The World Health Organisation (WHO) has marked May 31 as World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness on the need for tobacco consumption.
But ironically, according to WHO statistics, every six seconds one person across the world dies due to tobacco use.
In India, the figure is no better. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-2010, has found that there are 12 crore tobacco users in our country, which means, every ninth Indian is a tobacco consumer.
The WHO 2012 Global Report on Mortality says that around 35% of Indians over the age of 15 are tobacco users.
At present, sale, manufacture, distribution and storage of nicotine-mixed gutka and paan masala is banned in 24 states and 3 union territories, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Delhi, Goa, Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat,
However, despite a nationwide ban on smoking in public places put to effect from Oct 2, 2008, as per WHO, India is the home of 12% of world smokers.
For puffers, of the 4,000 toxic chemicals in one cigarette, 50, including nicotine, are proven to cause cancer.
The WHO says: “Tobacco kills around 6 million people each year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 6,00,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.”
So before it’s too late, quit smoking and here are 10 tips to help you do so:
1. Get a reason to feel motivated to do so. It can be to save family members, including your newborn, from the ill-effects of passive smoking, or to look and feel younger.
2. Prepare yourself because smoking is an addiction. Throwing all cigarette packets away does not mean that you have been able to let go of them.
If you are a chain-smoker, there will be severe withdrawal symptoms for which you will need professional help. So, consult your doctor for medical support, counseling and even hypnosis, if required.
You may get enrolled in quit-smoking classes and check out Apps like Quit Smoking, Quit Now!, KickSmoking and Livestrong MyQuit Coach – Dare to Quit Smoking.
3. Try nicotine-replacement therapy because withdrawals will give you severe headaches and mood swings, besides draining you out of all your energy.
American healthcare corporation WebMD suggests making nicotine gum and lozenges a part of your quit-smoking routine.
4. Look for support of family and friends. Encouragement can make a lot of difference and there is nothing to be ashamed of when you ask your family and friends to help you quit smoking.
5. Take a few days’ break from office. To keep your mind off nicotine, you will need alternatives to keep your mind happily busy.
You can sweat it out, dance to your favourite music, visit a spa, hang out with friends or nurture your hobby. Avoid any kind of stress that will make you reach out for a puff in the initial weeks.
6. Avoid alcohol and coffee as they trigger the urge to smoke. Replace coffee with tea till you have become a non-smoker.
Also, people generally feel the urge to smoke post meals. So after every meal, engage yourself – brush your teeth, take a walk, call/text a friend or chew a gum.
7. Clean your house, car, clothes, carpets and anything that smells like smoke. Use air fresheners. Throw away all lighters and ashtrays.
Try not to keep off anything whose look and/or smell remind you of your smoking days. As they say: “Out of sight, out of mind”.
8. Increase fruit and vegetable intake. Make sure you also have whole grains and lean protein in your diet. Don’t try to diet when quitting smoking as it will only backfire and take a toll on your health.
9. Reward yourself. This is a really fun way of quitting smoking. Get a Piggy Bank. Every day or every time you feel the urge to smoke, put the money that you would have spent on cigarette(s) in it. Every Sunday, calculate how much money you have saved by not smoking.
You will be really surprised to see how much richer you get at the end of the month. Now spend some amount from that Piggy Bank on pampering yourself.
10. Never give up. It might be that you failed to give up smoking the first time you tried. But don’t stop trying and get depressed. You will definitely succeed in the second or third or fourth or fifth attempt. Better late than never.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.