Are you smoking your way to Depression?

Are you smoking your way to Depression? 2340 1140 Quitx

Ever wondered why smoking and mental health go hand in hand?

Has your partner reached the point of wanting to quit smoking but needs a solid navigation path?

While we all know that quitting smoking increases our chances of living a healthy life, it somehow tends to appeal to us as the perfect quick fix for mood swings, stress, anxiety and depression. Smokers tend to harbour this common belief that smoking helps you relax. But in reality, all it does is increase your anxiety and tension, leading to depression in the long run.  

Studies have shown that while smoking is 100% detrimental to mental health, it also is a prime factor responsible for the increase in mortality rate due to depression. Smokers tend to be more prone to depression than non-smokers, attributing to two to three times higher rates of clinical depression in smokers than in non-smokers.

Why does smoking seem relaxing?

Smoking tends to increase your risk factor towards mental illnesses making you more prone to depression. This is because of the constant influx of nicotine interferes with certain pathways in the brain that regulate moods. Nicotine acts as a receptor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and ultimately stimulates the release of dopamine. Eventually, the brain becomes so dependent on the drug, that it no longer functions normally without it.

Smoking in a way encourages the brain to switch off its own mechanism of creating dopamine, urging people with hectic and stressful lives tend to instantly reach out for cigarettes as their mood lifter. However, 20-30 minutes after smoking your last cigarette, the nicotine withdrawal begins. This then leads to anxiety.  

When smokers haven’t had a cigarette for a while, the craving for another one makes them feel irritable and anxious. This makes them reach for a temporary fix by lighting up their next cigarette. So, smokers associate the improved mood with smoking. But in reality, it’s the very act of smoking itself that’s likely to have caused the anxiety in the first place.

Quitting: The magic potion for mental and physical health 

Kicking the Butt has a drastic positive impact on mental and physical health. In fact, quitting can be as effective as antidepressants as people with mental health problems are likely to feel much calmer and more positive, and have a better quality of life, after giving up smoking.

Quitting Smoking enables

  • Lower risk levels of anxiety, stress, and depression 
  • Better quality of life 
  • Improved Moods and mindset
  • Reduction in the dosage of strong mental health medication

5 ways to help you kick the butt for good 

  • Try smoking cessation aids  like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) 
  • Join a Quit smoking support group. Interacting with other smokers will help you realize you are not alone in this struggle. These groups also share a lot of information on which smoking aids work best for you and can provide valuable tips on how to manage cravings
  • Exercise is another great habit to adopt. Exercising helps release happy endorphins which stimulate your frame of mind for the good 
  • Seek the help of a counselor who can help you navigate your addiction patterns and behaviors that lead to it

Trying to help your partner ‘Kick the Butt’?

Trying to help your partner ‘Kick the Butt’? 2340 1140 quitx

Quitx gives you a lowdown on the task at hand and how to make it happen 

Has your partner reached the point of wanting to quit smoking but needs a solid navigation path?

The fact, that they have managed to reach this milestone of wanting to give up this life-threatening addiction, in itself is a huge deal. But just reaching this decision isn’t enough. To help them make this decision a reality and to actually go through the entire process takes a lot of willpower, loads of encouragement, and limitless support. As a partner, you should turn yourself into the ideal cheerleader, extending all your support to them towards achieving this life-changing goal. 

Here’s how you can be the perfect support system on their journey to better health:

  1. Rationalize with them 

 Studies and Research have proved that Nicotine may be just as addictive as cocaine and heroin making it tough for them to go cold turkey. Making them oblivious to the pain and stress, their habit can inflict on loved ones emotionally as well as financially owing to the habit of being hazardous as well as expensive.

Sit them down and break down the side effects, your partner’s addiction imposes on them as well as your family in a gentle way without coming on too strong: 

Here are a few ways to approach the subject:

  • Discuss and share with them how the habit isolates them from social situations that don’t allow smoking
  • Express your concern about wanting to live a long life with them 
  • Provide a cost analysis. Then, show them what your family could have with the money that’s spent on cigarettes over time, such as a vacation, new furniture, or a better car
  1. Find an appropriate aid 

If your partner is a heavy smoker, maybe helping him quit one step at a time using an aid, is actually a good idea. Research the aids available in the market and pick what suits your partner best. There is a huge variety to choose from like Patches, Gums, Lozenges, Nasal sprays, and Inhalers.

Help by making sure your partner has an adequate stock of the products by stocking up, so they don’t have to deal with running out of aids. Also, in spite of what they promise, always be aware that nicotine replacements, don’t always work. This can be discouraging for smokers, propelling relapses. In case of such a situation, help your partner check out other aids as an option or go visit a doctor about prescription alternatives. These alternatives alter brain chemicals rather than offering nicotine replacement.

3. Help them manage their withdrawal symptoms

One of the most common reasons why many smokers refrain from quitting is that they’re afraid of managing the withdrawal symptoms. Research shows that between 80 and 90 percent of smokers are physically addicted to nicotine. This sometimes leads to withdrawal symptoms surpassing cravings for cigarettes. Which could mean that your partner might still be going through withdrawal despite no longer craving nicotine. Being aware of this can help prepare you to expect withdrawal symptoms. 

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Emotion Instability
  • Reduced Heart Rate
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Weight Gain
  • Increased Appetite

Whatever the withdrawal symptom maybe, be a rock-solid support system and help them tide through this rough patch, one step at a time.

4. Make home a no smoking zone

Ensure that your home is a no-smoking zone. This will help them curtail consumption eventually. Given that every time they crave a cigarette, he’ll have to make an effort to leave his comfort zone to puff on a cigarette. Making the lure of a cigarette eventually lose its charm.

5. Help them track the trigger elements

Gift your partner a diary and monitor it on a daily basis if possible. Ask them to jot down every activity, mood or any trigger that prompts them to take a puff.

6. Come up with distractions

Distractions help battle cravings and withdrawal symptoms to a great extent. Find something your partner enjoys that can distract them from the cravings. Also, try to avoid going to places where there may be other smokers, such as concerts and bars.

Here are a few coping mechanisms that if cultivated can help ease the Quitting process: 

  • Chewing gum
  • Drinking herbal tea
  • Playing a game
  • Eating hard but healthy foods, such as apples and carrots
  • Drinking a glass of water
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  •  Encourage Them 

Your approach towards helping your partner quit must be gentle which can enable them to see you as a support system. You should behave like a wall where he can lean and not where he would feel like banging his head. Keep assuring them. You need to be consistent in your approach and motive.

  • Reward Them
    At times, they might lose momentum because there’s nothing to look forward to. Help them stay motivated by curating exciting rewards such as Date Nights, Weekend Trips, Gifts, Encouragement Cards and Words of Motivation
  • Seek a Support Group

People in the same boat are sometimes the best motivation. Locate a support group with the same aim. This will help your partner stay motivated by sharing his journey with people who have the same mission. 

Bidis v/s Cigarettes: The Greater Evil

Bidis v/s Cigarettes: The Greater Evil 2340 1140 quitx

HRRIC throws light on the unmonitored reality of the Bidi industry and its impact on the health and economy of India 

The Unmonitored Killer 

Tobacco addiction and usage is the leading cause of premature death worldwide. While a significant amount of study and research have revealed the harm cigarette smoking causes, there is less research and awareness about the negative health effects of non-cigarette Tobacco products, such as bidis, commonly used in populations of low socioeconomic status have on users.

Bidis are inexpensive, small, hand-rolled Tobacco products commonly smoked in most parts of South Asia which accounts for a user base of more than 73 million users across India. Of which 6,00,000 succumb to tobacco-related death every year, making bidis the number one killer among tobacco products.

Manufactured by cottage industries in South East Asia, Bidis tend to evade local and international Tobacco regulations and taxes enforced on factory-made cigarettes and are thus sold at cheap prices in low-grade packaging, mostly devoid of health warnings. Cheaper than commercial cigarettes, Bidis are made in herbal and flavored varieties to attract young users, misrepresented as safe and natural Tobacco alternatives to cigarettes.  

According to research published, Bidi smoking amounted to 805.5 billion rupees in ill health and early deaths in India. Bidis are extremely popular in India, attributing to 81% of the Tobacco smoked and 72 million regular users over the age of 15.

Unfortunately, according to studies, it’s the poor who bear the brunt of these costs. This unmonitored use of Bidi Tobacco is seen pushing more households into poverty. Shockingly, one in every five households in India faces “immense expenditures” due to mounting healthcare costs, resulting in pushing more than 63 million people into poverty. 

Ironically, despite volumes of evidence on the need and effectiveness of taxing Tobacco products, taxation has been underutilized as a toll in India to regulate Bidi smoking, resulting in these alarming consumption numbers. 

The Health Factor  

Though smoking cigarettes is hazardous to health, Bidi smoking directly accelerates severe baseline respiratory impairment, all-cause mortality, and cardiorespiratory outcomes. 

Research revealed that Bidis are thereby more harmful than regular commercial cigarettes owing to:

  • Bidis tend to contain three to five times the amount of nicotine and more tar and carbon monoxide as compared to regular cigarettes.
  • People who smoke bidis increase their risk of suffering from oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer,  oesophageal cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
  • The risk of heart disease and heart attack is three times higher for bidi smokers than non-smokers.
  • Bidi smoking is associated with emphysema and increases the risk of chronic bronchitis.
  • Owing to a lack of added chemicals that tend to help with combustion, smokers have to draw on a bidi cigarette more often, more forcefully to keep it from going out. Thus, resulting in higher levels of toxins inhaled as compared to traditional cigarettes.
  • Average smokers take around 9 puffs of regular cigarettes whereas smokers puff approximately 28 times on Bidis.

The Real Picture 

Come to think of it, anti-smoking campaigns have never really penetrated the poor and rural areas of India, which is where your largest bidi user base thrives.

Estimates by WHO has shown that eight times as many bidis are sold in India as compared to cigarettes. Despite the higher taxation policies being applied to cigarettes, there seems to a huge void in the application of the same policy framework laws towards monitoring bidis. This occurs due to the opposition the government tends to face whenever it raises taxes on bidis. The main opposition argument is that if the sale of Bidis decreases, millions of women employed in this labor-intensive bidi industry, will lose employment and in some cases their only source of income. Sadly, most of these women, employed in the industry; work from home and are most of the time assisted by their children, making them prone to a majority of health problems, such as musculoskeletal, respiratory, eye, and skin problems.

It is not the dearth of regulations so much as braving the opposition to change that is the challenge for the government. Yet a radical step is needed to confront this costly scourge in India.

Third-hand smoking and its impact on health

Third-hand smoking and its impact on health 2340 1140 quitx

Breaking it down: What is ‘Third-hand Smoke’?

Third- hand smoke (THS) isn’t actually smoke at all. It’s the residual remnants of Nicotine and other toxic chemicals in Tobacco, that remain long after active smoking is over.

These toxic chemicals tend to stick to surfaces and attach to dust particles. They may also stick and penetrate deep into surfaces of clothes, wallboards, upholstery and drapes. As the compounds linger, they may react with oxidants or other particles in the room’s atmosphere. The chemical reactions can create potentially harmful by products that can become airborne. When combining with indoor pollutants, Third- hand Smoke becomes highly toxic. Third- hand Smoke can also come in contact with you when you breathe in lingering gas left on these surfaces.

A study out of Yale University revealed that the chemical exposure levels could be the equivalent of between one and 10 cigarettes Third- hand Smoke can actually cling to a smoker’s body and clothes as well. People tend to be carriers of Third- hand Smoke contaminants and help transfer them to other environments. Those potentially toxic chemicals, including some that are known to be known carcinogens in people, such as benzene and formaldehyde. These chemicals including nicotine, can then be released into environments where smoking has never occurred, like your movie theatre. 

Scientists have come up with research that show human gene expressions and cells can be drastically affected by third-hand smoke. Third hand Smoke can harm a person’s respiratory health by changing gene expressions. THS inhalation for even a short period of only three hours can significantly alter gene expression in the nasal epithelium of healthy non-smokers, damaging DNA, and exposing them to cancer as a potential long-term outcome. 

A common misconception that many adult smokers have is that they tend to think that since they smoke outside, their family within their house will not get exposed. However, these smokers tend to carry chemicals like nicotine indoors with their clothes and it is important to understand that the THS is real and potentially harmful. 

The Damage is real … 

Third- hand Smoke affects and impairs health in so many ways. However, if you have a family member who smokes, avoiding exposure to Third- hand Smoke as a non-smoker can be a huge challenge. 

  • THS x Children

Third- hand Smoke impacts a child’s health in multiple ways. According to research and studies, children are the most vulnerable to such effects. This is because they’re more likely to touch surfaces and put objects near their noses and mouths.

Children exposed to Third- hand Smoke at home are exposed to Asthma, Ear Infections, Pneumonia and other frequent illnesses. Studies have shown that children who grow up with parents who smoke are at an increased risk of smoking themselves.

  • THS x Infants

Third- hand Smoke has a drastic impact on infants. Studies have shown that smoke exposure is one of the biggest risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Third- hand Smoke exposure for infants is a serious health risk as it makes them vulnerable to the same health risks as older children, including frequent illnesses and respiratory problems.

  • THS x Adults

While adults may not be as vulnerable as babies and growing children, adults too fall prey to the effects of Third- hand Smoke. Adults tend to be at a higher risk of cancer later in life from repeated exposure to cigarette toxins. Smoke exposure can lead to all types of cancers like cancer of the Lungs, Bladder, Cervix, Kidneys, Mouth, Pancreas and Throat. Short-term, Third- hand Smoke can lead to a lot of illnesses and infections. 

  • THS x Pregnant Women 

Pregnant woman are at a great risk when exposed to Third- hand Smoke as it can negatively affect the unborn baby. Toxins from the chemical residue emitted by Third- hand Smoke can be transferred through breath or surfaces risking exposure of absorbing toxins from the smoke into your bloodstream. This can then transfer directly over to the foetus

Tackling Third- hand Smoke

The most impactful way to fight Third- hand Smoke is to avoid exposure altogether. If you’re a non-smoker, this could entail avoiding the homes and common areas of those who smoke.

 However, if you are a smoker and your home has been exposed to cigarette smoke, below are a few steps that can help you get rid of the residue that leads to Third- hand exposure. You can:

  • Wash all your clothing.
  • Wash all bedding and linens.
  • Thoroughly mop all hard surfaces.
  • Scrub down counters, walls, and ceilings.
  • Get your carpet and rugs professionally cleaned.
  • Clean all toys.
  • Wash all other fabrics around your home, including furniture.
  • As a rule of thumb, if a building smells like smoke, there’s probably residue left on surfaces and needs a thorough cleaning.
  • Make sure smokers change their clothing and wash their hands often. This is especially important before contact with children and infants.

Can Quitting Smoking make you gain weight?

Can Quitting Smoking make you gain weight? 2340 1140 quitx

While quitting smoking is guaranteed to do your health a whole lot of good, there is one concern that does the round on every smoker’s mind – Will quitting smoking impact your waistline?

Many smokers believe that smoking generates an appetite-suppressing effect. Given the fear of body weight gain often outweighs the perception of health benefits associated with smoking cessation. Studies have shown that nicotine activates a pathway in the brain that suppresses appetite. Studies have shown that the tobacco industry has added appetite suppressants substances into cigarettes e.g. tartaric acid. Most of the actors, actresses, top models all are fans of the cigarette and you will normally notice that smokers tend to be a bit thinner than non-smokers. However, when they quit, they tend to put on weight. Courtney Cox, who played Monica Geller in the hit TV series ‘Friends’ has put her slim physique while starring in ‘Friends’ down to her smoking habit. Commenting on the role cigarettes played on her toned look in the sitcom, Cox said that “I never exercised during ‘Friends’ – I just smoked loads of cigarettes.” 

Experts and researchers say that smoking and metabolism in fact have a direct correlation and it is common for people to put on some weight after they stop smoking. This is mainly because smoking spikes metabolism, to a slight degree, attributing to keeping off those pounds. This is why when you go cold turkey, your metabolism may slow down a bit causing your body to gain a few pounds. In addition, sometimes we tend to use food as a substitute to Tobacco to help curb nicotine cravings and in some cases to keep our hands busy with snacks instead of cigarettes. 

Here are some tips that can help you manage weight gain post quitting:

  • Opt for Nicotine Replacement aids: Controlling your Nicotine cravings can help you control weight gain. Tons of Nicotine replacement aids, like gum, patches, and lozenges, available in the market can help do this.
  • Watch your portions: Cut down your serving sizes by using a smaller plate when you eat your food
  • Pick foods based on their labels: Opt for food that is low in fat and high in protein and fiber while keeping in mind portion sizes.
  • Up your water intake: Drinking water fills you up, thereby reducing your urge to snack as well as battling your smoke cravings
  • Eat smaller meals, more often: Break down your eating pattern to 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day. In the early stage of Cessation, the urge to snack is extreme, so having snack-size meals will help you curb those food cravings while boosting your metabolism at regular intervals. All these meals must be planned according to your calorie requirement for your body. 
  • Go Exercise: Exercise will help you avoid weight gain. As little as a half-hour walk a day can be enough to help you keep your weight stable, as long as you’re eating well too. 
  • Keep Busy: Being bored can act as a big trigger for smoking and for eating. Keep yourself always busy with some activity to avoid mindless snacking.
  • Embrace Support: Join a quitter’s supportive community of people who are working to quit smoking. This will help you cope by seeing how others are dealing with the issue, letting you know that you are not alone.

A smoke-free life is a beautiful life

A smoke-free life is a beautiful life 2340 1140 quitx

The second largest producer and user of Tobacco in the world after China, India, is home to 275 million Tobacco  users. With over one-third of the population severely addicted to some form of Tobacco, every year we have over 1 million deaths solely credited to this serial killer. 

Smoking Tobacco wreaks havoc on health, making you vulnerable to developing serious diseases like cancer and heart disease amongst many. It can also induce an   earlier death. While these risks are a good enough incentive to quit, quitting can be especially hard for some people because of withdrawal symptoms like irritability, headaches, and intense nicotine cravings.

Why Quit?

While all the time around us we hear about the negative effects of Tobacco on our lives, today let’s take a look at all the positive outcomes that comes with quitting Tobacco:

  • Broken addiction cycle

A month into quitting Tobacco causes the nicotine receptors in your brain to return back to normal, thus breaking the addiction cycle.

  • Lower risk of heart attack

Within 2 – 12 weeks of quitting smoking, your blood circulation automatically increases. This considerably lowers your risk of a heart attack while making physical activity much easier. 

  • Improved sense of smell and taste 

Smoking tends to dull your sense of smell and taste due to immense damage to the nerve endings in your nose and mouth. 48 hours into being smoke-free can see the nerve endings begin to regrow, thus improving your sense of smell and taste drastically.

  • More oxygen equals more energy

Quitting Smoking not only improves your breathing and physical activity, but also increases the amount of oxygen generated in your body attributing to higher energy levels. 

  • Boosts Immunity 

Quitting smoking boosts immunity by improving circulation, increasing oxygen levels, and lowering inflammation; making it easier for your body to fight colds and other illnesses.

  • Cleaner mouth, fresher breath 

Within a week of Quitting, you will feel a difference in your mouth. Smoking causes your teeth to turn yellow, causes bad breath and increases your risk of oral infections. 

  • Improved sex health 

Smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in men and can harm your sex life. It increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in men and female sexual dysfunction in women by reducing genital lubrication and orgasm frequency.

  • Lower risk of cancer

Within a few years of quitting, the risk of your body falling prey to cancers like Lung cancer, Oesophageal cancer, Kidney cancer, Bladder cancer, and Pancreatic cancer reduces.

Breaking it Down 

The American Heart Association gives you a detailed breakdown and glimpse into what your body actually goes through when you quit smoking:

  • The first 20 minutes:  Recovery in Blood pressure and Heart rate from the nicotine-induced spikes.
  • Post 12 hours: The spike in carbon monoxide levels in your blood reduces and returns to normal.
  • Post 2 weeks: Blood circulation and lung function improve.
  • After 1 – 9 months: Gradual return of clear and deeper breathing. You will experience lesser coughing and a decrease in shortness of breath. You will also be able to now cough productively, which helps clean your lungs and reduces your risk of infection.
  • After a year: Your susceptibility to heart related disease is reduced by 50 percent.
  • After 5 years: You are at only half the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, and bladder while your risk of cervical cancer and stroke return to normal.
  • After 10 years: You are half as likely to die from lung cancer. Your risk of larynx or pancreatic cancer decreases.
  • After 15 years: Your risk of a coronary heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker’s.

                                             Ready to Kick the Butt Today?

Can Second-hand smoking harm you?

Can Second-hand smoking harm you? 2340 1140 quitx

Second-hand smoke is a mix of smoke emitted from the lit end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Infact, since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report, 2.5 million non-smoking adults died because they breathed second-hand smoke Not only is this smoke harmful but contains more than 7,000 chemicals, out of which hundreds are found toxic and more than 70 are cancer causing agents.

Studies and research have shown that one-third of the world population is regularly exposed to second-hand smoking. This exposure is responsible for about 1% of the global burden of diseases in the form of respiratory infections, ischemic heart diseases, lung cancer, and asthma and is causing around 600,000 premature deaths globally. There is a direct relation between second-hand smoke and negative health conditions like respiratory infections, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, and stroke. Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke have an increased risk of developing heart disease at least by 25%, stroke by 20%, and lung cancer by 20%. Due to such trends, the proportion of children and adolescents exposed to second-hand smoke is expected to come down.

Second- hand smoke exposure results in significant health effects. Scientific research has shown that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke which can impact health in the following ways:

  • Exposure to second-hand smoke has drastic and immediate effects on the cardiovascular system and can cause coronary heart diseases, many times resulting in strokes.
  • Second- hand smoke causes lung cancer in non- smokers: These non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke either at their residence or place of work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20–30%. This occurs mainly due to the inhalation of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers. Infact, even brief second- hand smoke exposure can result in damaging cells which in turn trigger the cancer process. 
  • Second -hand smoking can also increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – the sudden, unexplained, unexpected death of an infant in the first year of life. SIDS is one of the leading cause of death in otherwise healthy infants. Infants who die from SIDS have higher levels of cotinine than infants who die from other causes.
  • Studies have shown that second- hand smoke can cause serious health problems in children, especially with parents who smoke often. Their lungs tend to develop at a slower pace than children who grow up in a smoke-free environment. Children in smoke-free environments are more exposed to bronchitis and pneumonia.

What is being done about it 

These major health risks have given rise to the establishment of clean indoor air policies in several parts of the world.  These policies have helped in lowering smoking prevalence to a great extent. Clean indoor air laws and smoke free laws in place at residences, workplaces, public transportation, restaurants and bars have helped denormalize smoking through a series of policy measures. 

Despite India being one of the signatories to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – a global treaty to reduce the burden of tobacco use and exposure in various forms, till date many Indian restaurants, bars, airports, and hotels continue to be exempted from clean indoor air laws. The Government of India has tried to be more active in its action towards Tobacco Control with the establishment of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act in 2003, and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005. 2008 saw the Government of India adopt legislation for banning smoking in public places. Based on the GATS India Report, 30% of Indian adults were exposed to second-hand smoke at workplaces and 39% were exposed at home. This gap widens between rural and urban demographics with smoking allowed in 54% of rural homes as compared to 38% of urban households. India’s North-East territory is home to the country’s heaviest smokers with the five states contributing to the country’s highest percentage of adult smokers.

How to Avoid Second-hand Smoke

It’s actually pretty simple:

  • Avoid being present in environments where people are smoking. Ensure that anyone who needs to smoke around you should do so within a safe distance from yourself and others.
  • Ensure a  smoke-free home, especially if you have children. Limiting the exposure of adults and children to smoke can help negate their chances of developing respiratory infections,  asthmacancer, and many other serious conditions.

Tobacco: Taking Lives since 1600

Tobacco: Taking Lives since 1600 2340 1140 quitx

Love the occasional puff or daily dose of smoke? Well ever wondered about the origin of this addictive Substance.

Let’s take a glance at its journey into our lives.

The Discovery of Tobacco 

Tobacco has been a wildly growing plant in the Americas for nearly over 8000 years. It wasn’t until 2000 years ago that Tobacco began to be chewed and smoked during cultural or religious ceremonies and events. In fact,  Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover smoking. Tobacco was cultivated for the first time in Europe at Santo Domingo in 1531. The 1600s saw  Tobacco use spread across Europe and England and it is used as a monetary standard, a practice that continued throughout the following century. By the 1700s smoking had become more widespread and the Tobacco industry had developed industry. Its rapid spread and widespread acceptance characterize the addiction to the plant Nicotina Tobacum. Only the mode of delivery has changed. In the 18th century, snuff held sway; the 19th century was the age of the cigar; the 20th century saw the rise of the manufactured cigarette and with it a greatly increased number of smokers. The beginning of the 21st century saw about one-third of adults in the world, including an increasing number of women, use Tobacco. 

Tobacco: Dangerous since discovery 

  • Studies and written works show that one of the earliest known instances of smoking being linked to ill health came to light when illnesses impacting chimney sweepers caused by soot showed a lot of similarities and effects to illnesses caused by Tobacco.
  • 1700 brought to light cancers of the lip  which was seen predominantly in pipe smokers
  • Studies and research in the 1950s and 1960s drew conclusive evidence that  Tobacco caused a range of serious diseases.
  • The first link of Smoking to Lung Cancer was shown in medical reports in 1992 

How was the Cigarette born ?

  • The first Cigarette making machines were developed in the latter half of the 1800s. The first such machines produced about 200 cigarettes per minute whereas today’s machines produce over 9,000  cigarettes per minute. Mass Cigarette production flourished during this period owing to inexpensive mass production and the use of extensive cigarette advertising propelling Tobacco companies to expand their markets during this period.

The Growth and Decline of smoking in traditional markets

The prevalence of cigarette smoking continued to grow in the early 20th Century mainly as a result of many drivers:

  • Development of new forms of Tobacco promotion.
  • The ability of the Tobacco industry backed by its power and wealth to influence the policy framework of political parties.
  • Owing to the free policy of providing free cigarettes to allied troops as a morale booster during the world wars, there was a drastic increase in smoking of Tobacco.
  • The rapid increase in information and awareness around the negative health effects of active and passive smoking in the latter part of the 20th century led to a decline in its popularity amongst the masses. This period also bore witness to the first successful lawsuits against Tobacco companies accused of attributing to negative health effects.
  • People began to unmask the Tobacco industry’s unethical efforts to mislead the public about the health effects of smoking in a bid to override public policy in order to boost the industry.

The Smoking Trends Today 

Owing to the decline in the number of smokers in the traditional markets of North America and Western Europe, the Tobacco industry has re-focussed its promotional efforts onto the less developed and emerging nations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and Latin America.   These nations have a weak regulatory framework which has further encouraged the industry to target populations in these nations. Studies and research show that if Tobacco consumption patterns sustain as they are as of today, Tobacco use will kill approximately 10 million people every year throughout the world with 70% of these deaths occurring in less developed and emerging nations.

Smoking Tobacco Myths – Busted!

Smoking Tobacco Myths – Busted! 2340 1140 quitx

How many times have we heard, seen and even recited the line ‘Smoking Kills!’. Infinite times would be the ideal answer. Cut to reality- how many times have we stopped to actually pay heed to it. Instead many smokers or prospective smokers, tend to find loopholes or easy ways around accepting the harm it imposes on our health by believing myths that encourage the usage pattern.

Today, let’s debunk some of the popular myths around smoking

Myth #1: Smoking occasionally is harmless

Busted: A very popular myth, many smokers believe that smoking a couple of days in a week or social smoking can mitigate the health risks accompanying Tobacco. Every cigarette smoked is doing its own portion of the damage. Even small amounts of Tobacco tend to damage your blood vessels and leave your blood more vulnerable to clotting. Smoking anything from even one to four cigarettes a day can double your risk of dying from heart disease. The fact being there is no safe level of exposure to Tobacco smoke.

Myth #2: Opting for light and flavoured cigarettes are safer

Busted: Today we have a vast and extensive range of Cigarettes, leaving us with so many options to pick our smoking preference from. This extensive array of choices include Cigarettes made with different filters, paper, or blends of tobacco labelled as light, ultralight, or mild. However, with more options, it becomes tougher to quit. Some people buy into the names and tend to think that smoking the milder variants does less damage. But that is far from the truth. You get just as much tar smoking a light cigarette as a regular one. Infact, studies have proven that in many ways the products were manufactured and marketed in a way that was misleading; making law enforcement bodies take note and issue restrictions against Tobacco companies labelling cigarettes as “light” anymore. But, unfortunately, if you do visit your neighbourhood Tobacco vendor, you will still see the same products, stacked on shelves, in similar packaging, continuing to lure and mislead customers.

Myth #3: Too late to Quit

Busted: One of the biggest myth smokers have is that it’s too late to quit. Infact, research says that even if you’ve smoked your whole life, it’s worth it to stop. Quitting at any age will help you improve your health and quality of life drastically. Your heart rate and blood pressure will go down, and your lungs will start to work better instantly.

Myth # 4: Tobacco smoke contains only a handful of dangerous toxins 

Busted: This is far from reality. In real world, more than 250 dangerous toxins are found in Smokeless Tobacco. From which 180 of these chemicals are harmful to the human body in other ways while 70 of them have been proven to cause cancer. Infact, these same chemicals can be ingested by eating rat poison, sucking on an exhaust pipe or licking a car battery. Unfortunately, non-smokers who happen to walk through a cloud of tobacco smoke are exposed to all the same toxins.  

Myth # 5 Smoking Cigarettes only causes lung cancer.

Busted: A common misunderstanding is that smoking just causes lung cancer. Although lung cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer death in both men and women, it only contributes to a quarter of the tobacco-related deaths yearly. According to the National Cancer Institute, the full list of cancers that can result from tobacco-related causes includes oesophagus, throat, larynx, mouth, kidney, bladder, liver, stomach, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum cancer. 

This means that even if cancer is avoided, additional potential effects include chronic bronchitis, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke and cataracts, among other things. Plus, smoking impairs immune function generally, leaving the smoker susceptible to many other ailments.

Myth# 6 Medical advances decreases the risk of developing lung cancer due to smoking  

Busted: Infact, on the contrary over the last 50 years, the risk of lung cancer for smokers has actually increased despite the decrease in the number of cigarettes consumed per smoker.

Myth # 7 The main risk of smoking for pregnant women is premature delivery.

Busted: Smoking makes it not only harder for a woman to conceive in the first place but also increases the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight and a cleft lip/palate. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also becomes more likely when a woman smokes during or after pregnancy.