Say NO to Tobacco!

Today on the Slice of Health show, in honor of World no tobacco day, the discussion is about how to quit smoking for good. World No Tobacco Day is observed every year. It encourages a 24-hour abstinence from tobacco with the view towards reducing the international consumption of tobacco products.
The guest on the show is Dr. Waseem Mohideen, a wellness expert, who over the years has helped many nicotine addicts kick the habit.
He says that smoking is different from any other form of addiction. The most important factor to quitting is to understand if the person really wants to quit. If they don’t want to, you can’t make them. There are 3 types of smoking addictions – Habitual, physiological, and psychological. Habitual addicts – Their addiction is more of a hand-mouth movement and coordination. No amount of nicotine patches will help them, because it’s not the nicotine that they are addicted to. Physiological addicts – Their body is now addicted to nicotine, and needs certain dosage of it to feel normal. They would require nicotine patches and other supplements to help them quit. Psychological addicts, on the other hand, would require counseling.
Most of the time, smokers have an overlap between the 3 types of addictions. Identifying what kinds of addictions they have is the first step to treatment.
Quitting cold turkey could work for a habitual smoker, whereas physiological addicts would experience severe withdrawals. The same way one diet or exercise won’t suit all body types, no one way of quitting works for all addicts.
Jane asks the Doctor if he has seen people with severe addictions successfully give up the habit.
Dr. Waseem shares the story of how a client smoked 120 cigarettes a day, and how he successfully quit the habit.
Nicotine is the addictive drug that gets smokers hooked. Jane points out that the younger generation has given up smoking and taken up the habit of smoking marijuana instead! Even though the substance is not legal, it is available fairly easily. Dr. Waseem insists that any kind of smoking is bad for you, no matter what smoke you’re inhaling.
He says that there are 2 usual reasons people come to him for help in quitting – when they see their child take a pencil and imitate the smoking act, or when they see a smoker young person die young. These are the two highest motivators for quitting tobacco.
A Caller, Sumathi, wants to help her husband quit. He smokes about 5-6 cigarettes a day. He has been a smoker for about 30 years, but now that he’s pushing 50 and they have an adolescent son, she feels that it is high time he kicks the habit. She says that even though he’s reduced the number of cigarettes a day considerable, he has still not been able to quit even though he wants to.
Dr. Waseem points out that if he really does want to quit, that’s already the first big step to actually quitting. Next would be to identify what type of addiction he has, for which he would need to meet with a wellness expert at a clinic, in order to understand the reasons for his addiction. Based on this, a treatment system can be worked out.
Most often, men come in saying that their wives want them to quit and they want to give it a shot. But if they’re not determined, it will not work. The smokers themselves would have to put in 60-70% of the effort. Wellness experts can only help about 30-40%.
Recently, women have started to come for treatment before they get pregnant or married. Dr. Waseem says that even though women take a lot longer to become addicted, there is no difference between men and women when it comes to de-addiction.
It takes typically about 3 months to get de-addicted, and it’s not usually cold turkey. Many smokers do have slips and take about 3-6 cigs in during the 3 months, which is perfectly normal. After that if they start again, it’s considered a relapse, whereas if they start again after a year, it’s a fresh addiction.
In conclusion Dr. Waseem has only one thing to reiterate: If you want to quit smoking, you can be helped to quit. If you don’t want to, there’s nothing anybody can do to make it happen!

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