Smoking is one of the dangerous habits our society is addicted to. It breaks my heart to see people who have successfully quit smoking, return to it. Their excuse is usually as flimsy as unbearable work stress or mid-life crisis. Well, how does smoking help you combat those problems, I wonder? Allow me to offer compelling reasons on why you should quit smoking.
It is extremely sad to hear people, especially those with kids, claim to smoke without the knowledge of affecting their families. Have you ever wondered how you are passing on that habit to your kids? Just because you do not smoke at home does not mean your family is not affected. You are still exposing them to second-hand smoke when you return home.
Dr. Villoo Morawala-Patell, Founder and Chairman & Managing Director of Avesthagen, is driving a “No Smoking” campaign to make smokers aware just how much danger they are inflicting on themselves, their families and everyone else on the planet. During our interaction, we got a chance to understand how smoking affects the body right from the first inhalation, why people in India do not take the warnings seriously, what can be done to spread the awareness, and why you should quit smoking.
How does smoking affect your body?
“Did you know it takes only 10 seconds for the nicotine to be absorbed by the skin and mucosal linings of the nose, mouth and lungs. This increases heart rate and constricts the blood vessels as it releases the pleasure hormones in the brain.”
Tar is responsible for the loss of enamel and tooth decay over the course of time. The nerve endings of the nose are damaged leading to loss sense of smell. When the smoke passes into the lungs, it damages the lining of the airway which is supposed to keep away the germs and bacteria. As smoke fills your lungs, carbon monoxide is released into the bloodstream in place of oxygen, leading to loss of oxygen in the body. The video gives an in-depth description of how nicotine really damages the entire body and leads to cancer.
Now, we come to something interesting. Our body is equally capable of reversing the effects of smoking. Check out the following table for a detailed timeline on how the body heals itself once you quit smoking.
How harmful is passive and third-hand smoking?
“Did you know that cigarette smoke gets into your clothes, curtains, fabrics and hangs in the air so anyone in those premises is exposed to third-hand smoke, which is the same as smoking.”
Passive smoking or third-hand smoking both have the same effects on our system as first-hand smoking, depending on the intensity of the smoke in the area. It increases the risk of developing heart disease  or having a stroke  by 25-30%, just the same as a smoker. In fact, non-smokers are more likely to develop lung diseases while living with a smoker. Another reason why one should quit smoking.
Socio-economic impact and lack of policies
In India, smoking bidis and chewing tobacco is a common habit among the population with lower income people. The most common reason is its ease of accessibility and affordability. What people do not realize is that the cost of these products eventually adds up contributing to their expenditure. Also, their lack of awareness about the dangers of the habit is endangering them and their families.
Small children and females are also involved in the tobacco business right from working in the tobacco plantations to making and selling the bidis. Child labor is a major concern for the country and your choice to quit the habit directly impacts the people involved in the entire industry.
Public smoking is a menace. The law is broken constantly by someone or the other. Lack of adherence to the legislation and lack of stricter policies contribute to the increasing menace instead of addressing the habit of smoking. The gruesome visualizations and constant warnings through all forms of media have made people immune. There is a serious need for a novel idea to promote awareness of the dangers caused by smoking.
Where can you start your journey to quit smoking?
Smoking is a disease of the mind. Anything and everything you do is directly related to your determination to quit the habit and maintain that state thereafter. It is easy to make up your mind to quit smoking. The difficulty is sustaining that determination in the weaker moments. Nicotine patches, e-cigarettes and seeking counseling are useful tools to help you quit. Finding support in your friends and family helps counter the peer pressure and need for fun.
I hope I have given you enough reasons today to tell you why you should quit smoking. Your sole decision to do so would help countless people and improve their lives. Smoking affects us all on a societal level. We must tackle this habit from the grander scheme of things, starting with the individual and moving to the society as a whole.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free: Your Guide to the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Healthpdf iconexternal icon. [PDF–795 KB] Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2016 Jan 11].
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2017 Jan 11].