Quit smoking, start living

May 30, 2013, 02:02 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

May 31 marks World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). The Guide spoke to smokers who have quit the habit for tips on how to kick the butt

Tobacco and its side-effects are well-known yet the habit is hard to break as is attested by the statistics. In India, tobacco usage is 274.9 million, with 163.7 million users of smokeless tobacco, 68.9 million smokers and 42.3 million users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide. Despite the challenges, there are many who have managed to break the chain of smoking and are glad to share their tale: 

Abhijeet Sant, an engineer by profession, says that self-motivation is the key for saying no to tobacco. “I lost my job as I was addicted to tobacco and used to sneak out of office every now and then to smoke. I’m a divorcee and the reason my wife left me was because she got fed up of passive smoking. After losing my job I realised where I was going wrong and decided to quit smoking. It was not easy though as I experienced stomach and chest pains at first.”

Sant explains the trick he followed: “I started by reducing the number of cigarettes I used to smoke from 20 per day to just 3-4 per day and then slowly turned to eating something when I felt like smoking. It took me more than six months to become fully tobacco-free but it’s been more than a year now since I quit. Now, I enjoy my life more and I manage to save a lot of money as well. Also, I have time to hang out more often with friends.”

While Sant opted for a gradual process, others vouch for quitting in the moment. Banker Darius Kotwal, who was a chain smoker for over 25 years, left smoking by going cold turkey. “There is nothing like leaving smoking slowly. Once you quit you should quit. My motivation were my friends and relatives who had stopped smoking and I felt that if they could do it so could I. I also believe that one must be healthy from within and that prompted me to quit smoking, I feel that life is precious and shouldn’t be wasted by smoking,” he states.

Diverting the mind is also an essential part of the process of quitting smoking. Entrepreneur Shantanu Pande, who quit smoking last year, vouches for regular physical activity as an antidote. “Regular exercise is the key for quitting smoking as it helps you focus on something productive. At the same time, your conscience should tell you that smoking is bad and only then will you be able to quit. Always read the warnings on the packet which can also help you leave smoking,” he advises.

Pande also observes that stricter action is necessary to prevent smoking. “Smoking in public should be punishable. People often smoke for fun or just to project a certain attitude. They need to understand the health hazards to stop smoking,” he states. 

World No Tobacco Day
On May 31, World Health Organisation (WHO) mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Tips to quite smoking
>> Commit fully.
>> Understand your motivation.
>> Replace negative habits with positive ones. > If you fail, learn from your mistakes and try again.
>> Exercise regularly. 

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