Health Care

Damage Calculator: Find out your life expectancy and years ahead after smoking!

Mindtrades ConsultingJuly 16, 2021

For the last couple of years, researchers have been drawing a parallel between smoking and air pollution. In countries like China, the USA, or India; it has become a chronic condition for people to choke on extremely high levels of air pollution caused by smoking. A report by Tobacco Control reveals that the air pollution emitted by cigarettes is ten times greater than diesel car exhaust.

According to WHO's report on the global tobacco epidemic, smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke exposure. To put it blatantly, that is one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. If you look at the air pollution caused by smoking, the most harmful pollution is small particulate matter, 2.5 microns in size or less, called PM2.5. These particles are tiny enough to work their way into the lungs and the bloodstream, triggering a heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, and asthma. You double that level, and it is equivalent to two cigarettes per day. Unlike cigarette smoking, pollution reaches all age groups. The smoke produced by tobacco has delicate particulate matter, which is a dangerous element of air pollution for health.

If you work out the math, one cigarette per day is the rough equivalent of a PM2.5 level of 22 μg/m3. You double that level, and it is equivalent to two cigarettes per day. Unlike cigarette smoking, pollution reaches all age groups. The smoke produced by tobacco has delicate particulate matter, which is a dangerous element of air pollution for health.

 How smoking kills

It's no secret that smoking hurts your lungs, or for that matter, your overall health. Yet, we oversee the side effects and refrain from quitting the habit. If you're still negligent about it, then here's a low down for you. A single cigarette has more than 7,000 chemicals, including lead, tar, and arsenic. Smoking, including cigars and smokeless tobacco, can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions. It not only poses a threat to lung damage, or cancer, smoking also affects your heart. This habit is one of the major causes of coronary heart disease, which leads to a heart attack. According to WHO, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people a year worldwide.

 Air pollution's death blow is even worse.

If smoking isn't doing enough damage, air pollution, we hear, kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. WHO data reveals that nine out of ten people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures. From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution is a major threat to health.

 The report adds that the combined effects of outdoor and household air pollution cause about seven million premature deaths every year. And these include increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.

 A way forward

But there is a way forward for smokers to reverse the damage and work towards having healthy lungs again. Here's a calculator that shows how many cigarettes you have smoked so far.

All you have to do is feed in these details:

Click to copy
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It asks you for the country, the city you live in, and the closest transit station. 

Once you are done with that, it asks if you are a smoker or a non-smoker?

If you say no, the calculator will simply calculate your life expectancy.

If you say yes, the next questions are - how many a day, and your date of birth. 

The calculator takes into account your lifespan and treats the air quality of your city as an input (along with your smoking habits, if you smoke) and will reveal the estimated number of cigarettes you have smoked in your life span given the polluted air we breathe. Your expected life span is also factored in by the calculator

The calculator will give you an output, where it reveals the current Air Quality Index (AQI), your life of expectancy, and the average life expectancy of the country you live in. 

Interestingly, there is also a pictorial representation of your lungs, where it compares: a healthy pair of lungs versus your lungs. A picture says a thousand words, proof much?

The calculator also shows a way to reverse the damage. For instance, if you say you haven't quit smoking, the calculator will tell you what your life expectancy will be like if you quit smoking. Quitting the habit forever yields to a happy heart and lungs. If you're reading this, help your "smoker" friends by sharing this. Let them also calculate and oversee their lungs through this calculator.

How did we build the calculator?

In order to build our own calculator, we needed information on the AQI plus the air pollution statistics based on countries. We obtained the air pollution statistics from https://aqicn.org/map/world/

In order to check the life expectancy of every country, we procured the information from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

Conclusion

The underlying message is simple; if you quit smoking now, there is scope for damage control. And widgets like these will only help you picture how much tobacco has affected your lungs. It is more or less a wake-up call for you to look at your own, say a chest X-Ray of sorts, and work towards adopting a healthy lifestyle. You may stop for a few weeks and think about getting back to it again. But take a moment and think about the already done damage. Also, keep in mind the number of years you might have to strive to reverse the damage. Smoking and air pollution is the most significant environmental catastrophe in the world today. Curbing this and working towards reducing air pollution also stands a chance for your government to overachieve the Paris Climate.

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