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You can beat the smoking trap

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2006 03:00 AM

THERE are more than 4,000 chemicals in the smoke of tobacco products. Of these, nicotine is the primary component that acts on the brain. It is nicotine, which produces the good feeling that causes people to crave for another cigarette.

THERE are more than 4,000 chemicals in the smoke of tobacco products. Of these, nicotine is the primary component that acts on the brain. It is nicotine, which produces the good feeling that causes people to crave for another cigarette.

By Gilbert Muyambi

THERE are more than 4,000 chemicals in the smoke of tobacco products. Of these, nicotine is the primary component that acts on the brain. It is nicotine, which produces the good feeling that causes people to crave for another cigarette.

Frequent smoking leads to addiction which can turn into a compulsive habit even in the face of negative health consequences.

Addiction is a very strong desire for seeking and using something. Most smokers identify tobacco use as harmful and express a desire to reduce or stop smoking, unfortunately, only about 6% of people who try are successful.

When nicotine levels are low in a smoker’s body, withdrawal symptoms manifest. These include irritability, low attention span, sleep disturbances and increased appetite. These symptoms begin within a few hours after the last cigarette and quickly drive people to another smoke.
Many behavioural factors also affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

For some people, the feeling, smell, sight of a cigarette; the ritual of obtaining, handling, lighting and smoking the cigarette are all associated with the pleasurable effects of smoking that makes the craving worse.

In addition to cancer, nicotine causes lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It raises blood sugar levels, putting smokers at risk of developing diabetes. Medications designed to treat asthma, high blood pressure and depression can lose their effectiveness when combined with nicotine.

If you have not started smoking, do not. If you smoke, stop before addiction sets in. If it has set in start, on a quitting programme and get proffessional help. Try nicotine replacements like gum and inhalers to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Behavioural therapies help smokers identify environmental triggers of withdrawal and craving to prevent these urges.

Parents should study their children’s behaviour and advise them on tobacco addiction and its health effects.

The writer is a Secretary, Tobacco for Health Forum (Uganda)

You can beat the smoking trap

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