The advantages of quitting smoking tobacco on your health can be seen almost immediately. Your heart rate drops after only 20 minutes of not smoking. The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal within 12 hours. Within 2-12 weeks, your circulation and lung function will improve. Coughing and shortness of breath usually go away after 1 to 9 months. Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker within 5-15 years. Within ten years, your risk of dying from lung cancer is roughly half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease will be the same as that of a nonsmoker.
Today is world no tobacco day, this annual event educates the public about the dangers of tobacco use, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to combat the tobacco epidemic, and what people all over the world can do to assert their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.
World No Tobacco Day was established in 1987 by World Health Organization member countries to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.
Quitters are Winners
The theme of World No tobacco day in 2021 is: Commit to quit. "Quitters are Winners" according to this year's campaign. Here are some of the facts that show why this is true:
Over the last three decades, smoking has caused more than 200 million deaths. The annual economic costs of smoking tobacco use exceed USD 1 trillion. Tobacco use is responsible for one in every six non-communicable disease-related deaths.
China, India, Indonesia, the United States, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, and the Philippines were the ten nations with the most tobacco smokers in 2019, accounting for about two-thirds of the world's tobacco smoking population.
Tobacco control has been identified as a critical and necessary component of achieving global goals of a 25% reduction in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 2025. This is outlined in the WHO global noncommunicable disease monitoring framework. A one-third reduction by 2030 is required, as outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization issued a scientific brief indicating that smokers are at a higher risk of developing severe disease and death from the COVID 19 pandemic. Tobacco use is also associated with an increased risk of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Furthermore, people who have these conditions are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19.
Because of the COVID 19 pandemic, millions of tobacco users have expressed a desire to quit. The campaign will assist at least 100 million people in their efforts to quit smoking by forming quitter communities.
The world no tobacco Day 2021, WHO has launched a year-long global campaign called "Commit to Quit". The challenge on WhatsApp and publication, "More than a hundred reasons to quit tobacco" are being released to commemorate the inception of the campaign.
Tips to quit tobacco
There is no straightforward and easy way to quit tobacco, but here are some tips that might be able to help you
- Make and stick to a 'quit plan.' It makes no difference if you fail a couple of times. Continue to try and don't give up.
- Have a support system in place to help you get through this — family, friends, a doctor, a therapist.
- Nicotine replacement therapy, such as chewing gum or skin patches, can be extremely beneficial in alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers are examples of short-acting nicotine replacement therapies that can help you overcome intense cravings.
- Tobacco cravings are most likely to be strongest in situations where you smoked or chewed tobacco the most, such as at parties or bars, or while stressed or sipping coffee. Determine your trigger circumstances and devise a strategy to avoid or get through them without using tobacco.
- To satisfy a tobacco craving, you may be tempted to smoke just one cigarette. But don't kid yourself into thinking you can stop there. Having one usually leads to another, and you may end up using tobacco again.
- Smoking could have been a way for you to cope with stress. Resisting a tobacco craving can be stressful in and of itself. Relaxation techniques, such as - yoga, deep-breathing, meditation, etc. can help to alleviate stress.
- Physical activity can help distract you from and reduce the intensity of your cravings. Even short bursts of physical activity, such as running up and down the stairs a few times, can help to eliminate craving.
- Write down or say aloud your reasons for quitting smoking and resisting tobacco cravings. These could include:
- Feeling better
- Getting healthier
- Preventing your loved ones from being exposed to secondhand smoke
- Spending less money
Why the pandemic is the best time to quit?
This lockdown will be the perfect time to quit smoking. CDC has reported that smokers who contract COVID-19 are at a higher risk of hospitalization and receiving intensive care. Though the studies focus mainly on cigarette smoking officials believe that vaping may also increase Covid 19 complications. Quitting can be difficult at any time but it is increasingly important for people to do so right now.
Though it may still take months for a smoker's lungs to heal from the damage caused by long-term smoking, your health can noticeably improve in the days and weeks following quitting in ways that may help you fight the virus. Read more on why you should quit during the pandemic here.
Apps to help you quit smoking
QuitNow! assists you in focusing your energy on four areas: your new ex-smoker status, 70 ex-smoker achievements to keep you motivated, a strong ex-smoker community, and your newly discovered health improvements. Their distinct chat function is critical to both their competitive success and the success of their users.
The QuitNow! community offers you support and serves as a forum for you to share your success, milestones, struggles, and goals as you work to become nicotine-free.
2. Smoke Free
This app employs a science-based approach with over 20 evidence-based techniques to assist you in quitting smoking for good. Log your cravings and get tips on how to manage them, as well as insights into craving patterns and graphs to track your overall progress. You also have the option of taking part in a rigorous scientific experiment that will assist more people in successfully quitting smoking.
The progress dashboard demonstrates how your health is improving by providing information on blood pressure, oxygen, and carbon monoxide levels, as well as changes in breathing, circulation, and lung cancer risk.
3. Quitter's Circle
The Quitter's Circle is a collaborative effort between Pfizer and the American Lung Association to assist smokers in successfully quitting smoking.
You can make your own Quit Plan by deciding when and how you want to quit smoking. The app tracks milestones along the way, such as forming a Quit Team of supportive friends and family and establishing a Quit Fund to help pay for healthcare provider visits and treatments.
Quitter's Circle uses Quit Cards, emoticons, and stickers (which can be shared with your Quit Team) to keep you motivated, and milestones are celebrated along the way, such as when you've been smoke-free for a month. Friends and family can also send you motivational messages and view your latest accomplishments in real-time using the app.