Tobacco smoking can be a hard habit but you can kick it off. People consume tobacco by smoking cigarettes, bidi, or pipes; chewing tobacco with lime or betel, and directly as Pan masala or Zarda. But tobacco smoking is catching up very fast in developed countries; people have started realizing the ill effects of smoking on health.

Statutory warnings and anti-smoking campaigns have been launched in many countries to curb the menace of smoking. Restricting the sale of tobacco to minor individuals, imposing penalty for smoking–free zones, prohibiting smoking in public places,

aircraft or even in trains and buses are some of these steps taken in some countries. Even then, many have considered this as a regular habit that cannot be put off.

But they do not realize that the heavy price one has to pay in the long run to enjoy the pleasure of smoking. One can quit smoking if there is a sincere desire and strong willpower.

Why should you care about smoking?

  • Smoking affects every one – the smoker as well as the people around. Even the smokers know that it is bad for health; but they are not aware of the extent of health hazard.
  • Now- a-days many people coming in contact with you wish to enjoy a smoke-free environment. The stinky smell of tobacco may not be liked by your family members, friends and colleagues although they may not express this.
  • Some persons are allergic to tobacco smoke. They may not prefer to sit beside you.
  • Above all, it has been established that cigarette smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer, and a host of other ailments. Therefore in the interest of your own health, you should avoid smoking.

What happens when tobacco is burnt?

  • Two streams of smoke are produced when tobacco is burned.
  • Main stream smoke is sucked through the unburnt tobacco and inhaled by the smoker.
  • Side stream smoke rises directly from the burning tobacco into air which is in hailed by others sitting near the smoker.
  • Side stream smoke is more toxic as it spreads in air quickly and continuously.

What does the tobacco smoke contain?

  • The Tobacco smoke contains 599 poisonous substances of which nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia, benzopyrene, cadmium, formaldehyde etc, are the major ones.
  • Side stream smoke contains more quantities of these substances than the main stream smoke.

What harm is caused due to active smoking?

If you smoke you should know these facts:

  • Smoking is related to lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases and hundreds of thousands of deaths occur every year worldwide. Nicotine is the most dangerous substances responsible for this.
  • Smoking is a costly habit. You smoke a packet day, the cost per year may be Rs.4000 /- or more. This money ends up in smoke ultimately.
  • Smoking stains fingers, teeth, lips and causes wrinkles in your face. It results in bad breath and stinky smell of your body, hair and clothes.
  • It has been estimated that a smoker’s life is reduced by 5 minutes every hour, ultimately reducing the total life span by 5 years or more. The life may end up with a smoking-related disease.
  • Tobacco smoke spreads toxic substances and gases in air that irritates the eyes and lungs of others.
  • Smoking is very harmful for pregnant women. It increases the risk of miscarriage or still born baby.
  • Many a times workplace is contaminated with harmful gases, fumes and particulate matter. Inhaling these substances along with cigarette smoke increases their effect many fold.

How does smoking affect your health?

Immediate effect

  •  heart beat increases and blood pressure rises up.
  • Small air-ways of the lungs are constricted leading to uneasiness during breathing and dry cough.
  • Skin temperature decreases due to constriction of small blood vessels. Fingers, toes and exposed skin may feel cold.
  • Senses of smell and taste are dulled. Food does not taste as good as it should.
  • Carcinogenic (Cancer causing) and toxic substances enter the body and get absorbed into the blood stream.

Long term effect

  • Respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, lung infections and chronic phanyngitis may result in disability or even death.
  • The risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure are 2 to 3 times more among smokers compared to non-smokers. Heart attack and stroke may occur among chronic smokers even in young age.
  • Cancer of kidney, pancreas and urinary bladder are also strongly associated with chronic smoking.

What is passive smoking?

Persons exposed to side stream smoke and the mainstream smoke exhaled by the active smoker inhale cigarette smoke indirectly. This phenomenon is called passive smoking. In a room, a passive smoker may inhale more quantities of carbon monoxide and nicotine than any active smoker. Hence, passive smokers run the risk of lung cancer and bronchitis also.

The immediate effects of passive smoking are:

Cough, headache, red eyes, irritated throat, sneezing, nasal discharge, lacrimation, nausea, breathing difficulties, and palpitation. These are pronounced among children,

women, and elderly persons.

Persons allergic to tobacco smoke may suffer from asthma, bronchitis and heart problems.

Which is less harmful- bidi, cigarette, or cigar?

Tobacco of different quality and quantity are used in these items. Since all the three items contain tobacco, none of them can be termed as safe or less injurious to health. However, it is opined that Cigar smoking is less harmful

than bidi or Cigarette smoking.

What about fitter-tipped, tar-free, and extra-mild Cigarettes?

All these are misnomer. The terms used to promote cigarette sale rather than to quantity health effects. Tobacco in any form is injurious to health. Yes, certainly if one decide to quit. Many have done it and their number is increasing every day. You can also quit and kick this hard habit. There are ways and means to help you.

How to quit?

The forces of smoking habit are too strong. At first it may seem as an “indispensable” part of your daily life. But it is not. Ask yourself, “Do I really need a Cigarette?” Decide to quit it now. Know the facts. Choose your way to quit and stick to it.

You can do it in three ways:-

  • Get help through a smoking cessation program.
  • Do it yourself – cut down completely or gradually as it suits you.
  • Ask your doctor, spouse or non-smoker friend to help you.

How to start and maintain Smoking Cessation?

  • There is no thumb rule to quit smoking.
  • Have confidence in your will power and stick to your decision to quit.
  • List the reasons for quitting and keep it where you will see them often.
  • set a target date for your last smoke and stick to it.
  • Keep some chewing gum, peppermint, and chew-able vitamin C tablets etc. handy to use them when you feel like smoking.
  • Get rid of ashtrays, matches and lighters spend time in places where you can’t smoke.
  • Drink plenty of cold water or fruit juices to avoid nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Initially after quitting you may feel a craving for a cigarette. Resist it.
  • Breathe deeply and start and regular exercise program.
  • Avoid being along; but keep away from smoker-friends.

Do not be worried about transient withdrawal symptoms-they will pass of gradually.

Will there be any withdrawal symptoms?

Some people may feel a craving for cigarettes and restlessness. Consider this is as a recovery phenomenon.
Will there be weight gain after quitting?

In majority of case, there is No weight gain. But watch your food intake; unknowingly you may consume more food frequently. Exercises will help you.


If you stop smoking, you can…..

  • Improve ability to breathe.
  • Regain sense of smell and taste.
  • Save money.

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