Smoking kills - This is what you need to know

Ryan Fernando - Smoking kills - This is what you need to know

2024-03-16 03:13:58

In India, there are almost 27 crore Indians, above the age of 15 years, who are smokers (source)

Tobacco accounts for more than 1.2 million deaths. Smoking accounts for 1 million deaths, secondhand smoke for 240 thousand deaths, and chewing tobacco for 35 thousand deaths. 

Ischemic heart disease (IHD), COPD, and Stroke are the top 3 causes of death in India where tobacco is responsible for 354.7 thousand or 20% of total IHD deaths, 424.7 thousand or 47% of all COPD deaths, and 98.5 thousand or 14% of all Stroke deaths in 2019.

Effect of smoking on health

Tobacco consists of almost 5000 harmful chemicals that enter your body when you smoke, and about 50 of them are known to produce cancer. These chemicals spread throughout the body and reach your vital organs such as the heart and brain merely in 10 seconds of your first puff, harming your body.

Smoking can lead to -

  • Cancer - Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, Cervical cancer, Bladder Cancer, Liver Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Uterus Cancer, and Kidney Cancer

  • Skin - Premature wrinkles and aging, Poor wound healing

  • Teeth - Gum disease

  • Respiratory System - Increased risk of bacterial infection, Increased risk of viral, Infection, Increased risk of Tuberculosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Increased risk of Asthma, Cardiovascular System, Increased risk of Stroke, Increased risk of Heart Failure, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Non-insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

  • Reproduction - Infertility, Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Why do you get addicted to smoking?

Smoking tobacco is highly addictive because of its Nicotine content. It releases a ‘feel-good’ chemical in your brain called dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that uplifts your mood, helps you concentrate better, and provides energy. But the effect is not long-lasting. As soon as there is a drop in nicotine in your body, you tend to crave that same effect. Keep reading to find out how you can quit the addiction.

How to quit smoking?

De-addiction appears to be difficult, but with the right guidance and sincere efforts, you can quit smoking.

Find your reason

You need to find your motivation for quitting smoking. The reason can be to protect your family and friends from passive smoking or to prevent diseases such as lung cancer, bronchitis, heart disease, and other lung diseases. You need to choose a concrete reason that you can stick to.

Set a quit date

Set a realistic quit date and gradually taper your smoking habit. You can fix particular days or hours in which you won’t smoke. If you have the habit of smoking while working, then don’t smoke on weekends and gradually quit smoking completely.

Let your family and friends know about your decision.

Support from family and friends will play a major role in this process so tell your family and friends about your decision so that they can motivate you throughout the journey of quitting smoking.

Identify your triggers

Identifying your triggers can take a few days, and for that, you can keep a craving journal in which you can note the time when you smoked, what made you smoke, and what were you feeling at that time.

Avoid common triggers such as -

Alcohol- If you prefer smoking while drinking, then try opting for non-alcoholic drinks or try munching nuts to get rid of your temptation.

Post-meal- Some people smoke after having their meal. If you are one of them, then you can take fruit, chocolate, or a sweet dish after your meal to get rid of your cravings.

Other smokers- If you smoke with other people, you can ask your friends if you have taken the decision to quit smoking. Probably they will also help you and cooperate with you by not smoking when they hang out with you.

Manage triggers

  • Chew on something- Chew carrot, gums, sunflower seeds, hard candy, celery, nuts, or something crunchy that will satisfy you.

  • Distract your mind- Distract your mind in your free time by reading books, listening to music, squeezing balls, and playing video games.

  • Increase physical activities- Walking, running, squats, and jumping jacks are good exercises, to begin with. At the office, you may get up from your desk, move around, and use stairs instead of escalators.

  • Stay hydrated- Drinking water helps you curb your cravings and minimize withdrawal symptoms.

  • Take rest- Find out alternative ways to relax your mind and body, such as meditation, exercises, reading a book, and taking a hot shower.

  • Keep lighter at bay- Don’t keep lighter or matchboxes in your pocket.

Take professional help

You may opt for professional help to make your path easier. There are various de-addiction programs that include-


Nicotine replacement therapies- Consult your doctor about anti-smoking medications. There are nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine lozenges, gum, nasal spray, or inhalers that can provide small amounts of nicotine gradually throughout the day. It decreases your urge to smoke.

Non-nicotine medications- Some medications help you quit smoking without nicotine.

Behavioral therapy- Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective way to help individuals who are motivated to quit smoking. It deals with the management of trigger factors such as anxiety, addiction, and depression to enable the patient to get rid of triggers.

Motivational enhancement therapies- Patients who are reluctant to quit smoking may get encouragement with motivational enhancement therapies, which involve 5Rs.

Relevance- You are encouraged to figure out how quitting smoking is relevant for you personally.

Risks- You are made aware of the consequences of smoking.

Rewards- You are asked about the possible benefits of smoking you believe in.

Roadblocks- Next step is to identify the barriers that will hinder your way of quitting smoking.

Repetition- Motivation therapy is repeated every time there is an interaction with the clinician so that the reasons for quitting smoking get imbibed and you become motivated to quit smoking.

Nicotine Withdrawal

Quitting smoking makes you feel a bit different than usual, but it won’t do you any harm. The withdrawal symptoms will diminish gradually and won’t affect you provided you don’t smoke again.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms are -

  • Urge of smoking

  • Irritation

  • Restlessness

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Hunger/ Weight gain

  • Anxiousness

You can manage these withdrawal symptoms by following the tips mentioned above, and you may also opt for professional help to make it easy,

Quitting smoking can be a difficult journey, but it is not impossible. Moreover, the rewards are phenomenal so if you or your loved ones want to quit smoking, consult our specialist now and take your first step towards a smoke-free life.

What’s in tobacco smoke?


Tar is a sticky-brown substance that collects in the lungs when tobacco smoke is breathed in. It can stain fingers and teeth a yellow-brown color.

Tar contains cancer-causing chemicals. It also increases the risk of lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Carbon Monoxide

Tobacco smoke contains a poisonous gas called carbon monoxide. You can’t smell it, see it, or taste it.

Carbon monoxide stops the blood from carrying as much oxygen. This means organs of the body don’t get the amount of oxygen they need, and the heart must work harder to supply the body with oxygen. This increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.


Nicotine is a very addictive chemical. Most people who smoke don't continue to do so out of choice – it’s because they have a nicotine addiction.

Nicotine does not cause cancer. People have used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) safely for many years to help them stop smoking. NRT helps people deal with cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Others chemical -

  • 1,3-Butadiene is used in rubber manufacturing

  • Arsenic is a poison

  • Benzene is an industrial solvent, made from crude oil

  • Beryllium is used in nuclear reactors

  • Cadmium is used in batteries

  • Chromium is used to manufacture dye, paint, and car alloys

  • Formaldehyde is used in science labs and mortuaries

  • Polonium-21 is a highly radioactive element

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are a group of dangerous chemicals found in oil and coal, including benzo(a)pyrene

Foods to help you cope with smoking

Green Tea - it contains many antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds may even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation.

A 2018 study, concluded that those who drank at least 2 cups of green tea per day had better lung function than those who drank none. (source)

Turmeric - it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit lung health. Incorporate it into your diet by adding it to soups, stews, or smoothies. Consider making golden milk with turmeric, ginger, and milk for a tasty and potentially healthful beverage. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. (source)

Nicotex gum - The nicotine gum comes in two strengths (2 mg and 4 mg). The right dose for you depends on when you usually have your first cigarette each day and how much you are currently smoking. If you have your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking, you should consider starting with the 4 mg dose. Over time (typically between 8 and 12 weeks), you can lower the dose and how often you use it until you stop using the gum completely. (source)

Breathing exercises (source - 1, 2)

Pursed Lip Breathing:-

This exercise reduces the number of breaths you take and keeps your airways open longer. More air can flow in and out of your lungs so you can be more physically active. To practice it, simply breathe in through your nose and breathe out at least twice as long through your mouth, with pursed lips.

Belly Breathing, aka Diaphragmic Breathing:-

As with pursed lip breathing, start by breathing in through your nose. Pay attention to how your belly fills up with air. You can put your hands lightly on your stomach, or place a tissue box on it, so you can be aware of your belly rising and falling. Breathe out through your mouth at least two to three times as long as you inhale. Be sure to relax your neck and shoulders as you retrain your diaphragm to take on the work of helping to fill and empty your lungs.

Mindfulness Breathing:-

The focus of mindful breathing is paying attention to the experience of breathing and gently bringing attention back to the breath, irrespective of the breathing technique. This focus on breathing is a way of anchoring attention to present-moment experiences

Click Here for a video where you can test your lung strength and capacity.

For a nutrition plan to help you quit your smoking habits, get in touch with me - 9256363925, limited slots only!

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