Quit The Use Of Tobacco Now!
“As far as tobacco chewing is concerned, India beats the rest of the world and this is the reason why India is the oral cancer capital of the world!”
The Extent Of Tobacco Usage
It there was ever a competition, as to what should be given the title ‘nemesis of the modern day world,’ tobacco would win hands down! This is because, tobacco in various forms, accounts for more than a third of non communicable diseases and also most cancers can be attributed directly or indirectly to tobacco, It is rather strange that what started as a casual hobby for mankind, is now assuming monstrous proportions and threatening to destroy life.
Tobacco is consumed in various forms. Firstly, as smoked tobacco which includes cigarettes and beedis, Secondly, chewed tobacco which includes pan, gutka and khaini and finally, other varieties like masher and snuff.
While smoked tobacco is common in the western world. India has both smoked and chewed tobacco. As far as tobacco chewing is concerned, India beats the rest of the world and this is the reason why India is the oral cancer capital of the world. According to the global adult tobacco survey India report, which was released by the Ministry of Health, almost 34 per cent adult Indian population uses tobacco in one form or the other. This includes 47 per cent males and 20 per cent females.
A Grim Picture
The burden of tobacco related disease is increasingly becoming a concern for the developed as well as the underdeveloped world. And according to statistics, four million people have fallen victim to it worldwide. during 2000 and this whooping figure was seven per cent of all deaths.
It is predicted that in the future the number will rise to about ten million by 2030. The worst part is, most of the developing countries will face the burden of a rising number of deaths from tobacco related diseases and a majority of the deaths will happen prematurely. The statistics in India as mentioned before, are quite staggering.
The Current Scenario
Cigarette smoking is mostly an urban phenomenon while beedi smoking is a rural one. Smoking has led to increased incidence of tobacco related cancers like oral, lung and oesophagus. A trend which is seen in recent times, is a three-told increase in female smokers. This is probably related to more females being in jobs and financially independent. This in turn, has led to an increase in the number of females with lung cancer in India.
Chewing tobacco in various ways especially with pan is rampant in north india This has caused India to become the oral cancer capital of the world. Chewing tobacco is a lifestyle which has passed over generations in states like UP, Bihar and Bengal. In India, tobacco consumption alone, accounts for almost one-third of the cancers. The banning of sales by the Supreme Court is a positive step. However, this alone is unlikely to be fruitful without educating people about the hazards of tobacco usage.
The Effects Of Tobacco
Tobacco contains more than 60 known carcinogens. When these carcinogens enter the body, they damage the cells, leading to cancer formation. Another problem linked to tobacco is addiction. Tobacco releases many chemicals in the brain, which over a period of time, causes the person to crave for it. These two factors work synergistically damaging the person’s health.
The time period over which a person can develop cancer can be highly variable. The longer and heavier the person has smoked, the more the chances of developing cancer. Stopping the use of tobacco may reverse some, but not all of the damage.
The Quitting Myth
Fewer than five per cent of smokers are successful in quitting smoking by themselves. Many smokers believe that they can simply make themselves quit by somehow willing it to happen. They do not prepare to stop or create a quitting plan. Rather, they haphazardly just decide to ‘try’ to quit one day and see what happens.
Likewise, most smokers underestimate how strong the habit of smoking can be and the need to make changes in patterns and routines. They mistakenly, view smoking as only an addiction and often think that all they have to do to quit is wear a patch or use the gum.
Quitting – A Learning Process
A more successful approach is to view quitting as a learning process. Every smoker has to teach himself or herself how not to smoke. Quitting is then, a case of learning how not to smoke, In order to learn anything successfully, one must prepare properly and have a plan. However, most quitters are not willing to make changes in their smoking related behaviours and they do not even understand the need to do so.