Here’s how you can quit smoking

12 August 2019

The highly addictive tobacco is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Here’s how you can break free of this addiction and lead a healthy life.
Here’s how you can quit smoking

Dr Rakshya Pandey

One in 10 people aged 15-24 and six in 10 people among the age group of 55-64 smoke in Nepal, according to a World Health Organization survey conducted in 2008. Nearly five in 10 school students are exposed to second-hand smoke in public places. There is a high prevalence of tobacco use even in school students, health professional students and school personnel in Nepal.

The harmful effects of smoking were first reported in 1964 and more than 50 years later, we are still discovering more negative health effects of smoking. Yet, people are addicted to it.

According to the Institute of Health Metric and Evaluation 2012 data, 23.8 percent of the Nepali population smoke daily. In 2016, 37.8 percent of Nepali men and 9.5 percent of Nepali women smoked either daily or occasionally. In 2017, the number of Nepalis who died due to the effects of active or passive smoking was 24,241. From that number, 3,684 were people who had never smoked but were exposed to second-hand smoking.

Understanding the science behind how nicotine causes addiction may help one take a step towards smoking cessation. Effective treatment for tobacco dependence is available and it is never too late to quit smoking.

Why is it so difficult to quit smoking?

Smoking or tobacco use is an addiction and not just a simple habit. Like any addiction, smoking can be difficult to quit.

Although cigarette contains a large number of chemicals along with tobacco, it is the nicotine that is present in the tobacco that is addictive. Tobacco in any form—rolled cigarettes, cigar, hookah, chewing tobacco, e-cigarette (nicotine in the liquid is usually from tobacco)—contains nicotine. When one smokes a cigarette, the nicotine enters the lungs and is quickly absorbed by the blood vessels. It then reaches the brain within 6-10 sec