Smoking tobacco is one of the most common and widely spread substance of abuse in India. In fact it is even considered normal for a male to smoke in certain parts of the country. Use of tobacco products is also increasing among women.
Why is it so addictive?
Nicotine unlike alcohol and other substance is a short acting drug. It takes only 7 seconds for a person consuming nicotine through smoking to get high and usually lasts only till you complete the cigarette and you also start craving for the next one as soon as you are done with the first one. Any person is exposed to risk of getting into dependence from the first puff of nicotine as tolerance develops immediately.
Am I at risk?
Yes you are absolutely at risk. You can get COPD, recurrent respiratory tract infections, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack, impotence, neuropathy, weight and appetite loss, Tuberculosis, reduced bone density, cancer of head and neck, oral , blood, pancreas, GI system etc. After all this comes money and what's worse? You affect someone next to you who passive smokes!
How and when can I quit?
To quit is the best decision you can ever take. If so, you are awesome!! You can start from today… tomorrow anytime… there is no time frame to stop unlike other drugs as nicotine has only a few withdrawal symptoms like craving, increased hunger, irritability. It is not life threatening to plan a suddenly cessation of nicotine use. If you have difficulty controlling the behaviour, we have numerous groups of drugs and non pharmacological interventions.
What drug should I use?
Please consult a Psychiatrist/physician. You can use nicotine gums or patches as advised by the doctor as replacement therapy for a short while. We can even use certain antidepressants like fluoxetine to control craving along with certain anxiolytic sedative medicines for a short term.
I don’t wanna take drugs!
Relaxation techniques and behavioural modification programmes are available to modify drug taking behaviour.
- Ask about nicotine use and control to a doctor
- Advice yourself to quit
- Assess yourself for willingness to quit
- Assistance of a doctor to be acquired in symptom free quitting
- Arrange for regular follow up
What do I take home?
To quit nicotine isn’t a difficult task. But to make decision to quit is. Lets not transfer our drug taking behaviour to our children as nicotine use can cause major effects on children like congenital anomalies and even ADHD when parents smoke. Whats worse we transfer our dependence gene to them and we do not want to see them as drug users right? So lets be happy and do it today!!! Lets quit smoking from now for a better and beautiful future!!!