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.
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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.
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!
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.
Alcohol, tobacco and drugs; these are some of the most common substances that people can get addicted to. Getting addicted is easy but to get rid of your habit is hard.
Here are a few things that could help:
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!
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:
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.
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?
What is the right smoking cessation strategy?
What is that people who smoke need help with?
How to get over the initial withdrawal discomfort?
Facts On Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Treatment for quitting Nicotine
Though smoking out in the open has reduced, there are miles to cover when it comes to eradication of tobacco.
What is Smoking?
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