage those who smoke, and everyone around them. That it has been around for 500 years is no excuse. That it is enjoyable is no excuse. The destruction of lives and health that it causes is plain for everyone to see. It is time to work towards a complete ban on smoking. Smoking remains a major health issue."

COPD is principally caused by smoking and involves damage to the tiny air sacs, or alveoli, in the lungs through which oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream. This leaves sufferers in the later stages fighting for breath as the sacs lose their elasticity and do not work properly.

Reference: Expert calls for total smoking ban, United Kingdom - Press Association, 5/9/2010.


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