The use of tobacco is a worldwide plague particularly among the young. It poses grave health threats in youths and adults.
A cigarette is a thin cylinder of finely cut tobacco rolled in paper for smoking.
Tobacco smoking is the practice of inhaling tobacco smoke.
Nicotine is the drug found in tobacco. It is used as a stimulant. While it is not responsible for causing cancer nor is it excessively harmful, nicotine to a great degree is addictive and it exposes people to the extremely harmful effects of being overly dependent on tobacco.
Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic.
Cigarettes are harmful to nearly every organ of the body. According to the World Health Organization, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. It is responsible for many diseases, reducing the health of smokers drastically. Tobacco smoking is the major source of lung cancer, it causes grave changes in one’s lungs and airways. Some changes are rapid, lasting briefly; dire changes occur gradually and can last a lifetime. Out of every five deaths caused by heart diseases, one is directly associated with smoking. Smoking increases one’s risk of developing liver cancer, it also builds up plaque in the arteries and obstructs blood flow causing erectile dysfunction. In women, smoking is a risk factor for cervical cancer. It is also responsible for type two diabetes. These are only a few of the diseases caused by cigarette smoking.
Although WHO has warned that tobacco smoking kills up to half of its users, Nigerians still embrace smoking as a way of life. It has been reported that tobacco smoking kills more than seven million people each year worldwide. The use of tobacco is responsible for over twenty percent of all cancer deaths and seventy percent of all lung cancer deaths globally. It is feared that an increase in the death rate is unavoidable in the years to come.
Smoking initiation is a process that occurs among teenagers and is cultivated among the youth. The tobacco industry not only supports youths to start smoking but puts effort into ensuring that smoking continues well into adulthood. The youth are quite relevant to the industry as the advancement from “learner” to “mature” smoking is followed by an incredible amount of increase in consumption. Without a doubt, the youth face numerous developments in life, these developments provide perfect opportunities for one to adopt and solidify smoking as a regular activity. Also, the difficulties of these life developments welcome and invite the use of tobacco for the drug effects of nicotine making smoking extremely easy as it becomes a way to deal with the stresses of life.
Some questions to be asked are: Is smoking not voluntary? Knowing it is fatal to their health, why do people still smoke? Why do smokers easily relapse?
While smokers are in control of their actions, the constant desire to smoke cannot easily be abated. Smoking is a voluntary response to an involuntary desire. It is an issue of being incapable of putting in efforts strong enough to resist an urge. If smoking were to cause an immediate appearance of lung cancer while producing only a small amount of pleasure, no one would smoke. The instancy and assurance that comes with the rewards of smoking coupled with the delay of the costs(lung cancer and other diseases) allow it to entice people in a way that appears to be irrational.
Smoking is rewarding in that it gives pleasure and satisfaction, this reward is instantaneous and is experienced once one begins to inhale the smoke, this is one simple reason people are undeterred by the risks of smoking.
Addiction involves the discovery of a source of pleasure and the resulting pattern of wanting that pleasure often. When one stops smoking for a period of time, it is normal for one to experience withdrawal symptoms which is a series of uncomfortable and unpleasant moments. At this point, many people slip up and give in to temptation which awakens their desires for pleasure, contributing to a relapse. A relapse reminds one of the pleasures derived in smoking hence, renewing the desire to smoke.
Unless prompt action is taken, the number of deaths each year will increase twofold over the next few decades. The medium to suppress this epidemic is well within our reach. Proper steps towards population protection in countries need to be taken. The tobacco epidemic is making health inequalities worse, both within countries, where in most cases the poor smoke far more than the wealthy. The aftermath of tobacco smoking is gruesome and fatal.
Cessation attempts should be channeled towards the youth as among adults who become daily smokers, nearly all use of cigarettes occur by 18 years of age (88%), with 99% of first use by 26 years of age.
Holding out against a tobacco craving is the first step to take towards tobacco stoppage. Some treatments aimed at supporting smoking cessation include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)- Here, smokers identify triggers (things that incite behavior) and it teaches them how to prevent relapses as well as coping mechanisms such that smoking can be avoided in stressful conditions.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)- In MI, smokers are assisted by counselors in examining and resolving their irresolution concerning the quitting of smoking while strengthening their motivation to make healthy changes.
Mindfulness- This is a treatment where the consciousness of patients are heightened and there is a disconnect from feelings and yearnings that may lead to relapse.
Technology and social media platforms is another means of curbing smoking cessations. Joining an online support group or communicating with family and friends will help with the discontinuance of smoking. Healthy eating habits as well as regular practice of relaxation techniques like breath focus, yoga, meditation, progressive muscled relaxation, listening to calming music, massage and so on eases the mind and relieves the stress that comes with quitting.
I am Eziolise Chigozie, a creative influence whose aim is to encourage and promote interconnection and multiculturalism through information awareness, imploring humans across the globe to take the requisite steps.
Instagram – @sci_llar