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Tobacco Smoking: A Lifestyle Malady
|by Dr. Frank S. K. Barar|
Tobacco through the ages has been snuffed, chewed, and placed under the lips, but the most popular route of intake of nicotine is by smoking. Nicotine is a colorless, volatile and highly toxic liquid obtained from the leaves of the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum. It acquires a brown color on standing. The chewable form like guthka, and pan masalas, and non-chewable forms like cigarettes, bidi, hookah, cigar, pipe, chillum, and phenie are all injurious to health.
The nicotine content of tobacco varies from 0.5 to 0.8 per cent, but the absolute amount may vary up to 12 times depending on the brand of tobacco used. A cigarette usually contains 2 per cent nicotine. The nicotine content of a “denicotinized cigarette” is about 1 per cent. About 80 per cent of nicotine is absorbed from the smoke inhaled. Whereas, only 10 to 25 per cent is absorbed if the smoke is only taken in the mouth and expelled.
Cigarette smoking is contraindicated in angina pectoris, hypertension, coronay artery disease, intermittent claudication, and other vasospastic diseases.
Addiction Liability of Nicotine
Nicotine has an addiction liability 100 times more than cocaine. Factors which initiate the smoking habit include fashion, modernity, affluence, hospitality, friendship, peer pressure, and for relaxation and pleasure. When a person inhales cigarette smoke, it reaches the brain within six seconds. The desire to smoke specially in stressful circumstances can persist for years even after giving up smoking. One has to have a strong will power to quit smoking. Sadly, smokers feel that smoking is a “stress antidote”. This notion has to be given up if one really wants to give up the habit.
Types of Smokers
How to Quit Smoking
Most people who want to quit smoking are unable to do it in their first attempt, and require about 6-7 attempts. Many medicines have been introduced to help smokers quit smoking.
Ideally, the regime to quit smoking has to be done under medical supervision. It requires specialized counselling, psychotherapy, social support in addition to NRT and drug therapy. However, the benefits are many and worth the while, as consumption of tobacco in any form has many dangerous health hazards which are avoidable.
Illustration (c) gettyimages.com
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10/04/2016 15:29 PM
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