World No Tobacco Day 2021: 5 Ways To Resist Smoking Cravings
World No Tobacco Day is observed on 31 May every year. The theme for this year is 'Commit To Quit'. This day tries to create awareness about the dangers associated with the consumption of tobacco.
World No Tobacco Day 2021: Smoking can negatively affect your lungs and other organs of the body
- World No Tobacco Day is observed on 31 May each year
- Commit To Quit is the them for World No Tobacco Day 2021
- Keep your mouth busy to avoid smoking cravings
Tobacco is harmful not only for lungs but for the entire body. It contains about 4000 harmful chemicals and among them are 72 proven carcinogens that are compounds which cause cancers. Smoking contributes significantly to overall cancer burden at multiple sites, which includes lung cancer, oral cancers, esophageal cancers, pancreatic cancers and bladder cancers. Other than cancer, tobacco use is additionally known to cause serious health issues like coronary artery diseases, stroke, respiratory illness, and infertility in both men and women. Smoking reduces the lung capacity and while we are going through this COVID 19 pandemic, available data shows covid lung symptoms are more severe among current smokers including higher deaths among smokers.
Smoking isn't just a habit, but an addiction that is difficult to give up. Tobacco contains nicotine which acts on the brain and is responsible for addiction. When you stop tobacco use, then a strong urge or craving happens and compels the person to go back to tobacco for temporary relief.
World No Tobacco Day 2021: How to curb smoking craving?
1. When you get the craving, think of all the health benefits of quitting like reduction in the pulse rate and heart rate within 20 minutes. Better sense of smell and taste, quality of sleep improves in 24 - 48 hours. At the end of 1 year, heart attack risk decreases and by 10 -15 years the risk of cancer and stroke also reduces significantly. Benefits for the family would be the health of the entire family improves as there is no passive exposure to second-hand smoke; money is saved, and also encourages others within the family to quit.
2. One should beat the craving by thinking that it will stay for only a few minutes and go away. Keeping something in the mouth like clove, cardamom or chewing gum may be helpful. Distracting towards a healthy habit like deep breathing exercise, meditation or physical exercise will be helpful to tide over the urge.
3. If you have craving as soon as you get up in the morning or you smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day you should seek professional help and consider using nicotine substitutes or other medications which can help in quitting.
4. Keep a diary and document the triggers due to which you have failed to quit smoking like- work stress, life situations, family and personal issues. Counselling will help in overcoming those triggers.
5. In the first few weeks after quitting avoid visiting places or situations that can tempt you to use tobacco like group of friends using tobacco, tea shops, smoking zones in the workplace etc. Avoid other addictive substances like alcohol, excessive coffee or tea.
Remember, failing to quit does not mean a personal failure. It only means you are willing to quit smoking and with professional help you will succeed.
(Dr. Prabhat Yaji is a Consultant Surgical Oncologist at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital)
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