Smoking tobacco, associated with a number of diseases like cancer, heart and lung disease, can have a serious effect on the quality of life of a person, experts said ahead of the World No Tobacco Day and urged people to quit smoking.
World No-Tobacco Day is celebrated every year on May 31 to educate people about the perils associated with tobacco consumption.
Tobacco is a major public health concern across India. As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey-India (GATS2) India is home to over 27 crore tobacco users and globally, it is the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco products.
Tobacco and smoking contribute to a wide range of diseases, including strokes, heart attacks, lung disorders, and various cancers affecting multiple organs such as the mouth, throat, lungs, pancreas, bladder, kidneys, liver, and stomach.
"Smoking claims an alarming number of lives in India, causing 12 lakh deaths annually," Dr. Ravinder Gera, Director and Head of Department, Department of ENT, Max Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS.
It inflicts significant damage to lung tissue at a microscopic level. The functional units of the lungs, called alveoli, facilitate the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with each breath.
"Smoking disrupts and destroys the structure and function of these alveoli, hindering their vital role in gas exchange. Whether from cigarette smoke or the inhalation of non-tobacco smoke, such as burning biomass or incense sticks, the damage to the alveoli accumulates over time and is irreversible," Dr Gera said.
"It is crucial to recognise the diminished quality of life associated with smoking as a strong incentive to quit this harmful habit," he added, stating that quitting requires a firm commitment.
According to Dr Ambarish Joshi, Senior Consultant, Pulmonology, Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, the urge to indulge in tobacco is mostly irresistible to tobacco users.
"To battle those urges, it is crucial to bear in mind that although the intensity of the craving may be formidable, it will typically subside within 5 to 10 minutes, regardless of whether or not you succumb to the temptation," he said.
Tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals which also cause damages to the linings of the airways and the lungs. It weakens the immunity of the patient to fight against the tuberculosis causing mycobacterium. More than 20 per cent of the global TB incidence may be attributed to smoking.
Embracing nicotine replacement therapy, steering clear of smoke triggers, social networking, employing the power of delay, channel chewing impulses with sugarless gum or healthy nuts, avoiding the illusion of ajust one' and harnessing the power of physical activity are some innovative and effective methods in fending off the urge to smoke, Dr Joshi said.
Each step towards a smoke-free life is a significant accomplishment, even though the journey may take time, the health experts said.