Among the different types of cancers, lung cancer is one of the most prevalent. Lung cancer is responsible for one out of every five cancer-related fatalities worldwide, and the most common cause of lung cancer is smoking.
Most smokers started while they were young adults, either as a result of peer pressure or as a result of modelling themselves after a parent or older sibling. Almost none of them intended it to become an addiction, but quitting the habit became more difficult as time went on. Although most smokers know nicotine is harmful to their health, many are unaware of how much it harms their bodies.
Effects of smoking
Smoking, on the surface, not only makes a person look sick, but it also makes them appear older. Cigarettes and beedis contain tobacco, which causes yellow stains on teeth and nails. It also reduces blood flow, resulting in dry skin and premature wrinkles. As a result, the person appears to be considerably older than they are.
On a deeper level, however, the impacts of smoking are far more detrimental. Tobacco-related malignancies account for half of all cancers in men in India. As a result, tobacco is the most significant avoidable cancer cause.
Cancers caused by smoking
While lung cancer is the most common cancer caused by smoking, it is not the only type of cancer that tobacco can cause. Cancers of the cervix, head and neck, stomach, kidney, bladder, pancreas, and bone marrow are also caused by it. Asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), eye issues, cataracts, heart problems, high cholesterol, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and early menopause are all caused by smoking.
Financial effects of smoking
The mortality rate of smokers is three times higher than that of nonsmokers. As a result, smoking reduces your life expectancy while also lowering the quality of your remaining years by exposing you to a variety of ailments and weakening your immune system.
Furthermore, you are not the only one affected by your smoking habit. Smoking has an impact on household budgets. According to one report, smoking just five cigarettes a day might add up to over one crore INR in expenses by the time you retire. Secondhand smoking can harm your family’s health, especially the health of small children, and can even cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other illnesses.
What happens if you stop smoking?
All of the risks mentioned above can be lessened once you stop smoking. The following is an estimate of how long it will take for your health to improve:
- Your pulse rate and blood pressure will decline within 20 minutes.
- Carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal after 12 hours.
- Your lung function improves after 12 weeks.
- Your chances of developing heart disease are cut in half within a year.
- Within five years, your chances of having a stroke decrease.
- Your chances of developing lung cancer are cut in half within ten years.
Quitting smoking may not be the most uncomplicated goal you set for yourself, but it will undoubtedly be one of the most significant steps toward bettering your and your loved ones’ quality of life.
Advice and tips to quit smoking
Once you’ve decided to make this shift, you can take a few actions to make the transition go more smoothly.
1. Make a list of your reasons for quitting
Consider why you need to quit. Make sure you understand how important this is to you because the road ahead may not be easy. Write down your reason(s) and keep them somewhere you can see them whenever you need to be motivated.
2. Recognize potential triggers
A trigger is any incident or time of day that makes you want to smoke the most. Knowing what your triggers are will assist you in avoiding or dealing with them. It will also help you mentally prepare yourself to be focused at those moments.
3. Set a deadline for quitting and begin planning
Prepare yourself for the process of quitting. Set a date after which you will no longer smoke, no matter how intense the impulse to do so is. Remove all leftover tobacco products and related equipment, such as lighters and ashtrays, from your house, workplace, and car.
4. Seek medical assistance
There are things available to assist you with quitting smoking. Consult your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy and other medications that can help you make this transition.
5. Locate a source of diversion
The first few weeks may be the most difficult. It would be ideal if you could locate an appropriate distraction to keep you occupied throughout these weeks as your body adjusts. A new interest that engrosses your attention could be beneficial.
6. Give yourself a reward
Reward yourself on each successful day you do not light up, depending on what makes you happy. It might be a tasty treat or a new dress to express your gratitude for making this shift.
Additional help to quit smoking
If you cannot quit on your own, smoke cessation clinics and rehabs can assist you. Having a conversation with someone who has successfully quit smoking may inspire you. Consider chatting with someone who has developed cancer due to their smoking habit.
The Indian government provides a toll-free helpline number for anyone seeking assistance in quitting smoking. You can get free counselling and advice by calling 1800-11-2356. Calls in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, or Malayalam are forwarded to a section managed by NIMHANS (Bengaluru) for counselling and guidance.