The World Health Organizations (WHO) estimates that there are around one billion smokers worldwide, a number that is not expected to decline in the foreseeable future and will likely remain steady until 2025.
An international expert in medical oncology said the concerned organizations should adopt a more realistic approach to banish smokers from cigarettes using an effective scientific methodology.
Dr. David Khayat, a renowned professor of oncology and medical oncologist in France, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “smoke-free alternatives could deliver a 10-fold reduction in smoking-attributable deaths; however, they are not harm free,” noting that “non-contagious diseases are the leading cause of death in the Middle East, accounting for 72 percent of mortalities.”
He also said “some common practices such as online shopping, regular dining in restaurants and humid weather encourage a lazy lifestyle.”
“The fundamental approach we adopted over the three past decades essentially relied on chemotherapy and hormone interventions. But the scientific research and innovation led us to advanced, more precise alternatives like the targeted therapy and immunotherapy,” he said. Khayat hailed “the discovery of another cancer-fighting treatment that targets the mutating proteins by killing the cells that contain them. These proteins are believed to be the reason behind the ability of endless division that some cancerous cells have.”
The French oncologist said “it’s important to know that cancer survives through mutations and single-cell DNA repair turnovers, which could be fought with targeted therapies,” adding that “other newly-discovered treatment methods, including stereotactic radiotherapy (or radiosurgery) help destroy tumors with high precision.”
The oncology professor said “in 2016, two researchers from Japan and the US discovered why cells sleep. Cancer is so malignant that it secretes somnifera - a sleeping pill - into the white blood cells, which causes them to go dormant. Then, scientists developed an innovative new approach: immunotherapy, a treatment method that contains antibiotic drugs to prevent lymphocytes from becoming inactive. This solution has changed the diagnosis of many cancers, including those found in the lungs, stomach and skin.”
“Nicotine, although addictive, is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases such as cancer; smoking a cigarette means inhaling the smoke and the resulting burning ash, and this combustion process is the main reason behind many risks and toxins,” said Khayat.
Products that prevent combustion, such as electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco products and oral nicotine pouches, are “a less harmful alternative to conventional smoking.”
“While nicotine, the addictive substance, is still present in different levels in these alternatives, and thus does not make them completely risk-free, it is sufficient to shift smokers' interest away from inhaling cigarette smoke,” he concluded.