Nicholas (changed name), a recently diagnosed last stage lung cancer patient is battling from smoking and its consequences. His near and dear ones have made every attempt to quit him smoking but to no avail. Nicholas started smoking to look cool, thinking smoking will make him a hot favorite among girls. As Nicholas joined the college his smoker friends told him that smoking increases concentration, that’s why they get good grades in spite of no or minimal hard work.
Flash forward 10 years, Nicholas still smokes and even more, some of his smoker colleagues says that smoking relieves the stress from the mind. Deep down Nicholas is frustrated and disappointed because he cannot quit smoking, so to the world he says “I am not dependent of smoking, I just don’t want to quit it”.
Many smokers might relate to some part of this story.
This article is about why people smoke, why is it so hard to quit smoking, what could be done to quit smoking. At present scientists and neurologists do not know fully about the science behind smoking and much work has to be done yet on this crucial subject.
Why people smoke?
Easily available and cheap: One of the most prolific smoker I know once told me "always become an addict of an expensive substance, because when you’ll run out of money you will automatically force to quit it”. Smoking is hard to quit because it is easily available where ever you go.
Hard to quit: Nicotine, the active chemical present in tobacco smoke makes it very addictive and hard to quit, has a similar addictive power like heroin, once your body gets nicotine in the form of cigarette it increases its appetite for nicotine, now brain demands more nicotine and a vicious cycle of nicotine addiction continues.
Habit forming: Smoking is very addictive it affects the daily life of a person. Some people cannot pass stool without smoking, some use it to aid digestion.
Mindset: Some people think that smoking makes their mind able to relieve stress, some first try smoking to increase concentration, some to look cool, these are all myths.
Harmful effects of smoking
Lung diseases: Some of lung disease caused by smoking are C.O.P.D-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, occurring due to narrowing (Emphysema), Inflammation (Chronic Bronchitis) of lung sacs called alveoli.
Lung cancer: There are many cancer causing genes present in our body in an inactive state, smoking activates those cancer causing genes and they multiply and become cancer. Smoking can cause Lung, oral and other cancers.
Depression: Failure to quit smoking and stuck in a cycle of rehab and relapse results in depression in most of the smokers.
Heart disease: Smoking can result in heart disease directly. It hardens the main arteries of the heart, blocking the blood flow and causing heart attack.
Sexual effects: Smoking can cause erectile dysfunction (erection failure of penis) in men due to direct and indirect reasons (depression, anxiety), lower sperm count and infertility due to genetic changes in semen.
Birth defects in new born: Women with history of smoking or smoking in pregnancy could result in several birth defects in new born babies. Pregnant women should stay away from cigarette smoke, as passive smoking also can induce harm.
Withdrawal symptoms: When a person decides to quit smoking these are the problem that he or she might face: nausea vomiting, burning sensation in the stomach, headache, constipation, loose stools, anxiety, panic attack, flu-like symptoms, irritation and anger.
What could be done?
- Try to be busy, keep your hands and mouth busy, try chewing a gum. There are many smoking cessation gums available in the market. The result of these gums varies a person to person.
- Meditate: To beat any addiction the most pivotal weapon you need to have is strong will power. Meditate your way out of smoking addiction.
- Yoga: Yoga asana helpful for smoking like Pranayama, Kapalbhati increase the oxygen concentration in the lungs and increase the lung capacity of fill more oxygen.
- Acupuncture can be helpful.
- Lung Detox: Mix Cranberry juice (half cup), Grapefruit juice (half cup), Ginger juice (¼ cup) and lemon 1 tsp blend and drink this to clean the nicotine from the lungs.
- Try sauna bath for some days.
- Alkaline diet.
- Seek help from smoking cessation center.
- Change your company of smoker's spend more time with non smokers.
- Try nicotine replacement therapy: it consists of nicotine in a very low dose but devoid of harmful effects of smoking cigarette, it reduces craving to smoke. It is available in the forms like Gum, lozenges, Patch, Nasal spray and Inhaler.
- Use smoke free apps on your Smartphone-quit guide, and quit start are some useful apps for smokers willing to quit it.
- E cigarette: There is not enough evidence of the efficacy of e cigarettes yet, seek your physicians advice before considering this option.