The menace of smoking and chewing tobacco…
In India, tobacco use claims over 10 Lakh lives annually, whereas nearly 50% of over 1 Million new cancer cases diagnosed annually are attributed to tobacco. These startling figures highlight the perilous situation caused by smoking cigarettes and beedis as well as chewing gutkha, zarda etc. As a result there is a high incidence of lung cancer, mouth cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma, COPD, respiratory disease etc.
The menace of tobacco usage has been well-recognised from decades and Central and State Governments, corporate sector, NGOs and other organisations have been working to curb tobacco addiction. However, the battle has not yet been won and it is necessary that the anti-smoking programmes are constantly improvised to achieve the dream of a smoke-free India.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and other anti-smoking means…
When cigarettes are smoked or gutkha is chewed, Nicotine from the tobacco enters bloodstream and stimulated the brain. Nicotine addiction is strong and difficult to break, which is why when smokers try to quit, Nicotine level in blood falls, leading to withdrawal symptoms like irritation, frustration, anxiety, depression, extreme craving for Nicotine etc. At this stage, willpower fails and the desire to quit falters.
Nicotine replacement therapy involves usage of Nicotine chewing gums, lozenges and patches which provide a source of Nicotine to the body, which is safer and healthier than cigarettes and Gurkha. They reduce the craving for smoking or chewing tobacco and gradually even the usage of the replacement products can be brought to zero.
It is essential that the tobacco user is highly motivated to quit smoking. Counselling for periods of up to 6 months by smoking cessation centres and NGOs has helped many to quit the habit. Avoid triggers such as alcohol, coffee and stress. Pop a chewing gum or drink a cup of tea during times like post-lunch, on waking up and while visiting toilet. Avoid cues like being with friends who smoke. Each diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps. Exercising, jogging and walking help you keep away from smoking.