Smoking is Not Cool!
As much as anyone may show off or feel in their head, Smoking is a toxic habit that enslaves you and does not make you Look Cool.
Who is a Smoker?
Many People who smoke regularly do not consider themselves to be Regular Smokers. Everyone believes that they just smoke Occasionally. For some, that occasionally is 1 cigarette a day and for some, it is 1 Pack a Day. But both of these Practices are Hardcore addictions irrespective of what you might believe. Even a few cigarettes a week is an addition. Non Smokers can only be those who never smoke or smoked in their life and occasional is when you smoke a puff less than once every 90-100 days. But that does not happen, as Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known and it does not let you ever stay an occasional smoker. You are either addicted or you are a non-smoker fully and completely.
Besides this, Smoking is Also Passive. Means those who are sitting around you are also passively smoking 1/3rd of what you smoke. If you smoke 3 cigarettes a day, then anyone who is sitting in your company all that time, be it your children, family or work colleagues are also passively smoking 1 cigarette a day.
Let’s talk about some other ill effects caused by smoking :
First and foremost there are no safe substances in any tobacco products. From acetone and tar to nicotine and carbon monoxide. The substances you inhale are toxins and damage the cells in your lungs in addition to causing other long-term changes. Tobacco smoke is incredibly harmful to your health. A Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients, many of which can also be found in cigars and hookahs. When these ingredients burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals, Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them are linked to cancer.
Here is a List of Effects this Addiction has on your Body:
- Mood Stimulation: Smoking can put a person in a good mood temporarily, but then he/she becomes addicted and dependent on it which can cause some withdrawal side effects like anxiety & irritability. It is due to a substance called Nicotine through which one gets addicted to smoking. It is found in Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and almost all e-cigarette. It is highly addictive and harmful. It is normally smoked in cigarettes but can lead to further drugs misuse also.
- Foul Smell & Untidy Conditions: Tobacco Smoke can stick to your hair & clothes which can make them smell.
- Poor Oral hygiene & Bone Health: Yellowish & Brownish Stains on teeth are the signs of long-term smoking which can also lead to inflammation and infections in teeth and bones.
- Bronchitis & COPD: It is an inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs. Symptoms of bronchitis include coughing up thickened mucus and shortness of breath. People who smoke, are likely to develop this infection in their bodies and even those who are around the smokers can be the victims as well and especially children through second hand smoke. That means, inhaling the smoke spread by the smokers. Other respiratory problems such as pneumonia & tuberculosis may worsen by smoking as well. It also leads to persistent coughing. COPD is Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow which can be caused by smoking.
- Heart Disease & High Cholesterol: People who smoke have more chances to suffer from heart diseases than non-smokers & also it raises our LDL cholesterol (bad kind of cholesterol) and lowers the good one HDL. Also, smoking can increase our overall cholesterol levels and triglycerides which are fats in our blood.
- Erectile Dysfunction & Infertility: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It’s also sometimes referred to as impotence. Erection requires adequate blood flow but smoking can constrict our blood vessels & hinder the process. Constriction of blood vessels & restricted blood flow caused by nicotine can also increase the risk of developing stroke, hypertension (High Blood Pressure) & heart attacks. Also, men & women both who smoke have more fertility issues than non-smokers.
- Diabetes: Smoking can also lead to insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone which maintains our blood glucose or sugar level. It is responsible for transporting glucose to our cells for energy. In insulin resistance, insulin is secreted in higher levels by beta cells in pancreas than required thus, it can’t play it’s role properly and glucose (simplest form of sugar and simplest form of breakdown of food) ends up entering into our bloodstream instead of getting absorbed by the cells and leads to diabetes. People who are diabetic and smoke, have the possibility to develop more diseases like CVD, Kidney problems, eye problems etc. & worsen their health.
- Blood Clotting Disorders: Smoking can increase clotting in our body. Blood clots raise the risk of heart damage & strokes.
- Early Menopause: Smoking has caused menopause in women earlier than the normal period of getting it occurred.
- Pregnancy problems & Risk for Newborns: Women who smoke during pregnancy, of course, ruin their health but also do the same with their baby growing inside who can suffer from oxygen deprivation, asthma, ear infections, growth problems, physical deformities & sudden infant death syndrome as well.
- Loss of Appetite: Smoking can decrease appetite by decreasing the sense of taste which makes food less enjoyable and also leads to starvation as well which can reduce our immunity as well due to lack of nutrients and that is when we are prone to suffer from infections and several diseases where our immune system is unable to fight against the unhealthy bacteria entering inside our body.
- Yellow Fingers & Wrinkly Skin: Smokers get yellow fingers & nails due to stains of tobacco products & also it can cause dryness & premature aging on the skin. Making us look ugly definitely!
- Types Of Cancer: Smoking can cause Cervical Cancer in Women. The cervix is the lower part of a woman’s uterus. Other Smoking-related cancers are of mouth, throat, kidneys, bladder, blood etc.
- Undue and unpleasant Nuisance to those around you who do not Smoke.
- Harmful effects on your immediate family members and those who live around you.
There are approximately 120 million smokers in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. More than 1 million die each year due to tobacco in India. According to a 2002 WHO estimate, 30% of adult males in India smoke. Among adult females, the figure is much lower at between 3–5%. About 24% of children under the age of 16 years (10th class) have used some form of tobacco in the past, and 14% are still using tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco is more prevalent than cigarettes or bidis in India.
Almost every age group in India has been getting indulged into the practice of smoking. From teenagers to adults & from adults to old aged.
How to Quit Smoking?
If you have reached here than you probably are considering to take over and control your desire to smoke and Quit this menace once and forever. Deciding to Quit is the first and most Appreciable Step. But actually quitting shows Strength, Determination, and Victory over your Mind, body and Soul.
It is not an easy task once you are habituated to that Kick of Nicotine. The first day is the toughest, then the first week. But you cannot Say that you have really Quit Smoking till you Pass a MINIMUM of 90 days at a stretch without a Single Puff. Yes, 90 days. If you are taking the occasional Sip now and then, it means you are just waiting to fall back in the same pit anytime.
It is understandable that you cannot quit this habit all of a sudden, it is a slow and gradual process of tapering, reducing the number of cigarettes to finally quitting 100% , but with resolve, determination and Motivation, anything can be achieved.
So, Before we understand about the steps to quit smoking, it’s important to understand the side effects of quitting smoking suddenly especially if you are habituated to a pack or more a day.
Nicotine withdrawal begins quickly, usually starting within an hour of the last cigarette and peaking two to three days later. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks and differ from person to person.
Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Cigarette cravings
- Irritability, frustration, or anger
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased appetite
- Increased coughing
- Constipation or upset stomach
- Decreased heart rate
As unpleasant as these withdrawal symptoms may be, it’s important to remember that they are only temporary. They will get better in a few weeks as your body starts getting that kick, focus and reward from other sources other then nicotine like exercise, Good food or anything depending on person to person.
But In the meantime, you can let your friends and family know that you won’t be your usual self and ask for their understanding.
TIPS to Quit Smoking
from your Lifestyle for Good:
Prepare Your Mind :
- When you think of quitting smoking, it is the best thought you can ever get in mind. So, prepare yourself mentally first, sit alone & make yourself motivated.
- You can take a sudden step by not smoking ever in life if you think you are that strong. Or else, You can make Slow & Gradual changes by reducing the number of cigarette consumption day by day and then eliminating it one day completely.
- Make the most important Promise to yourself.
- Tell people around you that are quitting smoking, so that they keep reminding you of your promise as well. Remember, that the ones who worry about us, take care of us. When we don’t feel strong, They make us strong.
- Remove cigarettes from everywhere you go & everything you use. Your room, car, furniture etc.
Identify your smoking triggers & Keep a Record :
- One of the best things you can do to help yourself quit is to identify the things that make you want to smoke, including specific situations, activities, feelings, and people.
- Note the moments in each day when you crave a cigarette: Like at what time, while what you do, who do you smoke with, how do you feel while & after smoking etc.
- Slowly & gradually, try to make yourself busy with some other activity, stay away from such people who make or force you to smoke, the ones who smoke but don’t force you, ask them to stop & motivate them, if they don’t listen stay away again. As second hand smoke might affect you as well as you might get the useless craving for smoking again.
- The feeling you get after smoking, try to find that feeling you can get by doing some other activity. Make some friends who are already not into these habits, play with them, spend some time with your family if you haven’t been doing that, go for travelling & explore the new places & different variety of culture.
- You will surely realize that world is really bigger than just smoking & so beautiful unlike the bad habits. You will find yourself somewhere else and your source of happiness will be something else & positive too.
Exercise & Meditation :
- Many of us smoke to manage unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, and anxiety. When you have a bad day, it can seem like cigarettes are your only friend. As much comfort as cigarettes provides, though, it’s important to remember that there are healthier and more effective ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, relaxation strategies, or simple breathing exercises.
- Manage Cigarette Cravings: While avoiding smoking triggers will help reduce your urge to smoke, you probably can’t avoid cigarette cravings entirely. Fortunately, cravings don’t last long—typically, about 5 or 10 minutes. If you’re tempted to light up, remind yourself that the craving will soon pass and try to wait it out. It helps to be prepared in advance by having strategies to cope with cravings.
- Distract yourself. Do the dishes, turn on the TV, take a shower, or call a friend. The activity doesn’t matter as long as it gets your mind off smoking.
- Remind yourself why you quit. Focus on your reasons for quitting, including the health benefits (lowering your risk for heart disease and lung cancer, for example), improved appearance, money you’re saving, and enhanced self-esteem.
- Get out of a tempting situation. Where you are or what you’re doing may be triggering the craving. If so, a change of scenery can make all the difference.
- Reward yourself. Reinforce your victories. Whenever you triumph over a craving, give yourself a reward to keep yourself motivated.
- Find an oral substitute – Keep other things around to pop in your mouth when cravings hit. Try mints, carrot or celery sticks, gum, or sunflower seeds. Or suck on a drinking straw.
- Keep your mind busy – Read a book or magazine, listen to some music you love, do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, or play an online game.
- Keep your hands busy – Squeeze balls, pencils, or paper clips are good substitutes to satisfy that need for tactile stimulation.
- Brush your teeth – The just-brushed, clean feeling can help banish cigarette cravings.
- Drink water – Slowly drink a large glass of water. Not only will it help the craving pass, but staying hydrated helps minimize the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
- Light something else – Instead of lighting a cigarette, light a candle or some incense.
- Get active – Go for a walk, do some jumping jacks or pushups, try some yoga stretches, or run around the block.
- Try to relax – Do something that calms you down, such as taking a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, or practicing deep breathing exercises.
- Go somewhere smoking is not permitted – Step into a public building, store, mall, coffee shop, or movie theatre, for example.
Smoking cessation medications can ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. They are most effective when used as part of a comprehensive stop smoking program monitored by your physician. Talk to your doctor about your options and whether an anti-smoking medication is right for you.
- Nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy involves “replacing” cigarettes with other nicotine substitutes, such as nicotine gum, patch, lozenge, inhaler, or nasal spray. It relieves some of the withdrawal symptoms by delivering small and steady doses of nicotine into your body without the tars and poisonous gases found in cigarettes. This type of treatment helps you focus on breaking your psychological addiction and makes it easier to concentrate on learning new behaviors and coping skills.
- Non-nicotine medication. These medications help you stop smoking by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms without the use of nicotine. Medications such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix, Champix) are intended for short-term use only.
There are several things you can do to stop smoking that doesn’t involve nicotine replacement therapy, vaping, or prescription medications. These include:
- Hypnosis – This is a popular option that has produced good results for many smokers struggling to quit. Forget anything you may have seen from stage hypnotists, hypnosis works by getting you into a deeply relaxed state where you are open to suggestions that strengthen your resolve to stop smoking and increase your negative feelings toward cigarettes.
- Acupuncture – One of the oldest known medical techniques, acupuncture is believed to work by triggering the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers) that allow the body to relax. As a smoking cessation aid, acupuncture can be helpful in managing smoking withdrawal symptoms.
- Behavioral Therapy – Nicotine addiction is related to the habitual behaviors or rituals involved in smoking. Behavior therapy focuses on learning new coping skills and breaking those habits.
- Motivational Therapies – Self-help books and websites can provide a number of ways to motivate yourself to give up smoking. One well-known example is calculating the monetary savings. Some people have been able to find the motivation to quit just by calculating how much money they will save. It may be enough to pay for a summer vacation.
Prevent Weight Gain after Quitting Smoking :
Smoking acts as an appetite suppressant, so gaining weight is a common concern for many of us when we decide to give up cigarettes. You may even be using it as a reason not to quit. While it’s true that many smokers put on weight within six months of stopping smoking, the gain is usually small.
Also, Nicotine stimulates gut movement so Some people have this feeling of improves gut motility and relief from constipation because of smoking, but the risks of this method far outweigh the benefits. There are other healthier ways to overcome constipation and other gut disorders, which we will soon discuss in upcoming articles on health and wellness.
Hope this Segment on Smoking helped you gain more insight into the area.
For more Info and Guidance on How to Quit Smoking, You can Consult one of our Physicians as well.
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Edited & Reviewed by:
Dr. Rohit Sharma
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