Written By: Kaneez Fizza
As a popular saying goes by…”SMOKING IS VERY DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH”. But why people are still smoking? Thinking about this argument I have decided to write an article related to smoking. Because I envision that it is compulsory for today’s society which is occupied by the curse of drugs, commonly high school and university students are involved in it. It is one of the major reasons that our youth is not focusing on their ambitions, and due to it today Pakistan, even after over 72 years of independence, is among third world country.
In Pakistan, it is estimated that the prevalence of tobacco smoking is 36% for males and 9% for females. Among young adults, especially the university students in Pakistan, the prevalence of smoking is 15% with the majority being male smokers. Approximately 1,200 children start smoking every day. This represents a huge impact not only in terms of economic costs but it is slowly depriving the country of a healthy workforce and increasing the burden of disease in the already overburdened health sector.
The reason young people start to smoke is complex and multi-faceted. It includes a host of interacting biological, genetic, psychological, economic and social variables. Arguably the most modifiable determinants are social and environmental in nature, including exposure to smoking by parents, siblings, friends, and members of the general public. Numerous studies have shown that a young person’s decision to smoke is directly influenced by peers’ smoking behaviour.
Pakistanis spent Rs. 250 Billion on over 64 billion cigarettes in the financial year, disclosed a State Bank report recently issued. The State Bank’s Statistical Bulletin reports that Pakistanis smoked 64.48bn cigarettes. The most popular brand Gold Leaf is available at Rs 120 per pack of 20 cigarettes or Rs 6 per cigarette. The main 3 companies took major part in the tobacco industry. There are a number of smuggled cigarettes which find their way from Afghanistan whose landing port is in Karachi, Pakistan. Lung cancer in Pakistan is caused directly by tobacco in 90% of cases. It claims the lives of 100,000 people every year. According to the study conducted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on national treasury versus public health 2018-19, it was learned that there are above 23.9 million tobacco users in the country, out of which 125000 are dying every year because of tobacco-induced diseases. and tobacco usage is still increasing day by day and mostly are children. More interestingly, smoking is becoming a fashion among our youth as a high amount of youth in Karachi is addicted to tobacco. Now more modern form of smoking is steadily introducing in Pakistan is “E-cigarettes”.
On top of the damage, smoking can do to your health, there are financial considerations. If you stopped smoking, then the money that you are spending on buying those cigarettes could buy you a luxury or many more. If you have decided to stop, then plan so you can prepare yourself to break your habits. Get rid of ashtrays or anything else that reminds you of smoking from your home. Do something else at your normal smoking times, e.g. not sitting in the same place or waiting at a different bus stop. Remember that cravings will usually pass after five minutes or so. Little tricks like drinking a glass of cold water when you have cravings or distracting yourself by doing something active and keeping busy really can help. Just take it one day at a time and before you know it a month will have passed and you will be well on the way to being smoke-free. It may help if you go on a smoking cessation course and use smoking cessation aids such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy like gums or patches. Smoking tobacco is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit.
The nicotine from cigarettes provides a temporary and addictive high. Eliminating that regular fix of nicotine causes your body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Because of nicotine’s “feel good” effect on the brain, you may turn to cigarettes as a quick and reliable way to boost your outlook, relieve stress, and unwind. Smoking can also be a way of coping with depression, anxiety, or even boredom
Quitting means finding different, healthier ways to cope with those feelings. Smoking is also ingrained as a daily ritual. It may be an automatic response for you to smoke a cigarette with your morning coffee while taking a break at work or school, or on your commute home at the end of a hectic day. Or maybe your friends, family, or colleagues smoke, and it’s become part of the way you relate with them. To successfully stop smoking, you’ll need to address both the addiction and the habits and routines that go along with it. But it can be done with the right support and quit plan, any smoker can kick the addiction even if you’ve tried and failed multiple times before.
The writer is a BBA student of Jinnah University for Women, Karachi.