QUIT Smoking! This world Tobacco Day

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in India. Yet millions continue to smoke. Tobacco smoking is the most important risk factor for developing COPD. At least 1 amongst 4 continuous smokers are at the risk of developing COPD3.In both asthma and COPD, cigarette smoking is associated with – accelerated decline of lung function, increased mortality and worsening of symptoms.Smokers had 3 times more risk to develop COPD as compared to non-smokers.40% of smokers developed chronic bronchitis and half of those (20%) developed COPD. Lifelong smokers have a 50% probability of developing COPD during their lifetime.

Smoking is the leading modifiable risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and lung cancer. Smoking cessation is the only proven way of modifying the natural course of COPD. It is also the most effective way of reducing the risk for myocardial infarction and lung cancer. The risk of total mortality and rate of recurrence of lung cancer is substantially lower in smokers who manage to quit smoking following the diagnosis of early stage lung cancer or small cell lung cancer. The risk is nearly 50%.The prevalence of smoking tobacco use among current tobacco users is 35.1%. Smoking tobacco exposes the smokerto more than 7,000 chemicals, of which nearly 250 and nearly 69 chemicals are proven harmful and carcinogenic respectively. Oral and Lung cancers account to more than 30% of all the cancers in India. In India, about quarter of oral cancers are attributable to tobacco use.

More than 40 chemicals in tobacco smoke have been identified to cause cancer. Smoking also damages your lungs and other parts of your respiratory system, raises your blood pressure, and robs your body of oxygen, just to name a few of its harmful effects. The average smoker is at a risk: 14x higher risk of dying from cancer of the lung, throat, or mouth, 4x higher risk of dying from cancer of the esophagus, 2x higher risk of dying from a heart attack and 2x higher risk of dying from cancer of the bladder.

According to Dr. Ankit Bansal, MD(Respiratory medicines) IDDC (Critical Care), Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur mentioned “Quitting the habit is made more difficult by the physical addiction to nicotine (the chemical stimulant in tobacco). Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that causes strong physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms like other drugs that stimulate the nervous system. Fortunately, medical treatments are now available that can help you control the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. With the treatment, significant improvements in the quality of life, daytime symptoms, and bronchial hyper-reactivity can be witness.”

Interestingly,female continued smokers experienced a faster decline in lung function compared with male continued smokers for the number of cigarettes they smoked. However, female smokers experienced larger gains in lung function when they stopped smoking compared with male quitters.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is recognized globally as an effective form of treatment to help smokers to quit smoking.

Cigarettes are an effective means of delivering nicotine quickly to the brainstem where it stimulates the release of dopamine via the nicotinic receptors.NRT aims to take away the cravings for cigarettes and mitigate nicotine withdrawal symptoms by providing steady stimulation to the nicotinic receptors and preventing the rapid fluctuations in the release of dopamine in the forebrain.

Further Dr. Ankit Bansal mentioned, “Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) helps reduce nicotine withdrawal and craving by supplying your body with nicotine. It contains about one-third to one-half the amount of nicotine found in most cigarettes. This is one of the best options and needs to be promoted. NRT is a way of getting nicotine into the bloodstream without smoking. There are nicotine gums, patches, inhalers, tablets, lozenges, and sprays. Many clinical trials show NRT can increase the chances of quitting smoking by 50-70% compared to unassisted quitting.”

Tobacco is linked with many health problems in addition to lung disease and cancer. As our knowledge about the health consequences of smoking grows, these health concerns have also been extended to the innocent bystanders (those who regularly encounter second-hand smoke). If you are ready to quit, talk to your physician. Your doctor can help you successfully quit smoking by treating your addiction to nicotine and by giving you information on how to change your behavior.

It is necessary to create awareness about the NRT and its benefits. Tobacco smoking is an important issue and needs to be addressed and awareness around it needs to be created on regular intervals. It’s time to emerge stronger than addition. Let us say NO to tobacco and CRUSH THE CRAVE!

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