WHAT ARE THE ILL EFFECTS OF SMOKING AND HOW CAN I STOP SMOKING?
Smoking and tobacco-related health complications are the single largest cause of preventable, premature death. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use are responsible for over 400,000 deaths each year. Smoking causes a significant increase in the risk for cancer (lung, larynx, and esophagus), chronic bronchitis, and diseases of the heart and coronary arteries. In addition, smoking is a major contributory factor in the development of many other cancers.
A smokers not only causes an adverse effect on his own health but also impacts the health of others living / working around him. Prolonged ‘Passive Smoking’ is known to cause lung cancer in a ‘non-smoker’. Smoking by women, especially pregnant women is more dangerous. It has now been documented that smoking by woman during her pregnancy directly affects the growth and after birth health of the child. Even passive smoking by a woman during her pregnancy has serious consequences for the child in her womb.
Cigarette contains chemical such as tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine. The prime ingredients, tar and carbon monoxide are instigators of cardiovascular diseases and lung ailments. The cigarette’s third main component, nicotine, affects the heart, lungs and stomach. There is definite evidence that this chemical affects the brain adversely in various ways.
Chewing tobacco and using snuff also dramatically increase your risk for cancers of the mouth and throat. A smoker’s baby is more likely to be a victim of cot death and, in childhood, suffers more respiratory infections, glue ear and asthma.
Nicotine addiction and the resultant withdrawal symptoms are the main hindrance in quitting smoking. Smokers can successfully quit if they understand how to deal with their nicotine addiction. Support of the family members and friends of smokers is very important. Smokers should:
- learn a relaxation technique to cope with their stress
- get support from health professionals
- Get family and friends support
- change the behaviour and habits that are associated with smoking.
Most long-term smokers are addicted to nicotine and will experience a craving to smoke and withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop smoking. Such individuals find it very difficult to give up their smoking habit. They, with the help of health professionals can make use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to quit smoking. But the majority of smokers can give up without any help from health professionals or drug therapy.
WHAT STEPS DO I NEED TO TAKE BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO QUIT SMOKING?
A smoker needs to understand the likely affects of quitting smoking before deciding to do so. He / she must:
- Make a resolution to give up smoking.
- Think about why you want to quit and the benefits of quitting.
- Set a definite time to quit. Let it be today not the next day!
- Think ahead, how you are going to cope with craving or withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
- Visualise a change in your usual routine to avoid temptation and high-risk situations.
- Get all the support you can, from your loved ones.
- Understand that breaking habits take time and need regular practice.
- Even if you fail once do not give up- START AFRESH.
Be aware that there will be a constant temptation to go back and chances of a relapse. Think about the effort that has already been put in and don’t look back.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO CONTROL THE URGE TO SMOKE?
Nicotine in tobacco causes a craving in the smoker, more so when he / she sees other smokers. To control that craving:
- Call or e-mail a friend who does not smoke or has quit smoking
- Throw out all the reminders of cigarettes, especially lighters and ashtrays.
- Go for a brisk walk
- Take a hot bath or shower
- Chew on something or eat a healthy snack
- Drink a glass of water or milk
- Go to the gym or the pool
- Avoid such situations and certain people, who give you a temptation to smoke
- Go for a play or sporting event
- Buy a bouquet of flowers and really enjoy their fragrance
- Join an anti smokers group
- KEEP BUSY AND TRY TO BE IN THE COMPANY OF YOUR SUPPORT GROUP
The good news is that once you quit, your body begins healing itself almost immediately. This includes a reduction in your risk for cancer, heart attack, and stroke. If you also begin exercising and eating better, the improvements will be even more dramatic. There are many benefits of quitting smoke like more stamina for work and play, Whiter teeth and fresher breath, Decreasing risk of serious illnesses and saving YOUR MONEY.
The longer you don’t use tobacco, the more your confidence will grow and the less likely you are to slip back to your old habits.