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SMOKING: the 21st Epidemic Disease


It is smoking, the inveterate disease, that will kill more than one thousand million people this century.  Let us diagnose the disease and the course of treatment, and whether there is a ‘creative’ way to stop smoking?

The World Health Organization says that smoking kills one person every six and a half seconds somewhere in the world; this is either because of direct smoking or negative smoking when accompanying smokers.  According to recent diagrams, smoking is responsible for killing one person out of five people who suffer from cancer or around 1.4 million death cases around the world every year.

In the following paragraphs we will talk about the latest articles and researches about the danger of smoking.  I will end up this article with a very easy approach for smokers to follow in order to give up this epidemic disease.  And if you are not a smoker, praise Allah the Almighty that He saved you from this harm.   

Before we begin, we would like to mention that the latest international statistics emphasizes on the fact that more than 1 ¼ billion people on earth are smokers, and that the estimated number of deaths caused by smoking is about 5 million people every year.

Latest studies and scientific surveys on smoking

In the annual conference held in Chicago (2003), Dr. John Saffrin from the American Cancer Society mentioned that: smoking is the only mass destruction weapon that threatens humanity all around the world. The society’s manager, Dr. Paul Bonin, said: Our final goal is a world free of tobacco and smoking. According to documented statistics, smoking caused 1/3 of the deaths in cancer! A study prepared by the mentioned society pointed that 30 million people join the smokers every year, and experts expect that half of that will die because of smoking.


An American Scientific team reached a scientific evidence about the cancerous nicotine which was not considered cancerous not long time ago due to lack of enough evidence.  The team, led by Professor Srikumar Chellappan from West Florida University, discovered that the human body contains receptors for nicotine (the scientific name for it is nACHRs) and these receptors are found in the cancerous lung cells, they are the key used by nicotine to increase the cancer growth, hence nicotine has become known to be ‘cancerous substance’, and it is the first of its kind to be categorised like that.

Scientific studies indicate that the age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) that affects the retina, which is incurable in most cases, can affect smokers more.  The General Health expert in Manchester University, Richard Edwards, says in an article published in the British Scientific Journal: smokers are more at risk to be affected by diseases that may lead to blindness 4 times more than those non-smokers.  Surveys show that there is one smoker out of 5 who are affected by AMD, the total number of people affected because of smoking reached 54000, 18000 people out of that number became blind.

A scientific study assured that there is a strong relation between smoking and the increased percentage of heart attacks in young people who are in their thirties and not only for elderly people as was believed earlier.  A scientific study showed that smokers in the age group of 35 – 39 are 5 times more at risk to heart attack than non-smokers of the same age group.

In a study presented in Tobacco Control Journal, it was found that continuous smoking is the only important factor that causes the sharp heart attack in young people.  Researchers found that the percentage of a dangerous heart attack occurrence in males in the age group 35 – 39 reached 5 times, while it reached 5 ½ time in females at the same age group.  According to the study, 80% of the affected people were smokers.  The good news for smokers is that once smoking is given up the general health for that person can improve, and the possibilities that he may be affected by a heart attack reduces rapidly!!!

Smoking has a negative impact on both the pregnant woman and her fetus.  A specialised study by the Science of Growth and Anthropology specialist assured that the passive smoking is a threat to the mother during pregnancy and after birth; it also has a negative influences on the growth of fetus and on the nutrition states for babies who are just born.  The Study advised pregnant women to avoid places of smoking for the sake of both their health and their babies’, and also to protect the babies from malnutrition and body weakness that may lead to death sometimes.


A new study showed that smoking may cause harm to the fetus during its growth, and all of this may increase the possibility of having cancer at childhood or teenager age. In addition to that, it has a negative influence on the mother during pregnancy and after birth.  Studies showed that passive smoking affect the girls more than the boys, a recent study assures that smoking one cigarette up to 4 cigarettes per day for adults increases the risk of heart diseases death for both sexes, and the risk of lung cancer for women (Tobacco Control Journal).

Passive smoking becomes more harmful for mothers who exceeds the age of 30.  A study published in the (American Medical Association) confirmed the spread of sudden death symptoms for new born babies if their parents were smokers.  Passive smoking also increases the possibility of having respiratory diseases for children before the school age; it also increases the possibility of having heart diseases that reaches the rate of 50%, hence, increase the risk of Angina due to the increase damage of the cells in the heart muscle because of carbon monoxide and nicotine.

Experts also mentioned that certain parts of the chromosomes were more affected by the tobacco, which lead to blood cancer (leukaemia). This may explains the relationship between smoking during pregnancy and what is called ‘blood whitening’ (leukaemia) in children. 


Dr. David DeMarnini from the International Environment Agency says: such results will provide direct and definite evidence about the effect of tobacco on genes, hence, helping to predict health problems that the child may have on the long term whose mother is a smoker.  Earlier studies showed possibilities of DNA damage because of smoking during pregnancy but was not supported by enough evidence.  A new study proved that smoking between 1 – 4  cigarettes per day increases the risk of heart diseases and lung cancers 3 times, and that women are the most affected when it comes to lung cancer.  The Smoking woman is at risk of lung cancer 5 times the non-smokers.

Dr. MARCUS MUNAFÒ from the Researches of General Medicine, part of Cancer Research UK Fund, did a research published in the Biosocial Science Journal, and was able to find the first scientific evidence to assure that smoking reduces fertility in a woman, and hence in giving birth.  The study showed that smoking women who try to give birth need more time to fertilize their eggs compared to non-smoking women.  However, it showed that these women can have better fertility chances once they give up smoking.  The Study shows that smoking woman needs on average longer time, can reach two months, to get fertilized if compared to non-smokers.

An American study that lasted 15 years and had 4572 participants also mentioned that passive smoking increases the risk of becoming diabetic.  The study that was published in the British Medical Journal mentioned that the poisons accompanied to smoking cigarettes can affect the Pancreas which produces insulin and regulates the sugar in blood.  Passive smokers are exposed to poisons like the smokers themselves.  However, some poisonous substances are more concentrated in the passive smoking.


Researchers in Deaconess Medical Centre in Buston in the USA found out that each smoked cigarette can increase the risk of having heart attack! One of the well-known facts is that continuous smoking increases the risk of heart diseases on the long term, the new discovery however, is that the researches found out now that there are risks for smoking on the short term too, which is the increased risk of having heart diseases, the reason for that is because each cigarette has an effect on the heart system.  Amanda Standford from Anti-smoking organization says that this study indicates the importance of giving up smoking especially for those who suffer from heart diseases.  Smoking is like gambling, even worse, the more you have from it, the more harm you get from it. We all know that smokers have double the risk for having heart diseases than others!

A scientific research made in Saint Helen Hospital in Liverpool in Britain assures that smoking 20 cigarettes or more per day for long time makes the smoker at risk of Rheumarthritis. The research indicates that people who smoked for a period of 40 – 50 years are at risk of Rheumarthritis 13 times more than others!!


Smoking kills the brain cells: scientists discovered the first immediate evidence that smoking causes damage of the brain cells, and also stops other cells from reproducing (the Journal of Neuroscience).  The World Health Organization explained that the expected number of smokers by 2025 is 1.7 billion people around the world compared to 1.3 billion today.  A medical study in 50 continuous years, where different sections of smokers and non-smokers were supervised across the UK, showed that the average life span for smokers decreased 10 years compared to other non-smokers (The British Medical Journal).

Studies showed that people who gave up smoking in their thirties can now relax because their risk of cancer in later stages of their lives is reduced.  For those who give up smoking in their 50’s, however, the study shows that they can be at risk of cancer at the rate of 50%.  The study that practically was held in 1951 included the observation of the health status for more than 34 thousands people all around the UK.


The new study showed that lung cancer will not show immediately, but the risk of having the disease increases in the course of time.  It was showed also that the children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are 3.6 times more at risk of having the disease. It was mentioned that the passive smoking on daily basis for children increases their risk of having the diseases than others.  Dr. Marcus says that the danger of smoking during pregnancy is known and documented, and it includes an increase rates in the death for new born babies, increased rates in inflammation of the respiratory system, and weight loss during delivery.

The American doctors say that the latest researches showed a relationship between smoking and many diseases that were not known to be related to this bad habit.  General Dr. Richard Carmona provided a list of new diseases that are thought to be related to smoking which includes leukaemia and other cancers including cervix, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, bladder, oesophagus, larynx, lungs, and mouth.  In addition to that, other diseases include eye diseases and anaemia.  The traditional diseases related to smoking are diseases of the heart and lungs and fertility problems.

The American surgeon Richard Carmona assured that the inhalation of any amount of tobacco smoked by others (passive smoking) cause health problems.  He says: the debate about this issue has been settled and the scientific data have become definite. Passive smoking is not only an annoying habit, but also a true health threat. Ten thousands of people die every year because of passive smoking; this is proven by a recent report of 670 pages long.


It is believed that smoking has an influence on hardening the arteries. When the capillaries of the pelvis narrow, the blood flow to the male sexual organ stops, smoking can narrow the arteries in the male sexual organ itself.  American scientists say that male smokers, who suffer from blood pressure, are at risk of impotency 26 times more than non-smokers.  Old time smokers, who used to suffer from high blood pressure, are at risk of impotency 11 times more than non-smokers. According to the statistics provided by Dr. Godfrey Fawler from the Primary Health Care department in Oxford University in the UK, there are approximately 100,000 men whose ages between 30 – 40, suffer from impotency due to smoking in the UK.

Based on California University researchers, the BMC journal, which is specialized in cells biology, mentioned that the impact of passive smoking on people is similar to the impact that smoking does on the smoker himself.  The study discovered that passive smoking may reduce the time required to heal an injury.  The researchers explained that the cells become more contingent because smoking changes their chemical structure.  In addition to the slow down of injury healing, smoking can cause the appearance of unusual scars in passive smokers, where cells are concentrated at the injury edge to prevent it from healing properly. These tissues are very sensitive to any outside effect, if it touches any outside substance, it will stop growing.

Islam morale in treating this phenomenon

Despite the many regulations and the random acts of the western world, it is still unable to reach a treatment for this phenomenon.   While Islam treated this phenomenon from the time it appeared.  Islam forbad the harming according to the great rule of (there should be no harming nor reciprocal harming) and smoking cause harm to the smoker, society, and environment.

Smoking is similar to some drugs that make a man looses full control over himself, and Islam forbad anything that leads to restlessness of the self.  Smoking is suicide in a slow motion and Islam forbad suicide and killing the self ‘and do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you’ (An-Nisa: 29). Smoking is a kind of destruction that is forbidden by Islam ‘And spend in the Cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al Muhsinin (the good–doers)’ (Al-Baqarah: 195).

So instructions from the Quran and Sunnah are enough for the believers to obey the orders of Allah the Almighty and give up smoking, while the western scientists are still giving warnings and spending billions of dollars to fight smoking with no benefit at all.  Islam is the religion that calls for goodness and happiness for humanity.


Smoking causes 50 certain diseases: in an article published by the Daily Mail, researchers assured that smoking may cause more than 50 serious diseases including lung cancer, skin cancer, mouth cancer, heart disorders, high blood pressure, and stroke.  The new study showed a relationship between smoking and hair loss or baldness! And studies assure that there is definite scientific evidence that passive smoking causes heart diseases, lung cancer, and a list of other diseases.  The report called for making buildings and public places ‘No Smoking’ areas, pointing to the fact that allocating special places for smokers does not give full protection to non-smokers.

Practical step to give up smoking

1.         The desire to make a change is the first most important step to give up smoking ‘Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah)’ (Ar-Ra’d:11). You have to change your perception about smoking and view it as an epidemic disease that should be overcome.

2.         Sincere Supplication to Allah: and this is what I did when I gave up smoking. I used to pray and supplicate to Allah the Almighty to help me give up smoking. And Praise to Allah, only then I started to hate this habit and it was the first step towards quitting smoking.  I surely believed that everything was in the hands of Allah the Almighty ‘And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is able to do all things’ (Al-An’am:17).  This harm can only be removed by Allah the Almighty.

3.         Avoiding being with smokers as much as possible, and having the attempt to give up completely, and repeating the attempts because some attempts of quitting may fail so it is important to keep trying and do not say ‘I tried and failed’ instead say ‘I will keep trying until Allah the Almighty takes away this harm.

4.         Addiction is just an illusion! Do not think you are unable to give up this bad habit.  It is very easy to quit smoking but with trust in Allah and having the initiation to consider the Quran carefully, memorize it, contemplate it, and read it more often.  Remember the hadeeth of the prophet peace be upon him: ‘It is who leaves something for Allah’s sake, Allah rewards him something better’.  This is what happened with me as I was a smoker one day and when I decided to quit for Allah’s sake, Allah the Almighty rewarded me with something better which is the Quran.  Is there anything better than being rewarded to memorize the Quran?


By: Abduldaem Al-Kaheel



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