Saturday, June 8, 2013

Say ‘NO’ to Tobacco..

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared May 31st as World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) in an effort to promote at least 24 Hrs of abstinence from Tobacco amongst the people of this world. It is hoped that this will help those people who are trying to quit smoking. And maybe to encourage those that are not even trying.  Quitting is a step which requires a lot of courage, because first and foremost you need to realize the need to stop and admit that you were wrong. Once you do that, then only you can actually go ahead and quit. On this World No Tobacco Day, Kartavya wants to play its part in helping people make this decision.
Perhaps the most baffling thing about smokers is that there is probably not a single one who thinks that smoking is good for health. The statistics we are going to present are nothing they haven’t heard before. For instance, I’m sure everyone knows that tobacco kills one out of every 10 people. Or that approximately 5.5 million people die around the world every year due to tobacco use. And that India accounts for nearly one-fifth of those deaths. Over one million Indians dying every year due to that small cigarette you hold in your hand. 2500 dead every day. Maybe you will just shrug and say it doesn’t concern you because one cigarette is not going to make you drop dead on the spot. No it probably won’t, it’s not cyanide after all. But when you do become one of those 5.5 million people, a few years down the line, and your loved ones are desolate, it might be a small consolation to them to know that you chose this path. You decided you didn’t want to spend more time in this beautiful world. You in fact signed your own death certificate. If that is what you want, sure, go ahead and smoke that cigarette. Nobody can force you to live when you want to die. But for those of you, who just might want to live a bit longer, do read on.
One of the recent trends in this world has been the increase in the number of female smokers. In fact, it is estimated that there may be more female smokers than male smokers today. Who said that women care about looking good? These women obviously don’t. For they must be knowing that smoking is the easiest way to look older. Here is how:
·         The nicotine in cigarettes makes the blood vessels in the skin smaller and thinner, thereby reducing blood flow. This reduces the amount of nutrition and oxygen that your skin can get. So, you are essentially starving your skin. 
·         Harmful ingredients in cigarette smoke (more than 4000 of them) end up damaging your skin’s elastin and collagen – the fibers which make your skin more supple and elastic. Ultimately, this causes your skin to sag more and adds to the early appearance of wrinkles.
·         The heat that you are exposed to from burning cigarettes can also add to the formation of wrinkles by causing repeated trauma to the skin.
·         The skin becomes discolored or uneven, resulting in a patchy or paler appearance.
·         Sagging also occurs on the face and the body, making you look older than your years. Smoking is in fact the number one cause of sagging breasts.
·         Hair loss is another common side effect and significantly contributes to baldness, particularly in Asian men.
Still want to puff away at that cigarette, girls? Well maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe other smokers will find you just as attractive with wrinkles, sagging skin and hair loss. After all, they are likely to be the same way. You’ll be a matching pair. All the best for your future.
We haven’t even started on the diseases it causes. But that is easy enough. Just think about the worst diseases in this world, and you can be sure that tobacco plays a part in causing it. All types of cancer, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, cataracts, and ulcers – all due to that one small cigarette. And you know the worst part? It’s not just yourself you are killing! Around 42000 non-smokers in the US die every year due to the smoke they unwillingly inhale. And around 900 of those are babies, who don’t even have a choice. How would you feel if your child was one of them, and you were the cause of its death, simply because you couldn’t give up that one cigarette? Sounds harsh, but it could happen.
After reading all this, you are probably wondering what is the point of having a World No Tobacco Day, if it’s already too late. But there is some good news. It is never too late. There are a few things you can do to make it easier to quit:
·         Firstly, you need to drink lots of cool water (not ice cold), preferably water stored in a copper container. This will help to cleanse the body of toxins.
·         Drink milk or eat carrots before smoking. It creates a bitter taste which might discourage you.
·         Fruits rich in Vitamin C, like lemons, oranges and amla reduce the urge to smoke.
·         Ayurvedic herbs like Shatavari, Gotu Kola (Brahmi ), Ginseng and Ashwagandha and products such as Triphala and Sudarshana Choorna can also help detoxify tissues.
·         Substitute herbal cigarettes for nicotine containing ones. These are available at Ayurvedic shops and contain medicinal herbs.
·         Get sufficient exercise. Endorphins produced by exercising will help you deal with melancholy feelings that occur when you quit.
·         Breathing exercises also help
·         Most importantly, get help from your friends and family members. Their support and encouragement will motivate you to stick to your decision
It is a very, very brave step that you will be taking. Maybe it will be successful, maybe it will not. But it can’t hurt to try. If you have the courage, nothing can stop you. Just say ‘No’ to tobacco.

Contributed By: Neha Khapre, PGP 2012-14, she can be reached at