In the present days of Drug addiction and Abuse menace, Smoking, though considered to be a sort of minor vice, nevertheless can be the beginning also in the form of an entry to some other major vices leading to other addictions. Smoking, the act of inhaling the fumes from a burning substance, usually tobacco.
This 20th century phenomenon is a personal and environmental pollutant of major medical consequence. But since its origin there has never been an Antismoking campaign as strong as it is today, particularly so in the western countries. Research and Scientists have shown the world that smoking is one of the major Health Hazard of today. In industrialized nations Smoking is the principal cause of Preventable Diseases, Disability and Premature Death.
Unfortunately, in our country a common man?s awareness of smoking and its risk is very poor, In the interest of community health and service; I consider it an honorable duty to impart the basic knowledge of Cigarette smoking and its consequences to smokers and public at large.
In almost all the Drug Addicts one common thing can be found that they all were basically Smokers First and then shifted to other potent drugs, that?s why I feel that apart from the efforts of De- addiction, it is necessary to strive against basic smoking if one is really interested in working against drugs.
The adverse effects of tobacco smoking totally outnumber those of other atmospheric pollutants. In the European Union, disease attributable to smoking accounts for approximately 15 per cent of all deaths. Tobacco smoking has consistently been referred to as the single most important preventable cause of premature death.
In most countries, the percentage of people who smoke is on the decline, but in recent years the number of young women who smoke, particularly in Western Europe, has been on the increase. There has also been an increase in children who smoke.
II SMOKING AND DISEASE
Smoking can be divided into two categories: active (actively smoking oneself) and passive (inhaling smoke because of proximity to a smoker). As per WHO study 9% Boys and 6% Girls of teenage group in India are smokers. Most of the male starts smoking at teenage. Cigarette smoking is the prime, but not the only, culprit; pipe and cigar smoking, while less hazardous than cigarette smoking, are not without risk. Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco, tobacco pouches, and snuff dipping) has now emerged as a major cause of oral disease and death from oral cancer.
The average 20-a-day smoker is estimated to inhale tobacco smoke about 70,000 times a year. It is therefore not surprising that, with such abuse, a number of diseases, many of them fatal, are associated with smoking. These include cancer (particularly of the lungs, larynx, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, cervix, kidney, and bladder); coronary artery disease; cerebrovascular disease (strokes, intracerebral hemorrhages); and COAD (chronic obstructive airways disease, comprising chronic bronchitis and emphysema).
It has been found that life expectancy of a 30 year old Smoker who smokes 15 cigarettes per day, is shortened by more than 5 years. Clinical data from several countries show that smokers have 70% higher Death rate than non – smokers. The age group of 45 – 54 is most vulnerable to it. Approximately a Million deaths occur every year due to smoking.
III COMPONENTS OF TOBACCO SMOKE
Cigarette smoking is an aerosol produced by the incomplete combustion of tobacco leaf by the burning cone. Burning cigarette temperature varies from 30 degree Celsius at mouth piece to 900 degree Celsius at the burning end. The composition of tobacco smoke when inhaled has been the subject of much investigation. Smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals; 43 of them are carcinogenic (cancer promoting). 92 – 95% of total weight of smoke is in gas form. Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon dioxide forms 85%. The remaining gases, uncondensed vapors and droplets of small particles are of chief medical importance. Main constituents of smoke are Tar, Nicotine, and Carbon Monoxide. Nicotine is highly toxic and addictive comparable to heroin and cocaine. It stimulates as well as depresses the Nervous system. It increases the Rate, Output, Muscle Force, Excitability and Oxygen consumption of Heart. Cancerous substances present in Tar which initiates Cancer formation. These include chemicals such as polyneuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Ben Zylpyrine), Tar (Trace Elements), Beta – Naphthylamines (Hydrazine), and also N – Nitrosamines (Vinyl Chloride). There are some substances which act as Lung Irritants; they cause immediate coughing, spasm and obstruction in breathing passages. It also contains cellular irritants such as ammonia, formaldehyde, and oxides of nitrogen. Carbon monoxide, which avidly binds to hemoglobin and reduces its oxygen-carrying capacity, is also present.
IV CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Coronary heart disease, particularly myocardial infarction (heart attack), is the primary cause of death related to cigarette smoking. This is caused by atherosclerosis (deposition of lipids, a type of fat, and fibrous tissue in the walls of arteries), one of the major risk factors for which is smoking. However, cardiovascular deaths are declining in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
V LUNG CANCER
This is closely followed by lung cancer, which is directly causally related to smoking. The disease carries a greatly elevated relative risk for development when comparing smokers and non-smokers. The risk of mortality is dose-related: the more pack-years (the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years of smoking), the higher is the risk of the disease developing. Smoking is related to other type of cancers also namely – Cancer of Mouth, Pharynx, Food Pipe or Esophagus, Urinary Bladder and cancer of Pancreas all are associated with smoking.
VI PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE
Peripheral vascular disease, which affects the feet and lower limbs, is more prevalent in smokers. Like coronary heart disease, it is caused by the development of atherosclerosis in the blood vessels of a limb. In severe cases this may lead to amputation of a foot or digit because of gangrene (death of tissues). The risk of developing peripheral vascular disease is again dose-related, and may decrease once the patient stops smoking.
For routine operations, smokers are at a higher risk of developing post-operative complications, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which can lead to pulmonary embolism and sometimes death.
VII EFFECTS OF PASSIVE SMOKING
The effects of tobacco smoke on the unborn child are now well catalogued. Many studies have shown an association between cigarette smoking and the increased incidence of babies having low birth weight, spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Furthermore, certain complications of pregnancy, some of which may be life-threatening (such as raised blood pressure), are also associated with smoking.
Involuntary smoking exposure (passive smoking) is detrimental to the health of adults and increasingly, children, who, according to recent studies, run a higher risk of developing lung problems. From the data to date, it appears that passive smoking carries a 1.5 relative risk of developing cancer of the lung as compared to non-smokers. There are also increased risks of heart attack and cerebrovascular diseases.
The fatality is related to the age of starting the smoking, number of cigarettes consumption and amount of smoke inhaled. It varies:-
- If smoking has been started at early age.
- To the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
- If smokers inhale the smoke than those who don?t inhale.
Smokers are found to have some other additional characteristic features:
- They drink more Alcohol, Coffee or Tea.
- Their body weight and Blood Pressure may be slightly less.
- Their Heart rate is slightly faster.
- They have impaired exercise tolerance and Impaired Immune system.
- They have higher Sodium Thiocynite concentration in blood.
- They have low ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol.
- Female smokers have an early Menopause and frequent Miscarriages.
Smoking in Females: As such smoking delays the conception; pregnant ladies not only harm themselves by smoking but also the Fetus, Premature deaths and affects the development of baby.
- It has been observed that the children of the smoking parents pick up smoking at much early age than the children of non-smoking parents.
- Children suffering from Respiratory diseases e.g. Recurrent Cough, Bronchitis and Asthmatic episodes are far more prevalent in the families where one or more people smoke – may be the husband, wife, uncles or other family members etc. smoke at home.
- Would you like to see your children suffering because of your smoking?
VIII EFFECTS OF GIVING UP
Cessation of smoking is slowly followed by a reduction in excess mortality. After ten years the risk of premature death is more than halfway towards that of someone who has never smoked. The increased risk of lung and laryngeal cancer begins to decline after one to two years. There is a prompt reduction in the risk of developing a heart attack after one year of stopping smoking. It is also believed that the risk of developing COAD is reduced.
Giving up smoking at any stage is always REWRDING in the form of minimizing the damage done to the Respiratory System or otherwise.
Most of the smokers are aware of the hazards of smoking partially. Many wish to give up the habit but feel unable to do so by themselves for one reason or the other. There is a very large group of smokers who have not taken the initiative to stop Smoking; they initially need some advice and encouragement from their doctor. As motivation is the prime thing in the treatment of any addiction.
Physician is the best who may convince a patient or smoker in a routine talk because most sophisticated therapeutic methods are useless unless the patient is co-operative. Until and unless a person is motivated to stop smoking, none can approach them. We should make it routine to ask a patient regarding his smoking habit.
Remember it is the psycho – social forces that lead to initiation of smoking & later on drug dependence & psychological factors keep it going. I believe that people can stop and they would like to stop, once they have changed their preconceived ideas about smoking, about themselves, about what it means to quit. It is your own mind that holds you back & that only your own mind could help you succeed. This works because of miracles of human mind, the more we use it and stretch it, the better it works and expands. Remember it is the state of mind that decides the state of body.
Advice for smokers to combat the habit – The Dos and Don?ts:
- Why Do You Smoke? Ask yourself this question each time you smoke. Answer honestly to yourself.
- Don?t smoke in company. May smoke when alone.
- Don?t keep a pack of cigarettes, purchase only one when need to smoke.
- Don?t ask anybody e.g. peon or anybody else to get you a cigarette from the market, Walk down always to get the cigarette each time you feel the need for one as it will have an impact on you.
- Don?t throwaway the stub after smoking try to keep the stubs of the cigarettes in a transparent Jar and look at it & count them at the end of Day, Week or Month etc. (depending on the number of cigarettes you smoke) and analyze the worth of effort, time and money spent on all these STUBS of cigarettes. Then think of the same effort, time and money spent on something for your family and children.
- Do try to spend maximum time with Non – smokers.
- Do use Hookah instead of cigarettes. Reduce the quantity of tobacco in hookah.
- Do feel free to talk to your physician regarding any problem related to smoking habit.
On stopping or reducing smoking habit there may be some withdrawl signs and symptoms such as : – Anxiety, Nervousness, Fatigue, Irritability, Lack of Concentration, Distention of the Abdomen, Excessive Salivation, Disturbance in Sleep, Variations in Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate.
But these all last for a short while and simultaneously according to totality of symptoms some Homoeopathic Remedies can be used with great success.
For Fear of Failure – Psorinum, Lac.Can.
Caladium: – It modifies the craving for tobacco, and gradually develops aversion to tobacco.
Daphnae Indica: – For people who have craving for smoke and tobacco.
Aranea Diadema:- It is the remedy for people having headaches which is better by smoking in open air.
Tarantula Cubena:- Where patient is better in general by smoking.
Ignatia:- Headache is worse on smoking or even at the smell of tobacco. When sinking in pit of stomach is better by deep breath, frequent sighing.
Nux Vomica :- Bad taste due to tobacco, Dyspepsia and constipation.
Phosphorus :- For tobacco Heart with sexual weakness.
Kali Phos :- For the desire only when the patient feels the urge to smoke he may be advised to chew a few tablets of Kali Phos 6x. Patients report to feel lesser craving. Associated sign and symptoms are Irritability, Loss of control, Complete Exhaustion, Can?t do anything, tired head with gone sensation in pit of stomach.
Tabaccum :- For constricted sensation in the chest and constant hemming. Before first smoking gone feeling at pit of stomach. Nausea especially in the morning before breakfast.
Carbo Veg :- For excessive distention and gases in the abdomen, with eructations which relieve for a while. Cold and hypertensive. Pulse slow and weak.
Menthol Tablets :- To reduce the desire of smoking when Kali Phos fails . If you really want to give up the habit of smoking as discussed are the few remedies. Above all your own willingness is required to give up the habit of smoking. One must know well that why one want to change and give up this habit, visualize the end result, use the help, take small steps, reward oneself and be persistent.
If you enjoy smoking the real pleasure of non smoking you cannot anticipate. You shall feel free both physically and emotionally. It is your chance to improve the quality of your present life more importantly because quitting is an exercise in self improvement and self mastery and when you stop, surely you will find it much easier to other goals.
I am very glad to say that quite a good number of my patients and people have already given up the Smoking & Gutka etc. after my persuasion and educating them in the camps we organize at OVIHAMS every month. OVIHAMS Medical Center is always ready to be instrumental in helping to quit the habit of Smoking & Tobacco Chewing in case of need to anyone.
Prof. Dr. A.K.Gupta
Recipient-International Hahnemann Award of the Millennium ; Lord Dhanwantri Award
Member Homoeopathic Advisory Committee Govt. of NCT Delhi
Author – The Problem Child and Homoeopathy
J-158, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi-110027. Ph. 25101989.
OVIHAMS: RL- 1,GangaRamVatikaTilak Nagar, N.D-110018,Ph 25430368,25936960
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