Each year more than 8 million people die worldwide from tobacco-related health complications. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tobacco use is known to be the major risk factor for many diseases, including cancers with high mortality - such as lung cancer, head, and neck cancer, etc. Smoking tobacco can also lead to chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The most prevalent form of tobacco use in India is smokeless tobacco and commonly used products are khaini, gutkha, betel quid with tobacco, and zarda. TheHealthSite.com spoke to Dr. Davinder Kundra on how tobacco is a major cause of concern among teenagers these days and the effects it has on them. Here's what the doctor wants you to know
Tobacco And Its Affect On Teenagers
With most tobacco users starting well before the age of 18, immature minds fail to oversee the long-term consequences of such usage and eventually succumb to either peer pressure or to gain the extra bit of "mood booster" to face anxious moments in life. The earlier this habit starts in life, the more difficult it is to quit.
Lung Cancer Among Youngsters
There is a rising number of lung cancer cases among youngsters these days. Ever wondered why? It is primarily due to smoking tobacco at an early age. One of the studies stated that most of the youngsters who are chain smokers are also at risk of developing lung cancer and the primary cause of the same is passive smoking. Passive smoking occurs when someone is in the vicinity of a smoker and inhales tobacco smokeunknowingly. It is mostly the children or ladies in the family who end up inhaling this secondhand smoke for several years and this chronic exposure to various carcinogens in the smoke results in gradual detrimental changes in their respiratory system.
It is Nicotine which is a significant contributor to the development and maintenance of the smoking habit. Nicotine is a psychoactive drug that triggers a cascade of the dopaminergic pathway in the reward areas of the brain and throughout the body, which can, in turn, reinforce tobacco use. For example, someone having his morning coffee with a cigarette would consider the association of the cigarette with coffee rewarding. Even short-term exposure to nicotine has been shown to induce long-lasting changes brain which may be an important early step in the path to addiction. The overwhelming property of nicotine that leads to its frequent use is the occurrence of nicotine withdrawal, for which cigarette smoke provides rapid relief.
These could be a mix of symptoms like craving for Nicotine, constipation, flu-like symptoms, mood swings, craving for snacking, and weight gain and in some, it could be an increase in cough (as our respiratory system undergoes course correction). These symptoms result in relapses.
In addition to the unique neurobiology of nicotine, the ready availability of tobacco influences the uptake of smoking as well as the development and maintenance of dependence. With illicit drugs, there are legal and social barriers. In contrast, a smoker is presented with nearly ubiquitous opportunities, easy availability, and frequent cues as in peer-group influences or someone they idolize is associated with tobacco usage.
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Benefits of quitting Tobacco
Substantial evidence indicates that smoking cessation reduces the risk of death from tobacco-related diseases. The benefits of quitting were largest in those who quit before middle age. Cessation before middle age avoids more than 90 percent of the lung cancer risk attributable to tobacco, with quitters possessing a pattern of survival similar to that of persons who have never smoked. The benefit of quitting tobacco was noted in chronic ailments like cardiovascular disease as well.
What can an individual do to Quit smoking-?
Step 1: Have a plan
Once you've made up your mind to quit smoking and set the date, develop a plan. There are free tools online at smokefree.gov and a toll-free number, 1-800-112-356, to help you succeed.
Step 2: Don't go it alone
It will be easier to quit smoking if you have support from family and friends. Let them know you've decided to quit, ask for their support, and tell them specifically what they can do to help. Spend time with people who want you to succeed. Talk to friends who have quit and ask for their advice. Taking formal counseling advice also helps
Step 3: Stay busy
Replace your smoking habit with a healthy habit like exercise. Make plans for dinner or a movie with non-smoking friends. Instead of smoking, chew sugarless gum it keeps your mouth busy and helps prevent cavities, too.
Step 4: Avoid smoking triggers
Stay away from people, places, and things that tempt you to smoke. Some common triggers include stress, alcohol, coffee, and hanging out with people who smoke. Throw out cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays, and go to places where smoking isn't allowed.
Step 5: Reward your accomplishments
Quitting is hard. And, every hour or day you go without a cigarette is an achievement. Take it hour by hour, and reward yourself for small successes.
Medical Help Should Be Considered As A Part of The Plan
Interventions by doctors/ Counsellors
This is a very important starting point in the journey of someone who wants to quit. A detailed discussion could help in making things formal.
Pharmacotherapy aims to reduce the intensity of withdrawal phenomena and probably works by reducing the frequency and/or intensity of the urge to smoke.
There are three pharmacotherapies currently licensed widely throughout the world for smoking cessation: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline.
There is a wide range of treatment options that have proven effective, including behavioural and pharmacological therapies. There is no single approach that should be emphasized to the exclusion of others because the therapies vary widely in their efficacy, acceptability, cost-effectiveness, and cost on an individual. So let's motivate people around us so that they can make their commitment to Quit Tobacco.