Smoking is one of the leading causes of deaths around the world. Every year, the number of smokers who succumb to smoking-related diseases like lung cancer is on the rise. Perhaps, it is time to stop.
Mark Twain, the writer of many a classic, once said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world, I know because I have done it thousands of times.”
Ramesh Arvind is a smoker. He smokes up to 20 cigarettes a day. Ramesh took up smoking in college and has not been able to kick the butt till now. Last week, he started having bouts of coughing at regular intervals. However, it wasn't until he began coughing blood that he decided to visit the doctor, who diagnosed his problem as throat cancer.
Ramesh is one of the millions of smokers whose lives have gone up in smoke However, it is never too late to stop this habit.
We all know that smoking is harmful to health. It affects not only the lungs but other organs of the body as well. When a person smokes, he not only harms his health but the health of others through second-hand smoke.
Health hazards of smoking:
Smoking is the strongest risk factor for heart attack, especially among the youth.
The growth of lung decreases and lung function is compromised.
Smoking is thrombogenic (leads to clot formation).
Causes tooth decay and gum problems
“If you already have asthma, it can also trigger an attack," explains Dr Ayesha Shahnaz, Consultant Paediatric Pulmonologist at the Apollo Children’s Hospital, Chennai.
However, one can give up smoking. And, to do this, a visit to the doctor is not required. While it might not be easy for teenagers to give up on this addiction, there are some home remedies that might help.
Natural home remedies to quit smoking
Oats: Surprising as it may sound, this grain does more than help you lose your weight or keep you energized. It helps to flush out the harmful toxins from the body while lowering the craving for smoking. It also helps in easing withdrawal symptoms.
Method: Add a tablespoon of ground oats in two cups of boiled water. Soak it overnight. Heat the soaked oats for 10 to 15 minutes and drink this after your meals.
Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper helps thwart the cravings for a cigarette. One of the medicinal benefits of this spice is that it helps prevent lung cancer, which is common in smokers. It is a great detoxifying agent and is also rich in Vitamins C and E, which helps bring down the craving for nicotine.
Method: Add ¼ tsp of the cayenne pepper in a glass of drinking water. Drink it when you crave for nicotine. You could also add a pinch of the powder to whatever you are cooking. It is also available in the form of capsules and tea.
Honey: Honey is known as ‘food of the Gods’ and with reason. Besides the fact that it is sweet and filled with nutrients, it also contains vitamins, enzymes and proteins, which helps in the pulling-out period when a person is trying to quit smoking.
Method: Add a little honey to a glass of lemon juice and drink it before breakfast. Add a little honey to a small piece of ginger or a spoon of ginger powder, mix it well and eat it twice a day to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Ginseng/ashwagandha: While it is a well-known Chinese stress-buster, ashwagandha is known as Indian Ginseng. While ginseng intake balances the emotional and physical stress in the body after you quit smoking, researchers from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi found that ashwagandha significantly lowered anxiety levels by acting as a mood stabilizer.
Method: Add a spoon of ginseng powder or ashwagandha to a glass of juice or cereal and have it for breakfast.
Foods high in alkaline content: Alkaline-rich foods such as spinach, almonds, figs, apples and raisins help in suppressing the cravings for a cigarette. Eating these foods on a regular basis eventually helps you in quitting smoking altogether.
Eucalyptus: Soak a few dry leaves in two glasses of boiling water for an hour. Mix some honey and glycerine. Drink this solution five to seven times a day for about four weeks. Your craving for smoking will just vanish.
Grape Juice: While water acts as a natural detoxifier, grape juice is an even better detoxifier. The acids in the juice are supposedly natural detoxifiers. They will increase the speed of the cleaning process and also refresh your system.
With inputs from Dr Manoj Kumar, Director of Cardiology and HOD of the Cath Lab at Max Hospital, Delhi