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Quitting the Addiction

Why Quit Tobacco?

You must find your own personal reasons for quitting -- your own recipe for willpower. This will motivate you far more, than the fear of health consequences.

Health effects: Leathery white patches i.e leukoplakia and red sores i.e erythroplakia in the mouth turn into oral cancer. Tobacco also plays a role in the development of cardiovascular disease--heart disease and stroke. Think if this can motivate you to quit.

Need more reasons to quit?

It's disgusting: If the health effects don't worry you, think of how other people see your addiction. The smell of tobacco is not pleasant. While you may have become used to the odor and don't mind it, others around you notice. Your clothes, furniture or car's upholstery stinks. Look at your teeth. Stained from tobacco juice, decayed tooth roots, gums pulled away from teeth.

Health of loved ones: Passive smoke gets into the lungs of near and dear ones affecting them. Would you like your family to pay for your indulgence? Think about it.

It's expensive: Think of all the things you could do with that money instead of blowing it up. It adds up. Now add to it, the costs of treating tobacco- related diseases, such as heart attacks, cancer, etc. and you will see that quitting makes sense.

Second hand smoking: Is the smoke exhaled by a smoker or smoke released from a lit cigarette. It¢s dangerous because it has over 4,000 hazardous chemicals, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, oxides of nitrogen and hydrogen, cyanide and 4- amino biphenyl. It contains hydrogen cyanide gas, 160 times higher than the danger mark and can seriously damage lungs.

Difficulties in Quitting

The reason is nicotine.

Nicotine: Nicotine (an ingredient in tobacco) is responsible for the initial pleasurable sensation in the brain. As mentioned earlier, it is highly addictive as much as heroin or crack cocaine. Over time, a person becomes physically and emotionally addicted to or dependent on nicotine. Hence to be free of the tobacco habit, we need to take care of the physical as well as psychological aspects of nicotine addiction.

How does nicotine act on the body? When the smoke is inhaled, nicotine is carried deep into the lungs, where it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body. If the tobacco is chewed, nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth. Nicotine affects many parts of the body, including heart and blood vessels, hormonal system, metabolism and brain.

Nicotine Hooks Smokers: Nicotine produces pleasant feelings that make the smoker want to smoke more. As the body adapts to nicotine, smokers tend to increase the number of cigarettes they smoke and therefore the amount of nicotine in their blood to recapture that initial sense of euphoria. After a while, the body gets used to nicotine and the tobacco users normal functioning becomes dependent on having a particular amount of nicotine in the body.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When smokers try to cut back or quit, the lack of nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms, both physical and mental.

Physically, the body reacts to the absence of nicotine. Mentally, the smoker is faced with giving up a habit, which calls for a major change in behaviour. Both must be addressed for the quitting process to work.

Symptoms usually start within a few hours of the last cigarette and peak about 2 to 3 days later.  Withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days upto several weeks.

These include the following:

  • Dizziness (which may last 1-2 days after quitting)
  • Depression
  • Feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances,
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Increased appetite

These symptoms can lead the smoker to start smoking cigarettes again, to boost blood levels of nicotine back to a level where there are no symptoms. When we realize, that tobacco neither relaxes nor invigorates or improves concentration, we will see the tobacco habit for what it really is addiction, a dependence on a chemical for our day-to- day functioning.


Our bodies react to the process of quitting tobacco almost instantaneously.

20 minutes after quitting: Heart rate and blood pressure drops.

12 hours after quitting:The carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Blood circulation improves and lung function increases.

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair- like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.

1 year after quitting:The excess risk of coronary heart disease becomes half that of a smoker.

5 years after quitting:Five to 15 years after quitting, the risk of a stroke is reduced to that of a non- smoker

10 years after quitting:Death rate due to lung cancer is about half that of a smoker. Risk of other cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, cervix and the pancreas also decrease.

15 years after quitting:The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non- smoker.

The add-ons are:

  • Look, feel healthy and have a new sense of personal control.
  • Feel energised and have more stamina.
  • No longer breathless after simple energetic tasks.
  • Dont expose children, family, friends and co-workers to second-hand smoke.
  • More acceptable in the homes of non-smoker friends.
  • Sense of smell and taste improve.
  • Smell of tobacco doesn¢t cling to clothes, hair and fingers.
  • Teeth and nails lose that ugly yellow stain.
  • Reduce the risk of gum disease.
  • Reduce the risk of developing an ulcer.
  • Women reduce the risk of infertility and men of impotence.
  • Less likely to develop deep lines around the corners of the mouth and eyes.
  • Wounds heal easily and rate of recovery from surgery is much faster.
  • If you stop smoking before you get pregnant, you have reduced chances of having a low weight baby.

So no matter how old you are, quitting at any stage of your life is always good.

Plan Ahead

The best way to quit tobacco is to have a quit date and a quitting plan. This is not something done on a whim. You have to want to stay off those first few weeks from tobacco.  

Locate your nearest TCC Centre.

  • The TCC Centers are available across the country.
  • You can easily accessed these centers at this website. Fix an appointment right here at your nearest TCC centre.
  • Just visit the “Find a TCC centre”option and take an appointment at a click of a button.
  • This facility is absolutely FREE.
  • The appointment schedule is intimated to you on your telephone/mobile/mail by the TCC centre that you’ve selected.

Support: The doctor or the dentist at TII should assure the patient that he will be present to help with the various challenges of the quit process.