BANGALORE: India’s multi-specialty chain of hospitals, Apollo Hospital organised a walkathon on Sunday morning to voice its concern against the universal killer, tobacco. The hospital organised this walkathon as part of their effort to spread awareness about cancer and to mark its support to the World No Tobacco Day. The walkers assembled in front of Apollo Hospital, at Bannerghatta Road, at 7.30 am armed with slogan boards appealing to people who smoke/consume tobacco in other forms to give it up. This noble initiative attracted people from all walks of life — people who have been subjected to second hand smoke and have suffered discomfort and helplessness. It was also joined by people who have had their share of puffing away their health and have now awoken to the perils of smoking. World No Tobacco Day is observed around the world every year on May 31. It is meant to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption across the globe. The day is further intended to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and its negative health effects.On the occasion Ravindra Pai, vice president of Healthcare Services and Operation, said, “Apollo Hospital pledges to create increased awareness about the ill effects of tobacco. We need to make it a combined effort, with complete support from the government, public health organisations, smokers, growers, and the tobacco industry. With latest cutting edge technology and unmatched levels of medical expertise, Apollo Hospital strives to fill life into every cancer patient who visits us.”Also commenting on the occasion, Dr Kumaresh Krishnamurthy, senior consultant, Head Oncology of Apollo Hospital said, “Smoking causes a variety of visible symptoms, including yellow teeth and leathery skin. More dangerous are the effects we can’t see, including an increase in the risk of many cancers, respiratory diseases, and heart disease. I appeal to every smoker to quit smoking and see how his/her health improves dramatically.”The effects of smoking on human health are serious and in many cases, deadly. The ingredients in cigarettes affect everything from the internal functioning of organs to the efficiency of the body’s immune system. The effects of cigarette smoking are destructive and widespread. Toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several different ways. Nicotine reaches the brain within ten seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk. Also, cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly. The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells. However, smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers.