Washington D.C.: Today, people spend huge sums of money to be in good health, but all their efforts go in vain with a single cigarette they light to blow away the stress or just to be in company.
Smokers and tobacco chewers find a great association with the term 'addiction', which makes their efforts to quit, totally fruitless!
May 31 marks the 'World No Tobacco Day' which was initially started in 1987, to raise awareness and bring attention towards the Tobacco Epidemic.
This year's theme 'tobacco and lung health' might sound conventional, but finds a great significance today when air pollution is setting its roots. Every cigarette is a step closer to impairing your lungs.
According to WHO, India is home to 12 per cent of the world's smokers. More than 10 million people die every year due to tobacco-related illnesses. On an estimate one person die because of tobacco-related death every 6 seconds.
Doctors and health enthusiasts keep spreading the word on how to quit smoking, but persuasion can't do the job alone. For individuals who believe it's late, it's never too late to START!
Dr Rimjhim Saran Bhatnagar, Consultant Dental Surgeon & Oral Oncologist, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research explains that quitting is not a one day task, but it has to be altered considering one's habits and needs.
"A good quit plan addresses both short-term challenges of quitting the habit and long-term challenges of relapse. The quit plan should also be tailored to one's specific needs and smoking habits. It's a movement which needs a START!
S = Set a quit date.
Choose a date so that you have enough time to prepare without losing motivation. If you smoke at work, quit on the weekends.
T - Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.
Tell them you need their encouragement to quit. Get in touch with a quit buddy who too wants to quit. You can push each other in rough times.
A = Anticipate & plan for the challenges you'll face
Relapse/ loss happen with 1st 3 months of quitting! So prepare ahead for common challenges like nicotine withdrawal and cigarette cravings.
R = Remove cigarettes & other tobacco products from your home, car, work
Throw away cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and matches. Spruce your space to do away the smell of smoke.
T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit
Your doctor can counsel you, prescribe medications (nicotine patches, lozenges and gums), to help you quit and take care of withdrawal symptoms."
While quitters often look forward to e-cigarettes as a potential help in ending their cravings, it might still have some nicotine resulting in harm.
Dr. Nalin Joshi, MD, RUJ Hospital has helped more than 5000 people in quitting smoking, said, "The e-cigarettes that are easily available in growing cafe culture also have nicotine which is harming health and is habit making."
He shares other possible options that individuals can look up for in the market, "The new-age different products that are available in market to quit smoking include:
1. Nicotine gum
2. Nicotine inhaler
3. Nicotine nasal spray and sublingual nicotine tablet
4. Transdermal nicotine patch
5. Nicotine lozenges
These products are not the sole solution but providing regular counseling backed up by experts employing techniques like setting up quitting date and frequent clinic visits are advisable."
"Tobacco contains more than 200 harmful chemicals including tar and nicotine that are carcinogenic and cause cancer of mouth, throat, lung, and bladder," said Dr Rahul Sharma, Metro Centre for Respiratory Diseases, Metro Hospital.
He added that for those willing to quit the tobacco, counselling can prove to be of great help, "Person who wants to quit tobacco can take help of chest specialist who provides appropriate counselling and guidance regarding management of withdrawal."
"There are about 25 per cent patients who still crave for smoke even after gums and patches, and these can be treated with oral medications which will help to quit," he added.
While smoking has become a regular thing for people, but for some, it still comes as an urge at certain times- with a drink or after a meal.
Dr Seema Sharma, Senior Consultant, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh shares some tips to avoid these common triggers.
"Many people smoke when they drink. Try switching to non-alcoholic drinks or drink only in places where smoking inside is prohibited. Try snacking on nuts or healthy alternatives."
She continued, "For some, ending a meal means lighting up, and the prospect of giving that up may appear daunting. Try replacing it with a piece of fruit, a healthy dessert, a square of chocolate, or a stick of gum."
While it might seem uneasy and hard but this World No Tobacco Day, let's pledge to finally say goodbye to tobacco.