Quit Tobacco Today: Discover The Instant Benefits And Break Free From Addiction

Quit Tobacco Today: Discover The Instant Benefits And Break Free From Addiction

The primary reason why tobacco products are so addictive is nicotine, a potent psychoactive substance

Shloka ShuklaUpdated: Sunday, May 26, 2024, 02:05 PM IST
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Pic: Freepik

World No Tobacco Day was created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw attention to the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce its consumption.

What makes it addictive

The primary reason why tobacco products are so addictive is nicotine, a potent psychoactive substance. “Nicotine triggers dopamine levels in the brain which has a ‘feel- good’ effect, stimulating the brain and making it habituated to tobacco. It changes the way our brains function, leading to an addiction,” said Dr Shekhar Salkar, Oncosurgeon and the President of National Organisation For Tobacco Eradication.

In India, several socio- cultural factors contribute to the high rates of tobacco consumption. Tobacco is often perceived as a social norm, particularly in rural areas and among certain communities. Marketing strategies including sponsorships and advertisements exacerbate the problem. Additionally, the lack of stringent enforcement of anti-tobacco laws allows the continued proliferation of tobacco products. Apart from direct societal influence, personal reasons like stress, peer pressure, and family history of addiction, also contribute to this deadly habit. 

Overcoming addiction

“The fight against tobacco involves both mental and physical aspects. Mentally, it requires education, awareness, and changing attitudes and behaviours related to tobacco use. It involves implementing policies, regulations, and interventions to reduce tobacco consumption, such as advertising restrictions, taxation, and targeted cessation programs,” said Dr Salkar. The primary goal of cessation centres is to provide comprehensive support throughout their quitting journey, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

Certain environmental cues, tension, social situations, or emotional triggers can evoke intense cravings for tobacco, leading to relapse. “In such situations, it's important to be proactive and take steps to regain control. Take some time to reflect on what triggered the relapse and try to identify patterns. Remind yourself of your reasons for quitting and recommit to your goal. Identify new strategies or resources that may better support your efforts,” said Dr Salkar.

Reaching out to friends and family, or joining a support group for encouragement can also provide you with a certain sense of accountability.

Conclusion 

Cigarettes, bidi, gutka, and khaini, the grim reality of these substances is certainly a complex issue. While there have been strides in policy and public health interventions, a more comprehensive approach involving stricter enforcement, greater public awareness, and support systems for cessation is crucial. World No Tobacco Day serves as a vital platform for encouraging individuals and fostering a broader understanding of the health risks.

Quirky ways to quit tobacco 

All over the world, people use offbeat and unconventional techniques to fight their tobacco addiction and lead a healthier lifestyle. These quirky and diverse customs highlight the nuances of the global fight against this deadly substance.

Bittermelon Juice

In some parts of China, people use bittermelon juice for aversion therapy. The intense bitterness of the juice creates a strong repulsion to smoking when sipped before lighting a cigarette.

Herbal Cigarettes
In India, herbal cigarettes made from a blend of medicinal herbs are used as a substitute for tobacco cigarettes. These herbal alternatives are marketed as being less harmful and helpful in breaking the habit.

Hypnosis
Hypnosis involves guiding individuals into a deeply relaxed state and using suggestions to change their behaviour and perception of smoking. It is used in many countries as a method to quit smoking.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a traditional medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Some people use it to reduce nicotine cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Snus
Sweden has a unique approach to tobacco reduction with the use of snus, a moist smokeless tobacco product placed under the upper lip. While still containing nicotine, snus is considered less harmful than smoking and has helped many people reduce or quit smoking.

Nicotine-Infused Toothpicks
In the US, some people use nicotine-infused toothpicks as a discrete way to curb cravings. These toothpicks release small amounts of nicotine when chewed, helping to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioural Contracts
In Japan, some people create behavioural contracts with friends or family members. These contracts include rewards for milestones achieved in quitting and penalties for setbacks, leveraging social support and accountability. 

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