For many people, today is the beginning of a period of giving up various things, and on this day we also celebrate one of the greatest forms of giving up today – the Croatian Day of Non-Smoking. Today, on February 17, 2021, National No Tobacco Day is commemorated, while World No Tobacco Day is commemorated on May 31.

Adverse effects

Nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and many more are harmful substances found in cigarettes and can affect both the lungs and the whole body. Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients, and when they burn, more than 7,000 compounds are formed, many of which are toxic to our body. Of all these compounds, at least 69 were associated with tumour formation. In addition, tobacco addiction can occur and a severe form of addiction can easily develop. As for the negative effects on our body, the first to be hit is our respiratory system. Smoking can lead to a higher incidence of infections and various chronic conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

In addition to the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system is also under attack. Nicotine causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) which reduces blood flow, and over an extended period, along with damage to blood vessels, can also cause peripheral arterial disease. There is also high blood pressure, weakening of the blood vessel wall and an increased risk of blood clots. All of these effects, combined and subtracted, can lead to a heart attack.

Not only do we harm our health by smoking, but we also harm those around us. Exposure to secondhand smoke also carries risks that include heart attack and various heart diseases.

Good news?

The good news is that quitting smoking can undo many of the negative effects of cigarette smoke. Blood flow in the body returns to normal 2-12 weeks after smoking cessation, which reduces the feeling of physical exertion after physical activity and reduces the risk of heart attacks. After just 48 hours of quitting smoking, there can be an improved sense of taste and smell because cigarette smoke can dull the nerve endings in the nose and mouth. After one month, the addiction cycle is interrupted, due to the improved blood and oxygen flow, the immunity is improved and the risk of lung, oesophagal, kidney cancer is reduced … Worldwide, smoking causes more than 7 million deaths a year, and smoking is one of the leading preventable causes of death. Celebrating the day of non-smoking raises awareness of the importance of non-smoking and seeks to educate the public about the harmful consequences that smoking brings.

Translated by: Luka Nalo

Literature sources

Croatian Non-Smoking Day on Wednesday,, accessed 17.2.2021.

The Effects of Smoking on the Body,, accessed 17.2.2021.

Smoking & Tobacco Use,, accessed 17.2.2021.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking and a Quit Smoking Timeline,, accessed 17.2.2021.

Photography source

Image by klimkin from Pixabay