World No Tobacco Day: Here is why this lockdown is the best time to quit smoking, gutkha and khaini
"Lockdown in place, shops being closed, if one can manage 2-3 weeks without smoking, then why not forever?"
As we observe The World No Tobacco Day to create awareness on harmful effects of tobacco use and discourage its use on Sunday amid lockdown in place in the wake of coronavirus-caused Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Ravi Gaur, Chief Operating Officer, Lab Director Oncquest labs, is of the strong view that this lockdown is the best time to quit tobacco.
"Lockdown in place, shops being closed, if one can manage 2-3 weeks without smoking, then why not forever? Today is the best time to quit smoking. People are now worried about immunity, respiratory issues and are willing to adopt health practices. The most appropriate time to launch a drive,’ Smoking ko karo na’ and to make people aware of the harmful effects of tobacco," says Dr Gaur.
"One needs a powerful, yet strong personal reason to quit smoking. Lockdown means spending most of the time with the family, dear ones and in isolation. By smoking, they are exposing their families more to second-hand smoke. Many times, smoking, is a social activity among friends and colleagues. With social distancing in place, gatherings being banned, it’s most opportune time to “Kick the butt”. And if you want to embark on a journey of quitting this harmful habit, the conditions could not be more conducive. About 55% of smokers and nearly 50% of smokeless tobacco users are interested in quitting the habit or plan to do so, as per the GATS report. The report adds, it is estimated that more than 1.3 million people in India die of health issues caused by tobacco use every year and of them, 1 million deaths can be attributed to smoking and the rest to the use of smokeless tobacco products. The more popular tobacco products in India are smokeless. Khaini and gutka, followed by paan, tobacco, products for oral application and paan masala," adds Dr Gaur.
Dr Gaur further suggests, "During COVID-19, times when the infected person spits, the saliva loaded with virus forms the droplets in the air and risks the entire population in the sphere of influence ..A public awareness drive and better indusial resolve, will help to reduce or even stop the use of tobacco products. Time to ban the tobacco! Smoking suppresses immunity, increases the risk of being infected with diseases related to respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 or tuberculosis. Smokers are susceptible as fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) come in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth."
"Smoking may raise the risk of Covid-19 by elevating enzymes that allow the coronavirus to gain access into lung cells. Smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may have elevated levels of an enzyme called ACE-2, which helps the virus enter cells in their lungs, where it replicates, a study published in the European Respiratory Journal. Quitting smoking brings heart beat turns normal in 20 mts, within a day blood levels of carbon monoxide fall, in few week you risk of getting heart attack reduces and finally over a long period of time you reduce risk of getting lung ,oral and other cancers," as per Dr Gaur.
"Lockdown time should be used to launch a nationwide campaign to rid India of tobacco – once and for all. The temporary ban on the selling of tobacco has come as a blessing in disguise. Use Lockdown to Knock down smoking! However, most smokers suffer from addiction, so a sudden unavailability is likely to plunge people into withdrawal. Thus, there is a need to have an infrastructure to support people through this difficult phase. There are many alternatives like nicotine patches or gums, but those are costly. A reduction in cost will ensure long term benefits and healthier nation. If you are determined and care for yourself and your loved ones, Keep trying to quit! You’ll eventually succeed," Dr Gaur concluded.
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