World No Tobacco Day 2023: Consumption of tobacco is injurious to health. Everyone around is aware of this fact, however, for the majority of tobacco users, the allure of tobacco and the cravings it evokes can be overpowering. Despite that, it is essential to combat these compelling desires because tobacco is a major public health concern across India claiming more than 1 million lives every year.
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey carried out in India in 2016-17, nearly one-third of adults in India were found avid users of tobacco. The most common form of tobacco use remains smokeless tobacco, which is used by one-fifth of adults while smoking is used by one-tenth of adults. Owing to the increasing consumption of tobacco among individuals worldwide, WHO dedicated 31st May to commemorate World No-Tobacco Day every year since 1987. Every year on this day, an awareness drive is forged around the world to reach wider masses and make them understand the adverse effects of the consumption of tobacco and make informed decisions about their health.
However, the urge to indulge in tobacco is mostly irresistible to tobacco users and thereby to battle those urges, it is crucial to bear in mind that although the intensity of the craving may be formidable, it will typically subside within 5 to 10 minutes, regardless of whether or not you succumb to the temptation. By relentlessly resisting these cravings, one can propel themselves closer to permanently breaking free from the clutches of tobacco.
Dr Ambarish Joshi, senior consultant, Pulmonology, Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi shares some innovative and effective methods that can aid you in fending off the urge to smoke or utilize tobacco when cravings strike:
- Embrace Nicotine Replacement Therapy
This therapeutic approach encompasses various options, such as prescription of nicotine administered via nasal spray or inhaler, Over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges, or prescription of non-nicotine cessation medications like bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, among others) and varenicline.To overcome intense cravings, consider incorporating short-acting nicotine replacement therapies like gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, or inhalers. These swift-acting treatments are generally safe to use alongside long-acting nicotine patches or non-nicotine cessation medications. One can always consult a healthcare provider before employing this nicotine replacement therapy.
- Steer Clear of Triggers
One must be aware of the triggers that prompt one to smoke. It is most likely that the potency of tobacco urges gets most pronounced in settings where one habitually smokes or chews tobacco. For instance, parties, bars, moments of stress, or while savoring a cup of coffee are likely scenarios. Identify your triggers and devise a plan to either avoid them or navigate through them without resorting to tobacco.
- Social networking
Formation of social networks by persons who have successfully quit smoking, and their motivation for persons in the process of quitting may definitely help in a psychological way.
- Employ the Power of Delay:
When struck by an impending tobacco craving, challenge yourself to postpone its enchantment by an additional 10 minutes. During this time, engage in activities that successfully divert your attention. Consider venturing into a smoke-free zone within your vicinity. Employing these simple but effective tactics might be sufficient to surmount the surge of your tobacco craving.
- Channel Your Chewing Impulses:
Offer your mouth an alternative activity to ward off tobacco or smoking cravings. Chew on sugarless gum or relish a piece of hard candy or elsesavor the crunch of raw carrots, nuts, or sunflower seeds to provide a healthy distraction.
- Beware of the Illusion of “Just One”:
The allure of succumbing to the illusion of satisfying a smoking craving with a single cigarette is compelling. However, do not deceive yourself into believing that stopping at one will suffice. More often than not, indulging in a solitary cigarette will lead to another, trapping you once again in the cycle of tobacco usage.
- Harness the Power of Physical Activity:
Physical exertion possesses the capacity to divert your attention away from tobacco or smoking cravings. Even brief bursts of activity, such as ascending and descending stairs several times, can successfully reduce the craving for a smoke. Venture outdoors for a brisk walk or jog.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health with these innovative ways depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. Some people find success with nicotine replacement therapy, while others prefer to quit cold turkey. There are also a number of support groups that can aid avid smokersin quitting smoking. No matter which method you choose, it is important to be patient and persistent because quitting smoking is not easy, however, it is certainly worth it for your health. If you’re ready to quit smoking, don’t give up.