Many of India’s estimated 120 million smokers—a figure that has been growing steadily—would want to kick the habit. And, according to a recent study, the largest ever done for India and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 9.3 lakh Indians die due to smoking-related illnesses every year.
Led by Dr Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Global Health Research, in Canada, the study maintains that smoking more than doubled the risk of dying from cancer for both sexes. It also tripled the odds of dying from tuberculosis or other respiratory diseases for women, and more than doubled the risk for men. Moreover, cardiovascular risks were 60 to 70 percent higher among men and women who smoked as compared to non-smokers, Dr Jha’s team found.
So why smoke when it’s killing you? What’s important is to have the will to quit and to persevere. “Stick to the decision to quit,” says Dr Umesh Durga Naik, who was until recently senior research officer at the Goa-based National Organization for Tobacco Eradication. “Since quitting is not easy, any failure should be taken as a learning experience. And keep trying till you succeed.” Smokers can try these different methods to kick the deadly habit:
As a student, Ronit Ghosh* used to smoke occasionally. But once he started working and moved up the corporate ladder, the New Delhi-based senior manager at a multinational corporation needed about three dozen cigarettes a day. “For me, smoking reduced the stress and any relationship issues at the workplace,” says Ronit—all this even though he was aware that smoking would damage his health. Ronit tried therapy based on acupuncture, a healing system popularized by the Chinese.
By inserting tiny needles into the flow of energy at various points around Ronit’s body, Dr Anjali Sharma, acupuncture specialist at Ethos Healthcare & Education, Delhi, explains that she can help lessen the withdrawal symptoms.
After the first ten daily hour-long sessions, Ronit felt some mental calmness and a slightly reduced urge to smoke, and he cut down to some 25 cigarettes a day. After another ten sessions, he went on a fortnight’s business tour. On his return, he told Dr Sharma that he was able to manage on just ten to 12 cigarettes a day. Yet another ten sessions were planned, this time every other day. On the day of the seventh session, Ronit revealed that he’d decided to quit and would like to postpone further sessions. Dr Sharma agreed. Another month passed when the doctor got a call.
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