Dr Priya Rani
Jammu and Kashmir (UT) is among the four Indian states with the highest prevelance of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). One in five or 20.8% of J&K people smoke. The UT ranks the sixth highest among Indian states in smoking habits behind Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram. The prevelance of smoking is higher in individual older than 34 years of age compared with older age. Current smoking is more common in economically weaker sections. With in 10 seconds of your first puff the toxic chemicals in tobbaco smoke reach your brain, heart and other organs.
Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco smoke that causes people who smoke to continue to smoke. Alongwith nicotine, people who smoke inhale about 7,000 other chemicals in cigaratte smoke. Tobacco smoke contains over 70 known cancer causing chemicals. Highly damaging components of tobacco smoke include :
Tar : Tar is sticky brown, stains teeth, finger nails and lung tissue.
Carbon monoxide : Poisonous gas, its is odourless and colourless and in large doses, quickly causes death because it takes the place of oxygen in blood.
Oxidising chemicals : They react with cholesterol, leading to build up of fatty materials on artery wall.
Metals : Tobacco smoke contains several metals that can cause cancer including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, lead and nickel.
Radioactive compounds : Contains radioactive compounds that are known to be carcinogenic.
Second Hand Smoke (SHS) has the same harmful chemicals that smokers inhale. SHS causes lung cancer even in those people who never smoked, it affects not only smokers but family and friends around.
Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of health problems for developing babies including pre term birth, low birth weight, birth defects in mouth and lip.
In general health smoking makes your blood thicker and increases chances of clot formation. Smoking increases your blood pressure and heart rate making your heart work harder than normal. Smokers have an increased chance of getting stomach cancer or ulcers. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin. If you smoke your skin ages more quickly. Smoking can cause your bone to become weak and brittle. If you smoke you are more likely to have a stroke. Cough cold, wheezing, asthma are just the start. It causes male impotence as it damages blood vessel that supply blood to penis. For women, smoking reduces fertility. Moreover it keeps bad smelling clothes and hair.
Smoking and other tobbacco products can lead to gum diseases by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. It leads to bad breath, tooth discolouration, reduced saliva formation, increased loss of bone, increased risk of developing oral cancer, smoking leads to tooth decay. Moreover it leads to partial or complete failure of most complex dental treatment, delayed a healing process following tooth extraction, lower success rate of dental procedures.
All forms of tobacco ciagrattes, pipes, cigars, hookahs and smokeless tobacco are health hazard. Smokers usually can’t compete with non smokers.
Quitting is good for your mouth and your health. Tobacco use can lead to tobacco/Nicotine depedance and serious health problems. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoke related diseases. It often requires repeated treatments but there are helpful treatments and resources for quitting. Smokers can and do quit smoking. Quitting lowered risk for lung cancer and many other type of cancer. Reduced risk of heart diseases, stroke and peripheral vascular diseases. Minute after your last cigaratte your body starts healing. 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Within 48 hours of quitting the nerve endings begin to grow, your sense of taste and smell begin to improve. 2 weeks or 3 months after quitting your blood flow improves and your lungs work better. Your blood circulation improves within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking. Quitting smoking improves circulation, increases oxygen levels and lowers inflammation. It may take a few years after quitting but you will lower your risk of cancers.
How to Quit Smoking : Once you have decided to stop smoking you are ready to set a quit date. Quit abruptly or continue smoking right up until your quit date and then stop. Quit gradually or reduce your cigratte intake, slowly until your quit date and then stop. Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or other medicines. Plan to attend a stop smoking group. Stock up on oral substitutes such as hard candy, sugar less gum, carrot sticks, coffee stirrers, straws and toothpick. Set up a support system such as family member that has successfully quit and is happy to help you. On your quit day-do not smoke at all, stay busy, begin use of NRT therapy, drink more water and juice, drink less or no alcohol, Remember the 4 Ds- Delay, Deep breathe, Drink water, Do something else.Try alternative therapies.
Side affects of quitting smoking can be extreme for some people, many feel they have flee, when they are going through withdrawal, headache, nausea, tingling in hands and feet, coughing, sore throat, dry mouth, increased apetite, weight gain, constipation, anxiety, depression, anger.
(The author is a BDS)
Dr Priya Rani