Smoking is a die-hard habit and many people eventually die of the same. It remains one of the most common causes of cancer and lung diseases which eventually lead to death. The irony is that almost all smokers know the harmful effects but find it hard to quit. With a firm determination, there are people who quit but then the relapse rate is quite high too.
Many believe that quitting requires a behavioural change. From peer pressure to a lifestyle habit, smoking is a social phenomenon. There are various methods to help quit smoking like quitting cold turkey and nicotine substitutes. Hypnosis is also gaining popularity as a method to help quit smoking. Research has shown an encouraging success rate in the range of 30 to 40% in cases where the desire and commitment to quit are high. This, of course, is with people who have a strong will and are able to be hypnotized.
Hypnosis or hypnotherapy is a psychological technique used as supplemental therapy in a lot of cases - weight loss, depression, speech disorders, pain management, de-addiction; the list can be quite long. It puts the person undergoing therapy into a deep sleep or trance, where they get in touch with themselves and find answers to a lot of questions. It is believed that while hypnosis puts a person to sleep, it also induces a higher level of cognition and a higher level of neurological activity.
'During the actual session, the smoker is asked to imagine the numerous ill-effects of smoking and the need to reduce its harmful effects on the body. This improves the will power to quit smoking and reduces the desire. They are also advised of the benefits of quitting smoking, including longevity of life and better quality of life. The person is told that quitting smoking before 50 years of age gives a 50% chance of increase the lifespan by 15 years. Now that is quite motivating for a lot of smokers to give up the habit.
It generally takes about 4 full sessions of hypnotherapy to reach a level where the patient is ready to kick the habits. Also, self-hypnosis can be taught where the person can go into hypnosis on his own and enforce smoking cessation. There are even self-hypnosis tapes that are available for aid.
However, a word of caution here - hypnosis is not for everybody as not everybody can be hypnotized easily and there has to be a strong belief that it will benefit, only then can smoking cessation be tried with hypnosis. It is still in the testing phase and is to be medically proven as a way to quit smoking.
1. Avoid use carpets (to reduce exposure to allergens)
2. Clean your house regularly and prevent dust accumulation on objects.
3. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.
4. Maintain a daily nasal cleaning routine (nasal douching/ Jal neti) with a saline solution. If you have respiratory infection or allergies, clean your nose more frequently.
5. Keep your home humidity at around 55%
Smoking has several bad effects on your body, and it can invite many diseases, be it related to the heart, lungs, brain or respiratory system. Millions of people everywhere in this world die from problems triggered by smoking. Cigarette smoking is one of the most harmful threats to your body; there is no way you can expect to remain safe while being an addict. It is not easy to give up smoking in a day. You might require some other sort of oral stimulation in the process of quitting.
There are many toxic compounds in a cigarette which further damage your cells. Tobacco is carcinogenic and hence cigarette smoking can result in several types of cancer. Tobacco smoke mainly consists of:
Smoking is one of the most important reasons for preventable deaths. The diseases that can be caused by smoking are:
Tobacco Cessation or the practice of quitting smoking requires dedication, determination, and planning. Tobacco smoking is a bad habit that one might have got from adolescence but as the person grows up, he/she finds it difficult to maintain good health due to this reason. That is why it is important to adopt some of the ways that can help to quit smoking.
Let us look at some of these ways:
1. Cold Turkey
This is one of the most effective ways to quit tobacco smoking, but it also is one of the most difficult ways for the purpose. Cold turkey needs sheer willpower because this practice requires a person to quit smoking all of a sudden. The practice of quitting smoking is done without any outside help, therapy or medication.
2. Nicotine Substitutions
This is also a very effective method to quit smoking. Tobacco smoking is the process where a person pumps nicotine in the blood through the smoke. As soon as one stops getting that nicotine hit, the person starts to get agitated and starts smoking again. What if one could substitute that way of nicotine consumption? That would be better. So, nicotine patches and nicotine gums are one of those mediums through which a person gets nicotine in blood without the need for smoking.
The human brain gets dependent on nicotine over time, which also means that the mind is dependent on the nicotine to be happy (Dopamine secretion). As soon as people withdraw themselves from nicotine, the mind starts to have mood alterations and the person may also feel depressed. Bupropion is an antidepressant that helps a smoker quit smoking without being depressed and agitated. Bupropion also reduces the pleasure and other symptoms the smoker gets from tobacco smoking.
This is also one of the widely used antidepressants that help tobacco smokers manage their mood during withdrawal. The varenicline reduces the pleasing effect that a person gets from smoking. Though varenicline is quite effective, it is discontinued in some countries because of its side effects like nausea and fatigue.
This is also one of the most helpful methods to quit smoking. Smokers usually have certain triggers that urge them to smoke. The therapist talks about those particular triggers and helps a person manage those triggers through different activities like talking therapy and mind exercises. Going to a therapist is one of the smartest decisions one can take as the first step to tobacco cessation.
Quitting smoking isn’t an easy step. However, through systematic planning and seeking help, it can be managed. Tobacco cessation takes time, but once people achieve their goal, they will feel healthy and happy like never before.
Smoking can cause irreparable damage to your mind and body. Chemicals in the tobacco travel to all parts of the body, leaving no area unaffected. According to available data, smoking causes 30% of all cancer deaths and about 80% deaths from emphysema and bronchitis. In addition to adversely affecting yourself, smoking also has a severe impact on your near and dear ones. According to WHO, about 600,000 people die every year from passive smoking. Out of the deaths that occur due to this, 1/3rd is that of children.
The Indian situation
While 85% of tobacco users worldwide consume it in the form of cigarettes, in India only 13% use it in that form. Additionally, 54% use it in the form of beedis. A study conducted on Indian smokers has revealed that an average of 8.2 cigarettes is smoked by an individual daily.
The study also revealed that the number of cigarettes smoked every year had grown to over 6 trillion. While 1 out of 10 adults dies from tobacco use worldwide, 5% of deaths in women and 20% of deaths in men in India are caused by cigarette and beedi smoking.
What happens when you smoke?
Cigarette smoke is made up of 4000 chemicals that are present either as tiny particles or gases and about 50 are known to lead to cancer, the toxin nicotine being one of them. In addition to nicotine, the chemicals that make up cigarette smoke also include tar and carbon monoxide. Prolonged exposure to these toxins can hamper your body's ability to filter air and clean the lungs. The smoke not only irritates the lungs but also causes excess production of mucus.
It also causes a paralysis of the tiny hair-like structures like cilia that line the airways and are responsible for removing dust and dirt from the organ. Paralysis of these hair-like structures also causes a buildup of mucus and toxic substances, leading to lung congestion. The extra mucus that is produced causes smokers to suffer from the very ubiquitous smoker's cough and chronic bronchitis.
It's also one of the many triggers of asthma, which brings about the narrowing and inflammation of the airways. Long-term exposure to tobacco smoke causes the destruction of the structure of the lung, walls of the airways as well as lung tissue. The result is a condition known as emphysema. Additionally, smoking also leads to cancer of the lung and over 80% lung cancer cases occur due to this habit.
Ready to Quit? Then Expect this!
Withdrawal Symptoms: Be aware that the withdrawal symptoms may begin as soon as four hours after the last cigarette, generally peak in intensity at three to five days, and disappear after two weeks. Withdrawal
Symptoms can be
Physical like Headache, tingling in the hands and feet, sweating, gastro-intestinal (cramps, nausea) and/or Mental like tension, craving, anxiety to withdrawal, feelings of dependency, temper tantrums, irritability, intense needs, , insomnia, mental confusion, strong emotional and mental responses like feelings of being an infant.
Plan to Quit:
Before you plan to quit, ask a few questions to yourself like,
– Be clear about your reason & readiness to stop.
– Draw up an action plan.
– Set a date and stick to it.
– Plan what you will do instead of smoking.
– Give up completely.
– Don’t allow even a quick puff.
– Make quitting number one priority.
– Particularly in the first crucial week.
– Plan it with your friends, agree to support each other and make a pact not to let each other down.
– Make sure all cigs are destroyed.
– Get rid of all smoking reminders.
– Stay away from people who smoke.
– Keep busy.
– Pamper yourself.
– Decide what you are going to do with the saved money and put it aside.
– Try to avoid danger areas.
– Find activities that focus the hands and mind but are not taxing or fattening: computer games, solitaire, sewing, crossword puzzles, etc.
– Set quitting goals on a day to day basis and reward yourself when they are met.
– Think repeatedly about the advantages of quitting.
– Do deep breathing exercises.
When the cravings become uncontrollable, try these 5 D’s
– Deep breathing
– Drink water
– Do something else
Your physician can prescribe you one of the following treatment options to help you quit.
Always Remember: MOTIVATION IS THE ONLY KEY TO SUCCESS !
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 odour 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 person 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 behavioural 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. The person should also be advised to consult a therapist.
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:
Treatment through Mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness involves two primary elements: focused attention and open monitoring. During the practice of focused attention, attention is concentrated on a sensory object (often the sensation of breathing) while one acknowledges and then stops from distracting thoughts and emotions. Focused attention practices are often preceded by the practice of open monitoring. Open monitoring is a metacognitive state of awareness in the sense that it involves monitoring the content of consciousness while reflecting back on the process or quality of consciousness itself. This form of mindfulness practice is thought to reduce anxiety to a larger extent.
The mouth is the first organ that takes the brunt of smoking. The teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue are all affected by smoking. While most are worried about the discolouration of the teeth and lips, the damage is actually quite deep-rooted literally and figuratively. The harmful effects of smoking reach the roots and eventually lead to tooth loss.
Let us look at some ways of how smoking affects the teeth.
1. The black stains that are the tell-tale signs of a smoker are a major source of irritation to the teeth, especially along the gum line. On one hand, they do not allow proper cleaning of the gums and on the other, they are a constant source of irritation leading to inflammation. The result is there is damage beneath that layer of black stains, which does not become visible unless the signs of infection become evident pain, redness, swelling or even pus formation in some cases.
2. Smoking conceals the gum disease from becoming evident, thereby, reducing the chance of identifying and treating the disease at an early stage. This progresses to more severe periodontal disease, where the bones and supporting tissues that hold the tooth in place are infected and gradually the tooth weakens.
3. The nicotine in the smoke also promotes the growth of bacteria that lead to plaque formation and thereby worsen the pace at which gum disease happens.
4. Another aspect is that in smokers, the ability of the gums to heal is reduced drastically, thereby, leading to progressive incremental damage and eventual tooth loss.
5. Nicotine reduces the amount of minerals in bones and especially in postmenopausal female smokers, the bones are quite weak and the incidence of periodontal disease is also quite high.
To summarize, for smokers, the risk for gum disease is higher and the recovery of gum disease is delayed. The duration and number of cigarettes has a direct effect on gum disease. Of note, the effects are more severe in females, compared to males.
The good news however, is that quitting smoking (and other forms of nicotine) can show immediate results, including complete reversal of the damage. Other ways to manage include:
1. Regular brushing and flossing, twice a day at least
2. Rinsing after each meal with either a medicated rinse or plain water
3. Clinical cleaning including scaling and root planing if required at regular intervals
4. Minor surgery if required if there is root exposure and/or deep periodontal pockets
5. Abstain from tobacco in any form
Smoking affects the gums and periodontium severely, tooth loss has a strong and direct correlation with smoking. Not many would have thought about the adverse effects of smoking on the dental system. While they sound very alarming, there is definitely hope, with the first step as quitting it.
The Mind of a Smoker
There are a few instances when our body and mind refuse to acknowledge rationality, and quickly give in to carvings. Alcohol abuse, junk foods, depressant medications are a few of them. Among these, the most harmful is undoubtedly, smoking. In today's time, almost everyone knows about the ill-effects of tobacco. But despite our knowledge, we continue to give in and smoke. Let us have a look in depth about the usage, and the various steps one can use to come out of this dangerous habit.
Ill-Effects of Smoking
Smoking is dangerous for your health, and quitting can vastly reduce your risk of getting a disease related to the heart or lung. There is also a 50% chance that your life expectancy will be less due to smoking. On an average, a smoker has 10 - 12 years of lesser life expectancy than that of the nonsmoker. Also, quitting tobacco products can greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer. A smoker is always in the higher risk group of getting a tumor in the voice box (larynx), mouth, throat, intestines, kidney, and pancreas. Smoking can also hamper your sexual urge and erectile strength. Pregnant women who smoke carry a greater risk of having babies with many complications.
How to Curb Smoking
Quit smoking, and you can see visible differences right away. Your breathing will improve, and your asthma symptoms will likely to get better once you quit. Apart from a healthier you, you can also avoid health complications for your family members. Passive smoking is as harmful as active smoking, and a passive smoker is also easily susceptible to the complications of that of a smoker. Do not opt for lighter nicotine content cigarettes, as they have advertised that they contain less tar and nicotine. They simply do not, and they are equally harmful to you. Once the decision has been made, quit it altogether. Also stay away from chewing tobacco products. There are many ways by which you can quit smoking. Consult with your doctor in case you need medications for staying away.
There are safe non-nicotine gums and chewing tablets for curbing the smoking feel and sensation. There are also self-help groups and treatment centers that can rehabilitate you from your habits. Indulge yourself in activities that keep you happy and passionate. Try signing up for your favorite sports and keep yourself occupied at all times. Always be positive, and do not give into temptation. Believe in yourself and always remember that you are also spoiling the health and wealth of your near and dear ones. Your children follow you, and they can easily be misguided. Be a role model to them and quit smoking, and inculcate the healthy habit now and forever.