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Stop smoking, NOW!

Dr Mohan Jagde | May 31, 2005

Tobacco addiction accounts for over 800,000 deaths each year in India.

It is also the leading preventable cause of death in our country.

Did you know a tobacco addict can improve his/ her health and lengthen his/ her life by quitting tobacco addiction along with other lifestyle changes like diet, exercise or stress management?

Given the disastrous health hazards caused due to tobacco, anyone who has ever tried quitting knows it's easier said than done.

Studies have shown that taking help of various therapies can help a tobacco addict avoid relapse of the addiction, and results in some of the highest long-term abstinence rates from tobacco. Quitting smoking or chewing of tobacco can be achieved successfully, provided the determination to quit is strong along with the involvement of different therapies.

Today is World No Tobacco Day. And if you are one among the many that are addicting to that puff of smoke, here are some therapies for tobacco cessation that you could consider:

1. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

What is it? Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a successful and approved form of medication that can help quit smoking or chewing tobacco.

Nicotine gum (NuLife) is a popular form of NRT. It is an Food and Drug Administration-approved smoking cessation aid.

What it does: It is available on a doctor's prescription. It delivers small, but sustained, levels of nicotine in the blood.

Sustained levels of nicotine are useful in tobacco cessation, because the blood maintains those nicotine levels thereby gradyally reducing the craving for tobacco.

That is why it is easier to give up an NRT gum than to give up cigarettes and gutkha.

Of course, tobacco cessation rates can increase three to fourfolds if NRT is used along with counselling, behavioural therapy and a strong determination to stop tobacco usage.

Details and costs: NuLife is available in two different varieties: Eucomint for smokers and Goodkha for tobacco chewers.

NuLife comes in three different strengths: 4 mg (Rs 3.75 per gum), 2 mg (Rs 2.50 per gum), 1 mg (Rs 2 per gum).

Where can you get it? It is available at any medical store throughout India.

Who can help you with this? A family doctor can guide and prescribe this medication. ENT specialists, onco-surgeons, chest specialists and psychiatrists can also help quit addiction with NuLife.

2. Counselling and Behavioural Therapy

What is it? Counselling therapy involves the use of continued motivational techniques and support.

The doctor helps the tobacco addict move to the preparation stage to quit tobacco addiction.

This is when you plan to initiate therapies like NRT.

The doctor or counsellor helps you change your routine or behaviour to avoid situations that increase chances of failure.

For example, if your morning ritual is drinking a cup of tea and smoking a cigarette, that cup of tea can be had later or avoided during the first few weeks.

There are alternative ways to reduce stress caused by tobacco cessation as well, like exercise, dancing or hot baths.

The combined use of counselling, behavioural and drug therapies can dramatically improve the patient's chance of quitting smoking.

Details: A family doctor can give counselling and help with behavioural problems. There are also free counselling centres at government hospitals, which have special de-addiction centres.

Also, there are many independently practising counsellors who charge between Rs 200 and Rs 600 per session.

3. Yoga and meditation

What is it? Yoga is a form of relaxation and exercise that incorporates stretching, meditation and the knowledge of the body's full potential.

It helps relieve tension and stress, and helps increase your strength and vitality.

It can help you deal with the difficulty you experience while you are quitting tobacco. Meditation calms your nerves and allows you to think more clearly.

Use the healing power of yoga along with other therapies to quit tobacco addiction.

4. Support Therapy

What is it? Studies have shown that you have a better chance of quitting tobacco if you seek social support along with drug therapies like NRT.

Support can come from your family, friends and coworkers. One way is to ask them not to smoke around a tobacco addict and leave cigarettes out.

5. Hypnosis/ Alternative Therapies

What is it? Hypnosis is a psychological technique that helps reframe your thoughts and reshape your world.

Though hypnosis is not known to be of considerable benefit, psychiatrists consider this technique helpful as long as you are ready for multiple tries and many sessions.

You must, of course, find a reputed, skilled practitioner.

Other therapies which work well with hypnosis include drug therapy like NRT, Reiki and acupuncture.

Details: There are several independently practising hypnotherapists. Costs range between Rs 400 and Rs 1,000 per session and depends on the number of sessions needed.

6. A Holistic Approach

What is it? A holistic method does not rely on one or two techniques. It combines as many as possible and addresses the life of the entire person -- body, mind and spirit.

Along with different therapies, plenty of exercise, a vegetarian diet, trying a therapeutic fast and taking vitamins during the period when you are trying to quit tobacco also helps.

While choosing potentially effective therapies helps achieve your goal, the key is to find the right combination of treatments that will help boost the chance of success.

Dr Mohan Jagde holds an MS (ENT), MCh, FAIS, MBA, DHA, Fe WHO, and is head of department, ENT, and the Head and Neck Cancer Surgeon, at J J Hospital, Mumbai. He is also the professor of ENT at J J Hospital and Grant Medical College.

Share your comments

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 5

Sub: Stop Smoking

Its a Basic logic..... Its written on the cigarette that "Cigaratte Smoking is injurious to Health"...The People who make cigarette are the most culprits ones..because ...

Posted by Prashant S. Ashtekar

Sub: All you need is determination

Giving up smoking is not that difficult. Trust me for that!!! I started smoking in 1992 at the age of 16 and by the time ...

Posted by Atul Mathur

Sub: stop smoking and u'l be blessed

i was a regular smoker for the last 7-8 years.on an average i used to smoke 4-5 ciggaretes per day.all this took a toll on ...

Posted by mohak singh chaudhary

Sub: good

its good n wil help 2 lots of addicted ppl, but insted of tat i think govt should ban tabaco firms if govt cars abt ...

Posted by Tanay Patil

Sub: Stop Smoking Now

Dear Sirs, I am addressing this to all doctors and other readers that our life is not in years, months, days, hours etc..but it is ...

Posted by Ramu


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