According to reports, tobacco claims the lives of over 8 million individuals annually, encompassing both smokers and non-smokers who use tobacco, as well as those unfortunate individuals who are exposed to second-hand smoke. The fast-paced nature of modern life often leads to heightened levels of pressure, resulting in the adoption of unhealthy coping mechanisms, with tobacco use being one of the most prevalent and perilous methods.
During an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Vikram Vora, the Medical Director for the Indian Subcontinent at International SOS, stated, “We must intensify our efforts to eliminate dependence on tobacco. Many users attribute stress as a driving force behind their tobacco usage. This stress can stem from personal, familial, societal, or professional factors. Nevertheless, a well-rounded lifestyle consisting of making healthy dietary choices and engaging in physical activity can aid in developing resilience.”
He further emphasized, “Recognizing the situations that trigger stress and subsequent tobacco use is of utmost importance. Once identified, coping mechanisms such as deep breathing exercises, walking, or practicing mindfulness techniques can assist in redirecting focus and managing stress in the present moment. If stress becomes overwhelming, chronic, or begins to impact your daily life, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance. A healthcare professional or mental health provider can offer guidance, support, and suitable interventions for effectively managing stress. Overcoming tobacco addiction is frequently regarded as one of the most arduous dependencies; there may be instances where it feels uncontrollable. During such times, it is vital to remain open to professional aid and guidance.”
He suggested, “Organizations should ensure they provide ample support to their workforce and raise awareness of the adverse health consequences of smoking. While stress management is a necessary universal practice, tobacco use is not. Every day without tobacco is a victory. Our bodies and minds are adaptable and will gradually perceive a heightened sense of health and well-being. Taking a firm and resolute first step is all it takes; the rest will naturally ensue.”
Bringing his expertise to the table, Dr. (Prof) Vijay Patil, a Consultant specializing in Medical Oncology in Mumbai, recommended the following strategies to overcome stress:
– Employ relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
– Participate in physical activities as they induce the release of endorphins, thereby enhancing your mood.
– Take breaks from work or regular routines and allocate time for activities you find enjoyable.
– Foster connections with friends and family, as social support plays a crucial role in stress management.
– Seek professional assistance if stress begins to interfere with your daily function.
To evade tobacco usage, he advised:
– Make a commitment to quit smoking and adhere to it.
– Enroll in a tobacco cessation program or seek professional guidance.
– Steer clear of triggers that provoke cravings for cigarettes, such as social settings where others are smoking.
– Consider employing nicotine replacement therapy to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.