Tobacco is addictive as it contains nicotine, an addictive substance, and this can make it very hard but not impossible to quit. Cigarettes, beedis, cigars, chuttas, dhumti, pipe, hooklis, and hookah are the smoking forms of tobacco. Smokeless forms of tobacco include chewing paan (betel quid) with zarda (tobacco), guthka, pan masala, Manipuri tobacco, mawa, khaini, kaddi pudi, chewing tobacco leaves, mishri, gul, and ingestion of tobacco water or use as snuff.

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causes many diseases, and compromises smokers' health in general. Nicotine, a component of tobacco, is the primary reason that tobacco is addictive, although cigarette smoke contains many other dangerous chemicals, including tar, carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde, nitrosamines, and more.

A person who is smoking or chewing thinks it gives them a lift & improves alertness , energy, relaxing and gives them company when they are alone but do not realize that they are entering into the most dreadful addiction, which is all physiologically, psychologically and socially addictive – turning them into an addict.

Extent and Impact of Tobacco Use in India

According to WHO, tobacco killed 100 million people in twentieth century and it will kill 1 billion people in the twenty first century (ten times higher).

Figures reveal an increase in deaths caused due to tobacco in India from 1.4% in 1990 to 13.3% in 2020. Tobacco is a silent killer and single largest leading cause of preventable disease i.e. Cancer, Heart attacks, Chronic Obstructive lung disease and Asthma.

India has a high rate of sub-mucos fibrosis and oral cancer accounting for 1/3rd of the world burden. The rate of growth of “gutka” chewing has over taken that of smoking forms of tobacco. Wider availability and affordability has even attracted women and made it easier for them to become nicotine addicts by chewing tobacco. The rising rate of lung cancer in women in India is proof of its long term harmful effects.

Passive Smoking is worse than smoking because it affects non smokers and results in inhaling of nicotine and other carcinogens while not smoking themselves but being affected by it because someone near and dear smokes. Passive smokers become the victims and have to pay for it, resulting in miscarriages, premature deliveries, low birth weight babies, sudden infant deaths and attention deficient disorders in children, a variety of respiratory diseases and cancers just as if the victim was the active smoker.

Effects of Tobacco on the body

There are more than 4,000 chemicals found in the smoke of tobacco products. Of these, nicotine, first identified in the early 1800s, is the primary reinforcing component of tobacco.
Cigarette smoking is the most popular method of using tobacco; however, many people also use smokeless tobacco products, such as snuff and chewing tobacco. These smokeless products also contain nicotine, as well as many toxic chemicals.
The chemistry: Nicotine in tobacco is a very powerful substance that affects mood, focus and thinking. In seven seconds, a puff of nicotine begins to calm a smoker’s brain.
The cigarette is a very efficient and highly engineered drug delivery system. By inhaling tobacco smoke, the average smoker takes in 1–2 milligrams of nicotine per cigarette. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine rapidly reaches peak levels in the bloodstream and enters the brain. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a period of 5 minutes that the cigarette is lit. Thus, a person who smokes about 1½ packs (30 cigarettes) daily gets 300 "hits" of nicotine to the brain each day. In those who typically do not inhale the smoke—such as cigar and pipe smokers and smokeless tobacco users—nicotine is absorbed through the mucosal membranes and reaches peak blood levels and the brain more slowly.
Immediately after exposure to nicotine, there is a "kick" caused in part by the drug’s stimulation of the adrenal glands and resulting discharge of epinephrine (adrenaline). The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes an increase in blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate
The behavioural psychology: The smell of a beedi or a cigarette or a cup of coffee automatically produces a strong urge to smoke. Similarly the sight of strings of pan masala in a pan shop or extreme tiredness after work or getting bored may urge a person to chew. A lot of smoking is done automatically, without thinking about it. Similarly for chewers, a spicy meal or hungry stomach may be the stimulus to chew. Smokers often feel they need a cigarette to feel right or to think clearly, when a chewer misses a packet, he/she feels lost and irritated. People with a history of depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and other conditions may have a harder time stopping tobacco use.

The social factors: Smoking is a social ritual for many people, shared with family, friends or co-workers. When other people light up, it is often natural for the smoker to join them.

Facts of Tobacco

Cigarette smoking or Gutkha chewing would have been a part of your life for some time, have you really cared to know what is in a cigarette that you smoke or in a packet of gutkha or pan masala that you chew.


  • One Cigarette and One Beedi contain 4000 chemicals.
  • One packet of Pan Paraag, Guthka, Khaini, has contains 3000 chemicals.
  • Nicotine is the addictive agent that makes a person a slave of tobacco.
  • 40 % of cancers detected in India are because of tobacco use.
  • One Cigarette and one Beedi reduce 6 minutes of your life span.
  • One packet of Pan Paraag, Khaini, Gutkha, Hans causes a wide spectrum of oral mucosal   lesions, called leucoplakia which is seen as a white plaque and periodontal disease.
  • An hour a day in a room with a smoker is nearly a hundred times more likely to cause lung cancer in a non- smoker than 20 years spent in a building containing asbestos.



Health Benefits of Cessation

Breaking free from nicotine dependence is not the only reason to quit smoking. Cigarette smoke can cause serious health problems, numerous diseases, and death. Fortunately, people who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.



Most people thing quitting cigarettes is an ordeal. It puts you through physical and mental anguish. You don’t feel good when you are withdrawing from nicotine. You can get depressed. You may feel your nerves are frayed.

Start your stop smoking plan with START

Cigarettes are great....... until they injure or kill you
They start to do damage from the very first puff. Dry, hot chemical containing smoke and healthy mouths, windpipes and lungs don't mix. Something is eventually going to give. If it is not cancer of the lungs, or cancer of the pink mucous membranes of the mouth and larnyx, it might be emphysema related decay and clogging of the lungs. If that stuff doesn't get ya, maybe heart disease or stroke will.


After 20 minutes:
• Blood pressure levels and pulse rate becomes normal.
• Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.

After 8 hours:
• Carbon monoxide in your body drops.
• Oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.

After 2 days:
• Sense of smell and taste will improve. You will enjoy your food more.
• Your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

After 3 – 4 days:
• Bronchial tubes relax and your lung capacity will have increased, making breathing easier.

After 2 weeks:
• Blood flow improves; nicotine has passed from your body.

Within 2 weeks to 3 months:
• Circulation will improve, making walking and running easier; lung functioning increases up to 30%.

Within 6 to 9 months:
• You’ll experience less coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath.

After 1 year:
• Your risk of heart disease will be about half of what it  would have been if you continued to smoke.

After 5 years:
• Your risk of stroke will be substantially reduced; within 5 to 15 years after quitting, it becomes about the same as a non-smoker’s.

After 10 years:
• Your risk of dying from lung cancer will be about half of what it would have been if you had continued to smoke.
• Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas will also decrease.

Within 15 years:
• Your risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a person who never smoked.


  • Your smoking will no longer be a bad influence on younger children (including your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters).
  • Think of the money you will save by not buying tobacco, lighters, ashtrays, matches and so on.
  • You will look and feel younger. Smokers are more likely to wrinkle at an earlier age and have   deeper wrinkles.
  • Your clothes may last longer (no chance of accidentally burning a hole).
  • Quitting reduces bad breath.
  • No more yellow teeth or fingers.
  • Regardless of your sport or activity, your performance, endurance and ability to play the game    will improve after you quit.
  • No need to worry about which restaurant you go to or whether you can smoke in a particular    place.
  • No more looks of disapproval or feelings of guilt.
  • No more nagging from people asking when you’re going to quit.

Methods to Quitting Tobacco Addiction

Most people find it hard to quit smoking. Quitting can be hard, but it’s not impossible.  It is never too late to quit. Kicking the habit early will also help curtail the addiction.

  • Clinical interventions
  • Counseling
  • Behavioral cessation therapies (e.g., training in problem solving)
  • Holistic Treatments
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal medicines
  • Homeopathy remedies


If you’ve tried quitting smoking before but couldn’t do it, try again. Each time you try, it will get easier. You will be one step closer to quitting for good. Now is the best time to quit. It’s never too late.

  • Pick a stop date. Choose a date 1 to 2 weeks away so you can get ready to quit.  Don't wait for the "perfect" day – just pick a date and work with it. Put it in your calendar
  • Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit. Keep the list on hand so you can look at it when you have a nicotine craving.
  • Keep track of where, when and why you smoke. You may want to make notes for a week or so to know ahead of time when and why you will crave for tobacco. Plan what you’ll do instead of using tobacco. You may also want to plan what you’ll say to people who pressure you to smoke or chew.
  • Throw away all of your tobacco. Clean out your room if you have smoked there or left a tobacco packet lying around. Throw away your ashtrays, lighters, empty packets, anything that you connect with your tobacco habit.
  • Tell your friends that you’re quitting. Ask them not to pressure you. Find other things to do with them besides using tobacco.
  • If you slip up, don’t give up. Try again, and again... keep trying until you've quit for good.
  • Get support from your family and friends.

Manage changes in mood

Mood changes are common after quitting smoking as a result of nicotine withdrawal. They will be especially pronounced if you have been using cigarettes to manage your moods and relieve stress, depression, or anxiety. After quitting, you may be more irritable, frustrated, restless, angry, or despondent than usual. You may also experience headaches, trouble sleeping, and difficulty in concentrating. However, these changes usually get better in 1 or 2 weeks as the toxins are flushed from your body and you find other, healthy ways to manage your moods.

Benefits of quitting

Reducing your chances of premature death and illness are important, but they aren’t the only benefits of quitting smoking.

  • You’ll be in control – cigarettes, beedis or gutkha and pan masala will no longer control you or your lifestyle. Your self-image and self-confidence will improve. You’ll feel proud of your ability to overcome something so challenging.
  • You will have more energy to do the things you love.

Withdrawal symptoms don't last long.  
Symptoms are strongest the first week after you quit.  The worst part is over after 2 weeks.  As time passes, you'll feel better than when you smoked or chewed. So be patient with yourself.

  • Urges to smoking, cravings -- Wait it out.  Deep breathing and exercise help you feel better right away.
  • Feeling irritable, tense, restless, impatient - Walk away from the situation. Deep breathing and exercise help to blow off steam. Ask others to be patient.
  • Constipation/irregularity in bowel habits - Add fiber to your diet (whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables).
  • Hunger and weight gain - Eat regular meals. Feeling hungry is sometimes mistaken for the desire to dip or chew.
  • Desire for sweets – Reach for low-calorie sweet snacks (like apples, sugar-free gums and candies).

Tips to deal with Cravings and Withdrawal symptoms

  • Stay active: Keep yourself distracted and occupied, go for walks.
  • Keep your hands/fingers busy: Squeeze balls, pencils, or paper clips are good substitutes to satisfy that need for tactile stimulation.
  • Keep your mind busy: Read a book or magazine, listen to some music you love.
  • Find an oral substitute: Keep other things around to pop in your mouth when you’re craving a cigarette. Good choices include mints, hard candy, carrot or celery sticks, gum, and sunflower seeds.
  • Drink lots of water: Flushing toxins from your body minimize withdrawal symptoms and helps cravings pass faster.
  • Take a walk or work out.
  • Remind yourself why you want to quit.
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle.