Why There Should Be No Unlock Phase For The Lockdown On Smoking
COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has made people take the decision to quit smoking. Unavailability of cigarettes, work from home, lesser work stress and spending all the time indoors, with family, were a few of the many reasons people decided to quit. A survey for charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) suggests that more than one million people gave up smoking since the pandemic hit.
Why should there be no unlock on the lockdown on smoking?
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
The lockdown is now being slowly replaced with an unlock and life is coming back to normal but one has to remember the deadly coronavirus is still there and the many adverse effects of smoking remain the same, if not worse. Its never too late to get benefits of quitting smoking and reducing the risk of diseases so we urge you to continue your journey of a smoke-free life and never allow an unlock on it and live a healthier life - for yourself and your family.
Doctor NDTV interacted with 2 persons who quit smoking during the pandemic to understand how one can continue this lockdown on smoking:
Twenty-five-year-old Rohan Chaddha*, said that he decided to quit smoking because of the fear of coronavirus. “I got worried thinking what if my lungs aren’t capable to fight the virus? Plus, I was living at home and my family didn’t know I smoke. So, I decided to rather not do it,” he tells DoctorNDTV.
Restlessness and anxiety were some of the withdrawal symptoms Chaddha faced, which eventually convinced him to smoke one cigarette shortly after a few days of quitting.
“I have realised that cigarettes are not something that I really need. However, I do fear a relapse, once I am back on shoots. If I don’t give in to peer pressure, I might be able to keep myself in control and smoke less and quit entirely,” he says being open about the uncertainty,” says the Delhi-based writer and video producer. "After having quit smoking and experiencing the amazing benefits of it on my health and family, I would definitely continue this lockdown on smoking too!"
A healthy lifestyle can help
Quitting smoking is challenging for people with high dependence on cigarettes. People who smoke more than 10 cigarettes or an entire packet in a day tend to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Priya Aggarwal*, a budding lawyer practicing in Delhi, moved to her hometown Dehradun, a few days before the first lockdown was announced.
The sudden decision to be with family in these unprecedented times, was a welcoming change for Aggarwal. It gave her the strength to quit smoking. “Staying at home made it easy for me to follow a healthier lifestyle. I took up yoga and ate healthy, home-cooked food. This reduced withdrawal symptoms to a great extent,” says the 28-year-old.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy can curb withdrawal symptoms and help you quit
Withdrawal symptoms are the most challenging aspect of quitting smoking. Nicotine Replacement Therapy has been found to be an effective therapy to help one quit smoking. It provides nicotine in the form of patches, gums, sprays and inhalers, and can help in reducing physical withdrawal symptoms that one experiences while quitting smoking. Nicotex is known to be a pioneer in NRT category in India, helping several smokers in their journey to quit smoking.
Intention is important for quitting smoking
Dr Rommel Tickoo, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare, believes that many people had to quit smoking during lockdown because of less or no socialising. “Quitting smoking has made people realise that it was harming their health and it’s a big thing that they took this decision. It took a pandemic for people to realise its bad, but they did realise and that’s what matters,” he shares.
To continue on this lockdown on smoking, Dr Tickoo says that one’s willpower plays a huge role. “Stay away from triggers like lighter, smoke packs, ash tray etc. Seek support of a family member who can keep a check on you and motivate you to not smoke. Take professional help for added assistance,” he recommends.
*All names have been changed on request.
(Dr Rommel Tickoo, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare)
1- Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-tobacco-and-covid-19
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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