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Overview

Smoking - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Smoking?

Smoking means a practice whereby people burn a substance which results in a smoke that can be breathed in, which is tasted and then absorbed into the bloodstream. The most common substance that is smoked is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which when rolled up inside a square piece of paper, creates a small round cylinder- called a cigarette.

More about Smoking :

Smoking is an age old tradition whereby this practice was primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drugs. It’s been because the combustion of the dried leaves and herbs vaporizes very fast and can deliver active narcotic substances into the pulmonary system, where they are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream to reach our brain and other tissues in our body. In the case of cigarette smoking dried tobacco leaf releases aerosol, gasses and needless to say alkaloid nicotine, which, when absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs creates a feeling of satiety.In some cultures all around the world smoking is till used as a part of various traditional rituals , where participants use this practice to enter a trance like state, which some believe lead them to ‘spiritual enlightenment’. Generally any kind of smoking has negative health effects. As smoking poses a threat to various physiological processes, particularly to our cardio-respiratory system. Diseases that occurs out of smoking have shown mortality for approximately half of the long term smokers, when compared to the death rates faced by non-smokers.

Researches do confirm that smoking tobacco, is the most common recreational drug practiced by over one billion people in present times, of whom most are the citizens of the developing countries across the globe. Less common drugs that are smoked are marijuana (cannabis) and opium. Hard narcotic chemicals like heroin and others are also smoked, but their use is limited, as these chemicals are hard to be found commercially. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are manufactured industrially for commercial use, but then again, they can also be hand-rolled using loose tobacco and rolling papers.Some of the other things that are often smoked are pipes, bidis, vaporizers, hookahs and bongs.

In the present times many governments across the world is deterring their citizen from smoking and highlighting on anti-smoking campaigns, stressing on the harmful long-term effects of this age-old practice. Passive smoking, which affects the health of other non-smokers and children in the vicinity of the smokers, is one major reason for enforcement of this smoking ban. Especially in indoor public places, like bars, restaurants, and bars.

Treatable by medical professional Lab test not required
Symptoms
People who smoke have a greater risk of dying from lung cancer. Smoking leads to dry cough and irritation in the throat. Women who smoke during their gestation have greater risks of delivering babies with birth defects. Smoking can lead to erectile dysfunctions. Smoking has greater risks of developing heart ailments and COPD symptoms.

Popular Health Tips

Why Tobacco Causes Cancer?

MBBS, DNB Gen Surgery, DNB Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore
Why Tobacco Causes Cancer?

Conventional wisdom makes us believe that the only type of cancer caused due to smoking is lung cancer. However, recent studies have greatly detailed the fact that smoking or the consumption of tobacco products can cause esophagus, pancreas, liver, kidney, stomach, among other types of cancer.

The Various Chemical Carcinogens Present In Tobacco
Thus, smoking is by far the largest preventable cause of cancer. The solution is simple: stop smoking. Tobacco products contain certain elements that are widely believed to cause cancer. These elements also referred to as carcinogens are either naturally part of the tobacco producing plant or are added to it by the tobacco manufacturer. The latter carcinogens include benzene, certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and formaldehyde. The quantity and the specificity of carcinogens differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and country to country.

Continuous consumption of products which contain carcinogens will inevitably result in the formation of cancer. The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has already designated certain chemicals found in tobacco and tobacco-related products as human carcinogens.

The Effects of the Chemical Carcinogens -
It must be emphasized that there is no safe way to consume tobacco. From cigarettes and pipes to smokeless tobacco and cigars – all of them lead to the same result. Chemicals found in tobacco reduce the ability of our immune system, making it harder for it to kill cancerous cells. This ensures that cancerous cells simply multiply without it being stopped or killed. Moreover, the same chemicals also alter the “DNA structure” and the instructions of the DNA which leads to cells growing out of control and abetting the cancerous tumor.

How do the carcinogens enter our bloodstream?
These chemicals are delivered into our bloodstream by virtue of us breathing in the smoke. Once the chemicals enter our bloodstream, it travels to all parts of our body – carrying this carcinogenic chemical. Non-smokers who stand beside individuals who are smoking (secondhand smoking) become passive smokers, also inhale the harmful smoke. The World Health Organization estimates that 10% of all smoking-related deaths are due to passive or secondhand smoking.

How long does it take for cancer to develop?
While there is no specific time-frame linking consumption of tobacco to development of cancer, it is estimated that it takes many years or even decades for the cancer to develop. Our body’s immune system is vested with the power to cope up with limited damage, however, persistent smoking tendencies and the chemical carcinogens entering our bloodstreams – irreversibly damage the DNA in many lung cells.

Thus, in conclusion, it is highly advisable to quit smoking sooner rather than later. Tobacco causes long-term and irreparable damage to our bodily organs. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3369 people found this helpful

Substance Abuse - How Should You Cope With Someone Going Through It?

B.A., MA - Counselling Psychology
Psychologist, Mumbai
Substance Abuse - How Should You Cope With Someone Going Through It?

While we all know substance abuse is a social issue and learning that a loved one is affected by the problem can be nearly heart-breaking. It is definitely not something that can be easily accepted. At the same time, the affected individual needs all your love and attention and more importantly support to get through the situation. It is important to not show anger or frustration at the person but to empathize and help them get out of the situation.

Read on to know some of the ways in which you can play an active role in supporting your loved one under such circumstances. This involves both of you coping with the situation at hand, as well as helping the person come out of the abuse.

  1. Educate yourself: When you are trying to help a person, you should know in detail about the substance that was being used and its ill effects. This gives you greater credibility, unlike the person who got carried with the happy feeling it gave and got into abuse. 
  2. Ensure safety: This is both for the affected individual and yourself. With the required substance not being available, the person could look at harming either self or others, especially ones who are trying to get them out of the abuse. Though the intent is to help, they are looked at as people who are depriving the feel-good feeling produced by the substance, which is no longer easily available. Therefore, ensure safety. 
  3. Talk openly: In the beginning, be a good listener. Once you get their confidence, make them understand that the entire situation is making you upset and perhaps angry or frustrated too. Get them to focus on your proposal of getting out of the habit together. If they are willing then this can ensure greater success in quitting the habit. Get to understand how exactly the habit developed including the people responsible for it, the circumstances leading to it, and the various chemicals that were used. The duration and frequency are also important. Tell them it is okay and that you will both get out of it with each other’s support. 
  4. Participate in therapy sessions: Individual counseling will work effectively for the primary client, but it is also important for family members to get involved. The counselor also would need support beyond the few counseling hours for completely getting rid of an individual’s habit. Therapy can help you learn how to manage the issues back at home. 
  5. Find your “me-time”: With all that is going on, you will need some time for yourself to just be. Eat well, stick to your workouts, sleep well, keep your friends, and make time for your hobbies. These will ensure you are in good shape to support the affected individual. It is not possible for you to help another person when you are not in great shape yourself. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
3180 people found this helpful

Nicotine Dependence - How To Treat Smoke & Smoke Less Addiction?

MIPS, DPM, MBBS
Psychiatrist, Ahmedabad
Nicotine Dependence - How To Treat Smoke & Smoke Less Addiction?

Smoking is a habit that can easily become an addiction. There are two aspects to this; the physical addiction of holding a cigarette in your hands and the addiction to nicotine. Most people believe that by substituting cigarettes for other forms of nicotine, such as chewing tobacco or snuff, one may wean oneself off cigarettes. However, this is not always the case. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances. It is a colourless, natural liquid that turns brown when burnt. When exposed to air, it emits the odor of tobacco.

Nicotine enters the body through the mucosal lining of the nose and mouth or the skin. Depending on how it is consumed, either in the form of cigarettes or by chewing tobacco, it travels through the blood stream, accumulating in the blood and brain. When smoking, nicotine can reach the brain within 10 seconds of being inhaled. On the other hand, when smoked through a pipe, nicotine is absorbed at a much slower rate. This is because it enters the body through the mouth and not the nose.

By sharing the ill effects of nicotine with a perosn who is addicted to it, will not inspire him or her give up the habit. The easy availability of nicotine products such as cigarettes and tobacco does not help either. Thankfully, there are a number of psychiatric treatments that can be used to treat nicotine dependence. These include counselling, medication, group therapy, hypnosis and behavioral training. The aim here is to make the person feel more confident of his own ability to stay away from nicotine. In addition to this, the support of his family and friends is crucial.

Nicotine replacement therapy may also be used. In this case, instead of smoking a cigarette, the person may be given gums to chew on or a patch that delivers a slow dose of nicotine to the body. The dosage here depends on the amount the person smokes and reduces with time. This can help the person wean off nicotine. However, it is important to undergo this treatment under a doctor’s advice as people may get addicted to this form of nicotine as well.

When it comes to nicotine dependence, some people may require therapy for 6 months while others need therapy for longer. Relapse is common and hence provisions need to be made for an efficient support system and a mode to measure progress. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3416 people found this helpful

World No Tobacco Day - Making An Effort To Control Tobacco Usage!

M.D - Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Hyderabad
World No Tobacco Day - Making An Effort To Control Tobacco Usage!

When man first started using tobacco, he probably did not know that it would grow to be an epidemic that could cause multiple health issues. Be it smoking or chewing, tobacco has severe negative effects on health. Take any of current lifestyle diseases from diabetes to infertility to obesity, the common risk factor is tobacco abuse. In addition, depending on the form of tobacco used, specific organs are affected. For instance, chewing tobacco leads to oral cancer while smoking causes lung cancer.

The statistics around tobacco abuse are extremely startling and can be read below:

  • A total of about 90 trillion rupees are spent on various tobacco products.
  • About 1.4 trillion is spent on healthcare related to conditions caused by tobacco abuse.
  • India has about 120 million tobacco users.
  • More than 7 million people die every year due to tobacco usage.
  • The Government has levied a GST of 28% on cigarettes, making them unaffordable, which is one of the ways to promote quitting.
  • For those who want to quit but are not able to, there is a quit-line setup, which is toll-free, 1800-11-2356 and is accessible from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tobacco is a menace in all the strata of society. The lower economic classes are adversely affected both due to lack of knowledge and healthcare facilities. Therefore, the government uses the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) that is observed by all members of the World Health Organization as an opportunity to drive this awareness.

This is celebrated on May 31st every year. Some measures that are taken to promote 'say no to tobacco' campaign are listed below.

  1. In 1975, the Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act was introduced, which made it mandatory for cigarette packs to have a warning stating “Smoking Kills” or “Smoking is injurious to health.”
  2. Marketing campaigns are shown in the movie theaters at the beginning of movies which depict the hazards of tobacco
  3. Smoking is banned in most public areas, and warnings are on display.
  4. Children below 18 are not sold tobacco products. If in doubt, the seller can ask for age identification.
  5. Schools and colleges do not have tobacco selling within 100 meters of the campus.
  6. The price increase ensures that not everybody has easy access to cigarettes.
  7. Celebrities promote quitting tobacco and smoking by talking about their personal stories.
  8. Restaurants have separate smoking sections where children are not allowed to sit
  9. Tobacco in form of beedi and gutkha also needs to be targeted, as the lower income groups often use these. Also, beedi is sold as single units, so cost is not a deterrent.

How can a healthcare professional help you?

A healthcare professional plays a vital role in a smokers life, as it the healthcare professional that can increase the odds of quitting with guidance, medication, and support. 

What should a healthcare professional do?

  • Identify people who smoke 
  • Motivate them to quit or think about quitting
  • Refer a person who smokes for treatment and support
  • Support ongoing abstinence

What is the right smoking cessation strategy?

  • Ask: Every smoker to visit a healthcare professional
  • Advise: Urge the smoker to leave smoking
  • Assess: Assess whether the person is willing to quit in 30 days
  • Assist: Plan and help Rx Quit
  • Arrange: Arrange a follow-up through phone or sms or in person

What is that people who smoke need help with?

  • First and  the foremost challenge are the withdrawal symptoms 
  • Urge to smoke and borderline depression with a possibility of relapse
  • People who have high pre-abstinence nicotine intake

How to get over the initial withdrawal discomfort?

  • Behavioral support is of proven efficacy
    • Can be delivered in different formats
      • Face-to-face
      • Telephone
      • Internet
  • Nicotine replacement therapy and nortriptyline are of proven efficacy

Facts On Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

  • There are no real contradictions related to NRT
  • No drug interactions 
  • Side effects, if there are any are localized e.g.
    • Taste of oral products
    • Hiccups with the mouth spray 
    • Skin irritation with patch 

Treatment for quitting Nicotine 

  • Medications: Medicines which are useful adjuncts in the determined but unsuccessful quitters are Varenicline and Bupropion
  • Electronic cigarette: Electronic cigarettes are not as effective as imagined and have few side effects 

Though smoking out in the open has reduced, there are miles to cover when it comes to eradication of tobacco. 

2777 people found this helpful

Effects Of Smoking - How Smoking Affects Your Lungs?

MBBS, DNB - Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy & Sleep Disorders
Pulmonologist, Noida
Effects Of Smoking - How Smoking Affects Your Lungs?

Smoking can have adverse effects on your health that may result in a number of diseases, and also can degrade the overall health condition. Thus, every packet of cigarette comes with the warning “Smoking is injurious to health”. Yet, for those who are habituated to it, it can be extremely difficult to heed the caution and quit.

If you are one of those smokers contemplating quitting, here are some of the compelling reasons to embark on the road to good health immediately. Read on to know about the long-term effects that smoking can have on your lungs:

1. The cleaning of the lungs gets disrupted
Every time you smoke, the harmful chemicals that cigarette contains lead to damaging your breathing and scaring your lungs in some way. As a result of smoking, the cleaning system of the lungs is greatly disrupted. The lungs have ‘Cilia' or broom like hairs that play a crucial role in cleaning the lungs. When you start smoking, the functioning of the cilia starts to slow down, and this goes on for several hours, interfering with the functioning of the lungs.

2. Increases the inflammation as well as irritates
Just like humans age, so do the lungs. With aging, it's very normal for your lungs to not function as effectively as they used to once. However, smoking makes the aging of the lungs faster. Plus, the airways of the lungs also get inflamed and irritated by smoking and as a result become narrower and disrupt the normal air flow.

3. Tissue damage and poor immunity become evident
Smoking not only injures the lung tissues but also causes the immunity power of the lungs to decrease. While on one hand, the damaged tissues lead to decreased blood vessels and air spaces in the lungs, which disrupts the normal oxygen level in the blood, on the other hand, smoking impairs the natural defense power of the lungs, making the lungs more prone to critical lungs condition.

4. It may cause a number of lung conditions
Ranging from asthma, wheezing, to coughs and colds, smoking can lead to serious lungs diseases such as emphysema, breathing issues, breathlessness, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and even lung cancer. Smoking can also cause the debilitating and progressive disease, COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to develop.

No matter whether you smoke a pipe or a cigar, as long as they contain cancer-causing chemicals in them, smoking poses a serious threat to your health. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2722 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

HI, I would like to know How to quit smoking? Suggest me some ways as I am trying to quit since 3 years. But not done yet. Loosing my confidence and getting depression.

MBBS, DPM
Psychiatrist, Bangalore
Dear lybrate-user, Congratulations for deciding to quit smoking. Please try to stop smoking at the earliest. It has many health benefits in the long run. When you stop suddenly, you may get withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, increased hunger, sleep disturbance, headache, impatience, anxiety, depression, etc. If you have them please don’t get back to smoking, take nicotine gum or lozenge or patch. They are available in all medical shops. You don’t need a prescription from doctors. Use 2 mg gum if you smoke less than 25 cigarettes/day. Use 4 mg gum if you smoke more than 25 cigarettes/day. First 6 weeks, use 1 gum every 1 – 2 hours. Reduce it in week 7 – 9 to one gum every 2 – 4 hours. In week 10 – 12, reduce it further to 1 gum every 4 -8 hours. By 3 months, you will be able to stop both cigarettes and gum fully without any withdrawal symptoms. Please feel confident that you can do it and give yourself some gift for doing it like vacation or books or new mobile. Smoking is a chronic relapsing condition like diabetes and B.P. So please don’t worry if you restart smoking. Start all over again to stop. You will learn the situations that make you smoke and avoid them. Please think of health benefits and money saved often. Plan how to avoid relapsing situations, like smoking friends, use of alcohol, stressful feeling or depression. Delay, drink, deep breathe, distract and discuss are the helpful tips. Increase of non smoking zones, gift yourself for stopping smoking. Even chewing cinnamon may delay. Please remember that the urge to smoke comes and goes like waves. Delay and see whether it goes away. It will be like a passing cloud.

Hello Doctor, I'm suffering from smoking problems and feeling stressed I smoke 10 cigarettes a day. Please help me to quit this problem.

MBBS, DPM
Psychiatrist, Bangalore
Dear lybrate-user, Congratulations for deciding to quit smoking. Please try to stop smoking at the earliest. It has many health benefits in the long run. When you stop suddenly, you may get withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, increased hunger, sleep disturbance, headache, impatience, anxiety, depression, etc. If you have them please don’t get back to smoking, take nicotine gum or lozenge or patch. They are available in all medical shops. You don’t need a prescription from doctors. Use 2 mg gum since you smoke 10 cigarettes/day. First 6 weeks, use 1 gum every 1 – 2 hours. Reduce it in week 7 – 9 to one gum every 2 – 4 hours. In week 10 – 12, reduce it further to 1 gum every 4 -8 hours. By 3 months, you will be able to stop both cigarettes and gum fully without any withdrawal symptoms. Please feel confident that you can do it and give yourself some gift for doing it like vacation or books or new mobile. Smoking is a chronic relapsing condition like diabetes and B.P. So please don’t worry if you restart smoking. Start all over again to stop. You will learn the situations that make you smoke and avoid them. Please think of health benefits and money saved often. Plan how to avoid relapsing situations, like smoking friends, use of alcohol, stressful feeling or depression. Delay, drink, deep breathe, distract and discuss are the helpful tips. Increase of non smoking zones, gift yourself for stopping smoking. Even chewing cinnamon may delay. Please remember that the urge to smoke comes and goes like waves. Delay and see whether it goes away. It will be like a passing cloud. All the best.
3 people found this helpful

Suffering from high cholesterol. Cholesterol total 278 and Triglyceride 415. Having moderate food (non-veg mostly) Smoking 2 cigarettes a day Alcohol only at the weekend (90 mps approx) Please advise for a routine diet.

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, DM - Cardiology, Fellowship in EP
Cardiologist, Delhi
Cholesterol consistently above 330 is high, yours not so. Triglycerides rise with alcohol sugar jaggery and starchy foods. Reduce these for good health.

Sir, I'm addicted to weed, daily I will smoke up 7-8 chillums I had become to lean, I need to get rid of this addiction please help me.

MBBS, DPM
Psychiatrist, Bangalore
Dear lybrate-user, Congratulations for deciding to get rid of weed addiction. You need to consult a psychiatrist who is trained in addiction medicine. You will be assessed for the withdrawal symptoms, your motivational level, your medical and psychological status. You will be treated holistically with motivational enhancement therapy (MET) probably weekly for 12 weeks. You may be given few drugs also, if necessary. Of course, your medical and psychiatric illnesses, if any, will be treated.

Table of Content

What is Smoking?

More about Smoking :

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Things To Know About Smoking
Smoking is among the leading causes of death around the world. More than 4,000 chemical substances are present in cigarette smoke, including at least 50 that can cause cancer. Cigarettes also contain nicotine, which causes physical and psychological addiction to tobacco. However with strong will power , one can actually get out of this addiction.
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Smoking and Air Pollution
Hello my friends.

I m Dr. Nikhil Modi and I am consultant respiratory specialist in Indraprastha Apollo hospital, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi. Today I will be talking about harmful effects of smoking and air pollution. As we know smoking has been a very important risk factor for causing numerous diseases in our body. Further now with the growing prevalence of air pollution which everyone has been talking about, we have read in newspapers, in media, so this pollution along with smoking is harming us to a large extent.

What are the diseases and how it cause? We all breathe all the time and when we smoke all the smoke goes through our air ways into our lungs and breathing continues even in air pollution so the pollution is also inhaled in our body. These air pollution and the smoke from the cigarettes which we inhale are full of large toxic agents. Some of them also are cancer causing agents. Some of them are harmful gases like sulphur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbon, and others. There are more than thousands of carcinogenic agents which are present in the smoke.

So we are been constantly expose to them. By inhaling them what all side effects can be there? It can start from very mild side effects from itching in the nose, sneezing, running nose, itching and watering of eyes which can be mild. Further down the airways involving causing bronchitis, asthma. It has to be noted here due to this growing air pollution and smoke. The number of asthma cases are on the rise. Now recent data has shown one in every 3 children. So small children are suffering from asthma which has been aggravated by all this air pollution and smoke.

Further this air pollution and smoke is harmful because it makes our body prone to large number of infections especially pneumonia. The pneumonia which was usually easy to treat now because of this smoking and everything they become difficult to treat and also can be a cause of death. Further, there is an increased risk of tuberculosis in patients who smoke and air pollution further adding to that. The most important of all is increasing number of lung cancer cases. Lung cancer, smoking has been identified with a most important factor which increases the risk of lung cancer.

So smoking harms our body. Further I would like to say smoking not only affects our lungs but through the when it is inhaled in the lungs it goes into the blood vessels and to other organs and it can also lead to cancer of other parts of the body. It can lead to increase the risk of heart attacks, it can lead to increase in the number of brain strokes also. So it is no part of the body is safe and all of them can be involved with smoking. Further this rising air pollution is also harmful. So what can we do? Smoking obviously we have to stop, it is in our hand if we stop smoking and then all of these can be minimized.

Further we have to support the government policies in reducing air pollution. We should not burn coal, should not burn wood, we should get our automobile service on time so that there is minimal emission of harmful gases from our pollution. And all other measures which we can take to minimize air pollution. Especially reduction of exposure of this air pollution and smoke in patients who are already allergic, prone to asthma so that they can lead a healthy life. It is important we do that because it is our future generation our children who are going to suffer from that and it is high time we take some action against that. And for smoking smoking cessation can also be done, there are ways of doing that through counselling and through the drugs which you can contact any specialist. You can contact me you can meet me in Indraprastha Apollo hospital or you can contact me through lybrate platform so that I can be your helper, helping you quit smoking. Thank you!
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice