Another No Tobacco Day has passed into the footnotes of history and all the usual noises have been made about how smoking is dangerous and is a risk factor for lung cancer and a variety of other diseases. The world is full of people who can understand the message that the health authorities are trying to convey.
Why then, is it so difficult to give up smoking? The answer lies in the fact that smoking is addictive and it needs a superhuman effort to kick the habit. The main addictive ingredient of smoke is nicotine, which stimulates the cells present in the pleasure centers of the brain.
These cells in turn activate the reward pathway leaving the smoker with a contented feeling. And naturally everyone wants to experience that feeling again. So on the smoking saga goes. Another factor that complicates a smokers life is that whenever there is a decision to quit, withdrawal symptoms like trouble in sleeping and concentrating, pounding headaches, dizziness, irritation, increased appetite and restlessness kick in.
So rather than go through all this trouble, it is easier to give in or so the smoker feels. 'Tobacco smoke contains some 3,600 chemicals in its composition, about 20 of these, are known carcinogens,' says Oncologist with Apollo Hospital Dr Sameer Kaul. 'Intake of tobacco in any form puts you at risk of several forms of cancer. And you're also at risk of bronchitis, emphysema, decreased lung capacity and even cardiac problems.'
There are many medications, which will help a smoker quit, but before trying them, consult your doctor.