Although smoking is increasing especially in developing countries, it is one of the most harmful habits that harm human health. In developed countries, the rate of smoking remains stable. The use of cigarettes and other tobacco products is the most serious public health problem in the world, and more than 8 million people die annually. It has no benefits for human health and causes the development of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, stroke and vascular occlusion, thus shortening the human lifespan and deteriorating the quality of the life span.
In our urology practice, we see the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products as the most common cause of bladder cancer. Although the duration and amount of smoking increases, bladder cancer appears more frequently and at a more advanced stage. At the time of initial diagnosis, 75% of cases are diagnosed with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. In these patients, cancer recurrence and muscle invasiveness are more frequent if smoking continues after diagnosis. In cases of bladder cancer that has reached the muscle, there is a possibility of spreading to the body in the future in 50% of the cases following the surgical removal of the bladder. If patients diagnosed with bladder cancer that has reached the muscle and undergoing surgery continue to actively smoke, their treatment success decreases and their life expectancy is shortened. Studies show that the incidence of bladder cancer decreases with the early cessation of smoking.
One of the most common causes of kidney cancer among urological cancers is the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products. In patients diagnosed with kidney cancer, the mass or the entire kidney should be removed depending on the stage. The presence of concomitant diabetes and blood pressure diseases in some of these patients accelerates the patient’s progression to renal failure, together with kidney loss after surgery. Especially advanced-stage kidney cancers that have spread throughout the body shorten the life expectancy. If patients diagnosed with kidney cancer that has spread throughout the body continue to smoke actively, their treatment success decreases compared to those who quit smoking, and their life span is shortened.
One of the most common causes of Erectile Dysfunction, one of the urological diseases, is the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Smoking causes damage to the vessels of the penis, as in cardiovascular diseases, resulting in inability to initiate and/or maintain erection in patients. Erectile dysfunction is a condition that is seen in approximately half of men over the age of 50, the frequency of which increases with age. Studies have shown that men who have never smoked do not have erectile dysfunction at a significant rate compared to smokers. In a study published in the British Journal of Urology in 2022, it was stated that those who quit smoking have less erectile dysfunction than those who still smoke.
With the law that will come into effect in 2023 in New Zealand, it was decided to ban the sale of cigarettes for life to those 14 years old and under. With this law, it is aimed to minimize smoking-related diseases and to use billions of dollars of financial burden on the health system for the needs of the citizens. It should be aimed to ensure a healthy and quality life for the society by implementing the smoking ban in all countries and increasing the number of smoking cessation centers among existing smokers and encouraging them to be directed to these centers.