Taking Care of Health In The Pandemic - Quitting Smoking An Essential Part

Sponsored Feature: Challenges To Expect When You Quit Smoking

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep many of us at home, it is easy to fall prey to bad habits and ignore our health. During these difficult times it is important to do everything we can to support both our physical and mental well-being. By bringing about simple changes in lifestyles like eating simple home cooked meals, sleeping well, exercising with or without equipment available at home with the help of workout videos and connecting with friends and family has helped many improve their health. One extremely important aspect of taking care of ourselves is to quit smoking.

Quitting smoking: Know why it is important 

Smoking is injurious to health. It can increase the risks of various diseases. According to the WHO, smokers are more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection and the severity of the disease is higher among smokers. Smoking impairs lung function, making it difficult for the body to fight off respiratory disease. Smokers with Covid-19 face a greater risk of getting a severe infection as their lung health is already compromised1.

Why people fail to quit smoking

“Many a times people set their goals but there’s a gap in the ability to achieve it leading to failure. There is an addiction that needs to be broken,” says Dr Rituparna Ghosh, Consultant, Psychologist, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

“There is need for a stronger intent and the person quitting should be given support and help”.

Effective Strategies To Quit Smoking 

Try Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

NRT is an effective way to quit smoking. As part of this treatment, a person who is trying to quit is given nicotine in much smaller quantities as compared to a cigarette. This allows the body to gradually adjust to having less nicotine until it no longer needs cigarettes.

“In NRT, nicotine in cigarettes is replaced with small amount of nicotine, so as to reduce physical dependence on smoking. It is a program which works better to help someone quit smoking instead of just asking them to stop doing it. NRT even helps in reducing withdrawal symptoms,” says Dr Tarun Sahni, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Nicotex has been the top brand in the Nicotine gums category in India2  and has helped several smokers in their journey to quit smoking. Along with NRT, relaxation and deep breathing exercises can also help a person calm down and reduce withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and irritability.

Your Family, Loved ones: Your support system

“Whenever a person is putting in the effort to quit, s/he should be appreciated and encouraged by the family members,” recommends Dr Ghosh.

Here’s are some more tips for families:

  • Whenever the person feels the urge to smoke, loved ones must remind him/her of the reasons s/he wanted to quit in the first place. 
  • Families should regularly check with the quitter how quitting makes him/her feel healthier. Hear them out!
  • Throw away or hide lighters, ashtrays, cigarettes from the person trying to quit. Relapse can occur at the sight of these things.
  • It is important for the family to be patient and remain positive in the journey and not be too hard in the case the quitter slips. 
  • Recognise and celebrate each little success of being smokefree for a day, a week, a month etc. with little gifts or compliments. 

A compassionate support system goes a long way to help the quitter.

Follow A Healthy Lifestyle

Dr. Ghosh shares some tips to follow in order to stay fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, which in turn can help quit smoking:

  • Allocate time that you spend on work, family and yourself. 
  • Make exercise a part of your daily routine. It can distract you from cravings. Studies show that even short periods of regular physical activity, like aerobic exercises, reduces the urge to smoke.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. These could include walks, biking, swimming or yoga.
  • Meditation and exercise can help cope with the stress, anxiety and boost energy levels.   
  • Keep yourself well-hydrated and eat a well balanced diet. Check with your physician for multivitamins to be included - as your body prepares to flush out all the toxins, it needs good quality nutrition. 
  • Get about 8 hours of sound sleep daily and be in sync with your circadian rhythm for a healthy body and strong immunity.
  • Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby or pick up an old one to keep your mind diverted.

The information and the contents are for information and reference only. Cipla or the authors of the articles do not promote, use or endorse any product or encourage use of specific drugs in any way. Neither Cipla or the author are responsible for claims or action arising from use of the information. Viewers should consult their doctor to determine the right way to use NRT for their health.

  1. Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-tobacco-and-covid-19
  2. (Source: IQVIA CONSUMER HEALTH SELL-OUT DATA MAT MAR’2020 in All India Chemist)

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness. Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of serious lung conditions such as pneumonia. (Reference Source: WHO)

A matter of grave concern is that there are more than 1.3 million deaths every year in India due to tobacco-related health issues, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) done by World Health Organization (WHO) mention year. Of them, 1 million deaths can be attributed to smoking and the rest to the use of smokeless tobacco products. Nearly 267 million, or 29 per cent Indians aged 15 and above, currently use tobacco in some form. (Source: Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17)

Therefore, there has never been a better time to quit smoking. Nicotex, a brand committed towards helping people give up smoking, aims to educate smokers about their high vulnerable to COVID-19 and inspire them to quit smoking. World No Tobacco Day, celebrated on May 31 every year, provides a perfect opportunity to start your journey towards a smoke-free life.

#QuitKarona is an initiative in that direction. The campaign aims to highlight how apart from all its other ill-effects, smoking can reduce a person's ability to fight COVID-19, which can prove to be fatal in the current pandemic.

Quit Karona - A World No Tobacco Day Campaign By Nicotex - Quit Smoking To Fight Coronavirus - COVID-19


  • Within 20 minutes:

    Within 20 minutes:

    Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop

  • Within 20 minutes:

    Within 12 hours:

    And if you haven't smoke for 12-hours, carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal

  • In 2-12 weeks:

    In 2-12 weeks:

    If you quit smoking, then within 2-12 weeks, circulation improves and your lung function increases

  • In 1-9 months:

    In 1-9 months:

    In between a months time to 9 months duration, coughing and shortness of breath decrease for a person who has quit smoking

  • Within 1 year::

    Within 1 year:

    In 1 years time, risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker's

  • In 5 years:

    In 5 years:

    Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting smoking

  • In 10 years time:

    In 10 years time:

    Risk of lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases

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