"Raise tobacco tax, lower death, and disease". The global tobacco epidemic kills 6 million people each year, of which more than 6 lakh are non-smokers, who die from passive smoking i.e.involuntary inhalation of smoke from other people's cigarettes.
According to the report published by Anti-Tobacco Cell-WHO, India Is the second-largest producer and consumer of tobacco after China, with 275 million tobacco users. Around 85% of oral cancer cases are due to the use of tobacco products like khaini, zarda, bidis, gutkha, and cigarettes.
Signs and symptoms of lung damage:
Feeling out of breath when walking up a short flight of stairs, coughing, spitting up mucous, and repeat chest infections are signs of damage to the lungs due to smoking. Smoking not only damages the lungs but also puts the smoker at high risk for many other serious diseases, including cancer.
Reasons to quit smoking:
* The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day and the number of years he/she has smoked. Quitting at any age can significantly lower the risk of developing lung cancer.
* It increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers caused due to passive smoking.
* Quitting smoking also reduces the chances of having a heart attack, stroke, emphysema, and other lung diseases.
* You will be able to climb stairs and walk without getting out of breath.
* You will be free from morning cough and frequent spitting of mucous.
* You will have more energy to pursue physical activities.
* You will have better-smelling clothes and breath.
Benefits of Quitting smoking over time
After 20 minutes: Blood pressure drops a bit.
After 8 hours: Carbon monoxide gas in the bloodstream drops to half. Oxygen levels return to normal.
After 48 hours: All nicotine in the body is excreted. The sense of taste and smell return to a normal level.
After 72 hours: The bronchioles relax. Energy levels increase.
After 2 weeks: Blood circulation increases and will continue to improve for the next 8-10 weeks.
From 3-9 months: Breathing problems, coughing, and wheezing will disappear gradually. The lung capacity will improve by 10-20 %.
After 1 year: The risk of heart attack will be reduced to half.
After 5 years: The risk of stroke will be similar to that of a non-smoker.
After 10 years: The risk of lung cancer as well as other cancers will decrease significantly.
After 15 years: The risk of heart diseases will be similar to that of a non-smoker.
How to quit smoking:
Educate yourself: The moment a small thought of quitting smoking crosses your mind, start educating yourself with the ill-effects of smoking, benefits of quitting, alternatives to tobacco, etc. If the educational resources are not available to you, consult the doctor, or any social worker in your area.
Make a plan to quit: By creating a plan which fits your lifestyle, you're more likely to quit smoking. Some important steps are :
-Set a date to quit smoking which should be mostly in the next 7 days.
-Choose a method to quit (either immediate cessation of gradual quitting).
-Decide if any help is required from family, friends, and physicians. Disclose your plan of quitting and make them aware of symptoms that may arise in the initial stage of cessation.
-Prepare for your quit day. Make a plan for dealing with cravings and urges. Few easy methods include drinking water, calling or texting friends, going for a ride at places which does not allow smoking, listening to music, exercise, chew sugar-free mints, or gums. If the cessation causes depression take help from a medical practitioner.
-Quit on the day which is set by you.
7)Executives Should add these tests in their Executive Health Package.
Ms. Rajkumari Sahane. M.Pharm.
The writer is Research Associate in Pharmacology and is an academician with 15 years of research & teaching experience