- Regular tobacco use can cause bronchitis and asthma
- Smoking and chewing tobacco also leads to bad breath
- India contributes to 12% of the total population of world smokers
May 31 is observed as World No Tobacco Day. The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2019 is "tobacco and lung health", focusing on the negative impact that tobacco has on people's lung health and overall well-being. For ages, people have been using tobacco in our country in different forms. Some use it for smoking - cigarette, beedi, chillum, hooka, cigars and chutta (a homemade cigar). While others use smokeless tobacco in the form of- pan, gutka, khaini, pan masala, mishri, mawa and too0thpaste with tobacco. According to World Health Organization (WHO), India contributes to 12% of the total population of world smokers. Nearly one third of Indians above 15 years are using some form of tobacco that leads to almost 40% of all the cancers.
Many families in India earn their livelihood by making tobacco products like beedis and are assisted by their children in its production. Most of these children end up getting addicted to tobacco use in some form or the other. Children who are not active users of tobacco also suffer by inhaling tobacco flakes while making beedis, which increases their risk of getting various cancers and lung diseases.
Tobacco is the cause of nearly 90% of oral and lung cancers, however there are various other tobacco related diseases. These includes stroke, bronchitis, asthma, impotence, birth defects, etc. Smoking and chewing tobacco also leads to bad breath, stained teeth and early tiredness. Smoking has an adverse effect on the 'innocent bystanders' who become victims of passive smoking.
World No Tobacco Day: How to quit tobacco?
Quitting all tobacco related products is the first step one can take towards improving their overall health. Initially, it might be difficult for people who have been smoking for years. But with determination and self-discipline, this can be achieved. Also the support of family, friends and timely professional are a key to helping an individual quit tobacco.
These steps may serve as a guide to quit tobacco
For quitting tobacco, you need to START:
S - Set a date and quit completely; simply reducing tobacco consumption would make you just bounce back. List the reasons why you want to quit and keep it with you.
T - Tell family and close friends to garner strength and support.
A - Anticipate and plan for difficult times. Keep a record of when, how much and why you smoke or use tobacco.
R - Remove all tobacco products from your vicinity.
T - Talk to your doctor to seek professional help for counselling and nicotine cravings; do not self-medicate.
Lastly, be prepared for relapse. Four out of five times the quitting trial fails! Nonetheless, keep trying.
So, START now and lead a tobacco free life. Happy World No Tobacco Day everyone!
(Dr Vedant Kabra is Head of Department-Surgical Oncology, Manipal Hospitals Dwarka, New Delhi)
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