When we talk of smoking, the first thoughts that cross our minds regarding its health implications are of oral and lung cancer; thanks to the statutory warning that comes with all tobacco products. However, smoking has negative effects beyond that.
The world observes World No Tobacco Day every year on 31st may. This annual event, organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers associated with tobacco use and the urgent need to eliminate this global epidemic. With tobacco consumption responsible for millions of preventable deaths and countless health complications, World No Tobacco Day presents an opportunity for individuals, communities, and governments to join forces in creating a tobacco-free world.
The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2023 is “We need food, not tobacco” It focuses on encouraging smokers to kick the habit, promoting the benefits of a tobacco-free life, and raising awareness about the resources available to support smoking cessation efforts. Quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to improve overall health and reduce the risk of developing tobacco-related diseases.
One of the key factors contributing to avoidable deaths worldwide continues to be tobacco usage. According to the WHO, it kills more than 8 million people each year, with over 7 million deaths attributed to direct tobacco use and approximately 1.2 million resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke. These figures are concerning and necessitate quick response.
The negative health effects of tobacco are extensive and well-documented.
Smoking increases the risk of developing various types of cancer, including lung, throat, and mouth cancer. It is also a major cause of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, tobacco use leads to chronic respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and exacerbates asthma symptoms. Pregnant women who smoke put themselves and their unborn children at risk of complications, including premature birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues.
Smoking has long been recognized as a menacing habit with far-reaching consequences. Despite widespread knowledge of its detrimental effects on health, the tobacco industry continues to thrive, fueling an addiction that not only harms individuals but also impacts society as a whole. The detrimental effects of smoking extend beyond just health concerns and delve into the realms of environmental, economic, and social aspects, making it an unmistakable menace that needs to be urgently addressed.
Efforts to combat the menace of smoking have been ongoing for decades. Public awareness campaigns, stricter regulations, and increased taxation on tobacco products have been implemented in many countries. These measures have undoubtedly had a positive impact, leading to a decline in smoking rates in certain populations. However, the battle is far from over, and there is still much work to be done.
Quitting smoking is challenging but achievable. Here are seven strategies for giving up smoking:
Decide when to stop: To stop smoking, pick a date in the future. Having a deadline can help you mentally prepare and stay motivated.
Seek support: Inform your family, friends, and coworkers about your decision to quit smoking. Their support, encouragement, and understanding can make a significant difference in your journey.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): Consider using NRT products like nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal sprays. These products deliver controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful toxins found in cigarettes, helping reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Medications: Talk to your healthcare provider about prescription medications that can aid in smoking cessation. Options such as bupropion or varenicline can help reduce cravings and ease the withdrawal process.
Behavioral support: Join a smoking cessation program or support group including counselling, behavioural therapy, and coping methods to successfully quit smoking.
Identify triggers and develop coping strategies: Identify situations, emotions, or activities that trigger the urge to smoke. Find alternative ways to cope with these triggers, such as engaging in physical activity, practicing deep breathing, or distracting yourself with a hobby or activity.
Practice self-care: Focus on improving your overall well-being by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and manage stress through relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. These practices can help reduce cravings and improve your chances of quitting smoking.
Remember, quitting smoking is a journey, and relapses may occur. Don’t get discouraged if you slip up; instead, learn from it and continue working towards your goal of becoming smoke-free.