Going up in smoke

Alarming Situation

Going up in smoke

The ‘World No Tobacco Day’ is observed on May 31 every year. It’s a day when doctors and hospitals go all out to send social messages and raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco on one’s health. Moreover, every year, one sees more and more youngsters falling into the trap of smoking. Many of these youngsters have their own explanation on how it does not lead to fatal diseases.

On ‘World No Tobacco Day’, Metrolife speaks to a few doctors in the City who clear all myths of smoking tobacco and speak about how one can easily kick the butt in style.

Many doctors say there are largely two categories of smokers –– those who consume tobacco directly in any form and those who consume it passively. “Both are equally harmful,” says Dr Shrinidhi Nathany, from Rajarajeshwari Hospital of Oncology. “Today, there are many ways and options to quit — counselling, smoking cessation programmes, nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medications. If one has a strong will to quit, it is possible to do so even without the help of these modes. A well-planned, ideal and customised combination of options greatly reduces the pain and discomfort of quitting that may prove intense during the initial few days or weeks,” she adds.

Dr Syed Wahuj, from the same hospital, chips in on how important it is for youngsters to be aware of the ill-effects of cigarette. “The effects of smoking are destructive and widespread. The toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several different ways,” he adds.
Getting to be a part of a ‘cool group’ is one of the biggest reasons that draws youngsters to smoking. Other factors like peer pressure, depression, and stressful environment also lead to smoking, say doctors.

“There are many who say that they don’t even remember why and when they started smoking. All they remember is someone passing on a cigarette for a puff and the addiction started,” says Vishal Rao, consultant oncologist – head and neck surgeon, Fortis Hospital.

While many young adults do manage to quit for a few weeks, they return to smoking in no time. So is it really that difficult to quit smoking? “It is no easy task. But a strong will and awareness during school days are very important. I always suggest youngsters to tell the smoker who tries to influence them, ‘There are cooler ways to die’,” says Vishal.

Myth-busters

1. Smoking cigarettes helps one lose weight.
Dr Vishal says, “You manage to lose one lung at a time!” He adds, “Cigarette kills appetite and also burns lung tissues, which eventually leads to weight loss.”

2. Smoking helps reduce stress.
“Once nicotine reaches the brain, it releases the adrenaline hormone which relaxes the brain. But it also harms the brain and makes the immune system weaker,” informs Dr Vishal.

3. Nicotine is not harmful to the body. It is the other components of a cigarette
that lead to cancer.
“This is not true at all. Nicotine reaches the brain in less than seven seconds of one inhaling it. Even the long term use of nicotine patches and gums can lead to cancer,” he avers.

Star Power

It has been two years since actor Tharun Chandra quit smoking and he is
extremely proud of it.

“I always wanted to quit smoking and when I got this film for which I had to stop smoking, I found it an apt way to test my willpower. It has been two years and I haven’t craved for a single puff since then,” he reveals.

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