In a fast-paced lifestyle, people are left with no work-life balance which makes them vulnerable to practices that are highly injurious to their health. The most common practice is smoking. Smoking not only affects the health of the person who is smoking but also makes others vulnerable to various diseases. Secondhand smoke, the smoke exhaled by smokers and emitted from burning tobacco products, contains numerous toxic substances that can be inhaled by non-smokers. This exposure increases the risk of respiratory infections, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
The detrimental effects of tobacco use are well-documented and extensive, impacting numerous organ systems and increasing the risk of various diseases. From cigarettes to cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco products, tobacco contains numerous toxic substances that can cause severe harm to the body.
Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director, and HOD Chest & Respiratory Diseases, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi explains how tobacco can affect your lungs, and heart health, and ways to quit smoking.
Also read: World No-Tobacco Day: 4 Dangers Of Passive Smoking, Expert Shares Precautions
How Can Smoking Affect Your Lungs?
Dr Nayar explains cigarette smoking can have major consequences on the lungs. Smoking can damage airways and alveoli (small air sacs) leading to bronchitis and Emphysema. It can also damage cilia (hair-like structures present in the airway which removes secretions and dust particles). When cilia are destroyed, there are more chances to develop an infection as well as symptoms like a smoker’s cough. In addition, patients may develop COPD and even Lung and oral cancers. Smoking can result in all major respiratory symptoms including coughing, phlegm, wheezing, and dyspnea.
How Can Smoking Affect Your Heart Health?
Dr Nayar shares that “Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. Smoking can damage cells that line the blood vessels, can cause hypercoagulable state which may lead to clotting of blood, Smoking can also increase the buildup of plaque in blood vessels, cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels resulting in stroke and heart attacks.”
7 Daily Practices To Quit Smoking
Dr Nayar explains, when one feels the desire to consume tobacco, remember that it normally passes within a few minutes whether or not one smokes or chews tobacco. Each time one resists a tobacco craving, he/she is one step closer to quitting tobacco. One may try many ways to quit smoking, some of them are:
– Tobacco cravings are likely to be strongest in the places where one has smoked or chewed tobacco in the past such as at parties/functions or bars, or at times when stressed. Try avoiding going to those places if possible or stay in the company of those who don’t consume tobacco
– Whenever you have an urge to smoke, do something to distract yourself during that time. May go for a walk or take a cup of coffee or read a book.
– Chew gum or hard candy or take a bite of some snacks to resist the urge to smoke.
– Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings. May exercise a bit or go for a walk or jog.
– Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, and listening to music.
– Join an online stop-smoking program or consult a counsellor who may help in quitting tobacco
– Always keep on reminding yourself about the benefit of quitting tobacco. May go through the benefit of quitting over the internet or read an article or watch a programme where quitting tobacco is promoted.
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