Want To Quit Smoking? Here’s Why Experts Recommend Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Smoking in the times of coronavirus can be more damaging than you think. According to the World Health Organization, smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases1. Quitting smoking is thus the need of the hour. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has been found to be an effective method that has helped many people quit smoking. When a person tries to quit smoking, it can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like headaches, irritability, insomnia etc. NRT helps one manage the withdrawal symptoms and thus, helps one quit smoking.
Nicotine replacement therapy provides small quantities of nicotine, much lesser than that in a cigarette, without the harmful and cancerous chemicals present in cigarette smoke. It allows the body to gradually adjust to having less nicotine until it no longer needs any.
“Smoking damages the lungs. Damaged lungs have higher chances of catching COVID-19. Also, the mortality rate is also higher in smokers,” says Dr Arvind Kumar, Founder Trustee, Lung Care Foundation, Chest Surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy: What experts say
With the help of NRT, a person who is trying to quit smoking gets fewer withdrawal symptoms. This enables him/her to focus on the psychological or emotional aspects of quitting, reports the American Cancer Society.
Studies have found that NRT can nearly double the chances of quitting smoking2. “In NRT, there is much lesser nicotine used as compared to cigarettes, 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,” says Dr Tarun Sahni, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
The Nicotine Replacement Therapy has been recommended by leading global bodies like the World Health Organisation, US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), and Centres of Disease Control And Prevention as an effective method for quitting smoking.
Dr Rajesh Chawla, Pulmonologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, says that NRT increases your chances of quitting smoking because it takes care of the urge to smoke, as well as the withdrawal symptoms. “The World Health Organization has recommended NRT as a therapy to quit smoking,” Dr Chawla adds.
However, since NRT also has nicotine, is it as harmful and addictive as cigarettes? “Cigarettes have thousands of harmful substances. Cancer, coronary artery disease or any other disease can be because of smoking. NRT, however, involves just nicotine, and that too in very small amounts, that are not harmful,” Dr Chawla explains.
He goes on to add that NRT needn’t necessarily be a lifelong measure. “One can take it for 12 weeks to quit smoking,” he says.
Dr Sahni says that people undergoing NRT must do the following:
Do seek social support when you are trying to quit smoking. Inform your family and everybody else as they all need to participate in your decision to quit smoking. “NRT helps in reducing withdrawal symptoms. One can very well experience psychological or emotional symptoms and for that you need support from family and friends. Don’t try to hide it from people and communicate it with them that to quit is your conscious decision,” says Dr Sahni.
NRT is available in multiple formats like Nicotine gums, lozenges & patches. Nicotex can be hailed as one of the forerunners in the NRT category in India. Its products have for years helped countless smokers in their journey to quit smoking.
(Dr Tarun Sahni, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital)
(Dr Rajesh Chawla, Pulmonologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital)
(Dr Nikhil Modi, Dr Nikhil Modi, Senior Consultant, Respiratory, Critical Care And Sleep Disorder, Institutes of Critical Care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital)
2- Hartmann-Boyce J, Chepkin SC, Ye W, Bullen C, LancasterT. Nicotine replacement therapy versus control for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018;5
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.
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ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
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.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GIVING UP SMOKING
Within 20 minutes:
Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop
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:
If you quit smoking, then within 2-12 weeks, circulation improves and your lung function increases
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:
In 1 years time, risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker's
In 5 years:
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting smoking
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