Have You Tried To Quit Smoking?
- 12 Months ago
Dr. K S Satish, leading chest physician in Bangalore, answers some common questions on smoking.
Interviewed by Wellness Team
Wellness Team (WT) - Is there a safe way to smoke cigarettes?
K S Satish (KSS) - No. All cigarettes damage the human body. Any smoking is dangerous. Cigarettes are the only legal product whose advertised and intended use -- smoking -- is known to harm the body and cause cancer.
WT - Are light cigarettes better than normal cigarettes?
KSS - No. Smokers have been led to believe that "light" cigarettes are a lower health risk and are a good option to quitting. This is not true. A low-tar cigarette can be just as harmful as a high-tar cigarette because a person often takes deeper puffs, puffs more often, or smokes them to a shorter butt length. Studies have not found that the risk of smoking-related cancers and other diseases are any lower in smokers of "light" or low-tar cigarettes.
The US Federal Government's National Cancer Institute has concluded that light cigarettes provide no benefit to smokers' health.
WT - Is it true that smoking a pipe or hookah is less harmful than cigarettes or beedis?
KSS - No. Smoking a pipe or hookah is equally dangerous to health. Hookah users tend to inhale far more smoke than cigarette smokers. More smoke translates to higher levels of nicotine, carbon monoxide and other nasty chemicals. In a study published by WHO (World Health Organisation), it was found that an average cigarette smoker took 8 to 12 puffs and inhaled 0.5 to 0.6 liters of smoke over 5 to 7 minutes. A hookah smoker may take anywhere from 20 to 200 puffs in one night and each puff is about 1 liter of smoke.
WT - How harmful is chewing tobacco as compared to smoking a cigarette?
KSS - Chewing tobacco is equally dangerous. It makes a person prone to heart disease, cancer of the cheeks, oral cavity, bladder, etc.
WT- Is nicotine the only substance that causes cancer?
KSS - There are about 6000 toxic substances found in cigarette, other than nicotine, which are harmful and cancerous.
WT- Some smokers believe that not everyone falls ill or dies because of smoking. What's your take on this?
KSS - Genetic predisposition plays a significant role. But this should not encourage smoking as 80% of lung cancers are among smokers. Smoking, beyond doubt increases mortality.
WT- How would you answer a smoker who says that environmental pollution also affects lungs, so why bother to quit smoking?
KSS - Smoking increases attributable risk of developing COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart disease, cancers, etc. by nearly 5 times more than pollution.
WT- Has the smoking ban in public places reduced the number of smokers?
KSS – Yes, especially adolescents. Messages on cigarette packs have reduced the interest towards cigarette smoking.
WT- How effective are nicotine patches? Are there any medicines that help?
KSS - Nicotine patches are effective in quitting cigarette smoking by constantly providing nicotine in small doses. Some of them include nicotine policrilex, nicotine vaccines, nicotine patch, Bupropion, Nortriptyline, Clonidine, Vernicline, etc. It's best to consult an expert for proper guidance.
WT- Any other important matter that you might want to add?
KSS - More than pharmacological agents, it is the physician's tailor-made program for an individual including education, psychotherapy, etc. that helps a person to quit smoking.
Special thanks to-
Dr K S Satish MD, DNB, MRCP (UK), Fellow British Thoracic Society.
Consulting chest physician - Fortis (Wockhardt) Hospital, Bangalore
Clinic - Chest and Maternity Center, Rajajinagar, Bangalore
Landline - 080 2340 8006