Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fight Against Tobacco

What is tobacco?

Tobacco contains an alkaloid, nicotine, it's main addictive agent, which results in physical and psychological dependence.

Nicotine is a deadly poison in high doses. One drop (70 mg) can kill an average adult.

Apart from nicotine, tobacco contains 230 toxic chemicals that play a role in the onset of cancer.

Forms of Tobacco
Tobacco can be classified into smoking and smokeless tobacco.

In India , tobacco is smoked in various forms like cigarettes, bidis, cheroots, chuttas, dhumtis, chillums, hookahs, etc.


1 billion cigarettes are smoked every day in India.

Cigarettes in the Indian market have higher levels of tar & nicotine content than those found in developed countries.

Every cigarette takes 7 minutes of your life.

Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals

Smokeless Tobacco
Smokeless tobacco is consumed in the following ways:

Chewed: gutkha, pan, mawa, mainpuri tobacco, khaini, click, etc

Applied on gums, and teeth: mishri, gudhaku, bajjar, tooth paste

Inhaled: snuff

Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. Smokeless does not mean harmless.

Chewing tobacco is far greater health hazard than filtered cigarettes as the concentration of tobacco is significantly higher.

Studies have shown that pan masala causes a condition called oral submucous fibrosis that makes it 400 times more likely for a person to develop cancer than normal people. This is true even if the pan masala does not contain tobacco.

Gutkha leads to Oral sub-mucous fibrosis (SMF), a pre-cancerous disease that is a first step to cancer. SMF has been linked to the chewing of areca nut (supari), one of the main components of gutkha along with tobacco.


Bidi is the most popular form of tobacco used in India.
Bidis are made by rolling a dried rectangular piece of the temburni leaf into a conical shape and securing the roll with a thread.
Bidis contain a small amount of coarsely ground tobacco (o.15-0.25 gramms) compared to 1 gram of finely cut tobacco in cigarettes.
Bidis deliver as much as 45-55 mg tar compared to 18-28 mg in an Indian cigarette.
Bidis deliver more nicotine than Indian cigarettes.
Bidis contain high concentration of several toxic agents such as HCN, CO, NH3 and certain phenols.

Pan (betel quid) with tobacco

Pan chewing is an ancient habit dating back to more than 2000 years.
Pan consists of betel leaf, areca nut, slaked lime and catechu.
Areca nut which is a vital component of pan drastically affects oral health.
Pam contains nitrosamines which are carcinogenic in animal systems.
Pan masala

Pan masala is similar to pan and mainly contains tobaccoa and leads to oral damage.


Mawa is a Gujarathi preparation made from shavings of areca nut with the addiction of tobacco and slaked lime.
Mawa is sold by tobacco vendors in cellophane papers tied like a small ball.
Mawa when chewed excessively and kept in a place causes oral cancer.

Passive smoking

2/3 of smoke from a burning cigarette does not reach the smoker's lung but instead goes directly into the air. The effects of this smoke are similar to smoke inhaled by active smokers. Inhaling of air containing tobacco smoke is called passive smoking.

An increased risk of lung cancer has been shown in wives of husbands who smoke.

The risks of passive smoking do not stop with cancer. There is an increased incidence of heart disease in passive smokers. Children of parents who smoke have an increased incidence of cough, bronchitis, ear infection and pneumonia. Children exposed to their parents cigarette smoke have six times the number of respiratory infections.

Tobacco and women

There has been an increase in prevalence among females for both smoking and smokeless tobacco.

Women who consume 3 cigarettes per day double their risk, not only of heart attacks but also of death from other causes

Mishri use, which is common in women can lead to low birth weight babies and a reproductive effect of lower male to female sex ratio.

When pregnant women smoke, carbon monoxide and nicotine passes into their lungs and bloodstream, reducing the oxygen supply to their unborn baby. This means that their babies are:
- more likely to suffer from asthma attacks, chest infections and
colds in later life
- more likely be born prematurely
- more likely to be born underweight

Paan chewing among women in India has made oral cancer more common than breast cancer.

Smoking and Skin Aging

nJust 10 minutes of cigarette smoking decreases the body's and skin's oxygen supply for almost an hour.
smoking robs the skin of collagen which keeps the skin elastic.
smokers get more and deeper wrinkles all over their faces because nicotine constricts the tiny capillaries that nourish the skin.
Smokers in their 40s often have as many facial wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60s.

Before you quit tobacco, try wrapping your tobacco with a sheet of paper . Every time you want tobacco, unwrap the pack and write down what you are doing, how you feel and think of what tobacco will do to you. Do this for a couple of days.

Many smokers feel that cigarettes give them energy. Such people should try modest exercise, a brisk walk or a new hobby.Most smokers tend to put on weight, so not start eating rich foods.

If cigarettes help you to relax, try meditating & some new social activity.
Try choosing an opportune time to quit, such as when you are ill with a cold or flu and have lost your taste for tobacco.

On a 3"x5" card, make a list of what you dislike about smoking. Add to it and refer to it daily.

Make a short list of things you have always wanted to buy. Next to each, write its cost. Convert each cost into number of packs of cigarettes. If you save the money each day, you will now be able to buy these items.

Telephone somebody when you get craving for tobacco and talk until the craving subsides.

Try to find the company of people who do not use tobacco.

Always ask yourself, "Do I really need this tobacco or is it just a reflex?"

Try to help someone else stop consumption of tobacco.

Keep your hands occupied. Try a musical instrument, knitting or puzzles.

Make a major change in your habits. Seek new activities or perform old ones in new ways. Think of different ways to solve problems. Do things differently.

Get out of the house if you tend to consume tobacco more at home.

Keep to places where smoking is not allowed, libraries, theatres, department stores or just go to bed early during the first few days when you are trying to give up smoking.

Take a shower or do something where you cannot smoke.

Brush your teeth frequently to get rid of the tobacco taste and stains.

Visit your dentist after you quit and have your teeth cleaned to remove tobacco stains and stale tobacco taste.

When you have a craving for tobacco, take 10 deep breaths, hold the last breath while you light a match and blow it out with the exhaled breath. Then immediately start another activity.

After you quit, start using your lungs. Increase your activities and start moderate exercise, such as walks.

Place a bet with someone that you can quit.

If you are depressed or have physical symptoms that might be related to your smoking, discuss it with a doctor. It is easier to quit when you are aware of your health status.

After you quit, decide on someone who you can call when you crave for tobacco. Never face the situation of craving a tobacco alone.

Say NO! To Tobacco

Support "Crusade Against Tobacco (CAT)"
A Project by Neil Charitable Trust

Contact for HELP:
Vincent Nazareth
Crusade Against Tobacco - a branch of the Neil Charitable Trust
16, Prajakta
Andheri ( East )
Bombay 400 099


Tel:91+022+ 28215417


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.