Dr. Gangi Reddy T.K., Consultant – Pulmonary Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur road
Smoking cigarettes is associated with the main cause of death, and its growing importance especially in the developing countries. Nicotine delivery system is mainly affected by smoking which also leads to the damage of airways, blood vessels and lungs in the human respiratory system. Tobacco is a cause for many respiratory and life taking diseases like lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Stroke, Liver cancer and etc.
The most preferred way of consuming tobaccos by Indians is through smoking, Tobacco smoke can be incredibly harmful to your health as cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients, many of which also found in cigars and hookahs. According to many Lung related researchers, when cigarettes burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals in our body. Where many of these chemicals are poisonous, out of which around 70 chemicals are linked to cancer.
One of the prime ingredients in tobacco is nicotine which acts as a mood-altering drug that reaches your brain in mere seconds and makes you feel more energized for a short span of time. But as that effect starts to fade off slowly, the smoker tends to feel tired and crave for more. Nicotine is extremely habit-forming, which is why people find smoking so difficult to quit smoking.
Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, which restricts the blood flow, and the same restriction over time damages the blood vessels and cause peripheral artery disease. It might be noted here that smoking also raises blood pressure, and can weaken blood vessel walls, increasing which raises the risk of stroke. Along with this, excess intake of nicotine affects the blood flow in the genital areas of both men and women. This can possibly lead to decreased sexual desire in both men and women.
If you’re an avid smoker and you are somehow off nicotine for few days, the physical withdrawal of nicotine tends to impact your body which makes you feel anxious, irritated, depressed and also causes headaches and insomnia.
Tips that can help you quit smoking:
- For many people who smoke, it is difficult to quit smoking even after knowing the dangers of smoking. As cigarette has become a major part of their everyday routine. But still, experts suggest smokers to quit smoking by indulging themselves in mind diverting activities.
- Replace the nicotine your body, and the best way to do this is through Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) which are much safer forms of killing your urge of nicotine than cigarettes. These therapies include: Nicotine patches, Chewing gums, inhalers.
- For the mental and physical betterment, start undergoing acupuncture and practice meditation
- Along with low-nicotine treatments, support therapies inclusive of counseling and support groups also can help to in fighting against the habit
Other than these smokers are prone to respiratory infections like:
- Irritation in the windpipe (trachea) and larynx which is the voice box.
- Lung irritation and damage caused due to the impairment of the lungs which further leads to growth of poisonous substances.
- Air sacs of the lungs could be permanently damaged.
- Lung infection such as wheezing and coughing can be at an increased rate
- Decrease in overall life span
- More prone to various cancers and tumors.
To avoid all these, it is always better if one quits smoking though it is difficult. Certain changes in lifestyle can be helpful and taking up a new healthy hobby can be a path to fight this ill habit.