WHAT IS TOBACCO?
Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, which are dried and fermented before being put in tobacco products. Tobacco contains nicotine, an ingredient that can lead to addiction, which is why so many people who use tobacco find it difficult to quit. There are also many other potentially harmful chemicals found in tobacco or created by burning it.
Tobacco is one of the most widely abused substances in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that tobacco causes 6 million deaths per year. This makes tobacco the leading cause of preventable death.
how it's used
People can smoke, chew, or sniff tobacco. Smoked tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, bidis, and kreteks. Some people also smoke loose tobacco in a pipe or hookah (water pipe). Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-vaporizers, are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to the lungs in vapor instead of smoke. Chewed tobacco products include chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, and snus; snuff can also be sniffed.
Although nicotine is addictive, most of the severe health effects of tobacco use comes from other chemicals. Tobacco smoking can lead to lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It increases the risk of heart disease, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. Smoking has also been linked to other cancers, leukemia, cataracts, Type 2 Diabetes, and pneumonia. All of these risks apply to use of any smoked product, including hookah tobacco. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of cancer, especially mouth cancers.
Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of miscarriage, stillborn or premature infants, or infants with low birth weight. Smoking while pregnant may also be associated with learning and behavioral problems in exposed children.
People who stand or sit near others who smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke, either coming from the burning end of the tobacco product or exhaled by the person who is smoking. Secondhand smoke exposure can also lead to lung cancer and heart disease. It can cause health problems in both adults and children, such as coughing, phlegm, reduced lung function, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of ear infections, severe asthma, lung infections, and death from sudden infant death syndrome.
A tobacco addiction is harder to hide than other addictions. This is largely because tobacco is legal, easily obtained, and can be consumed in public. Some people can smoke socially or occasionally, but others become addicted. An addiction may be present if the person...
Cannot stop smoking or chewing, despite attempts to quit
Has withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit (shaky hands, sweating, irritability, or rapid heart rate)
Must smoke or chew after every meal or after long periods of time Without using, such as after a movie or work meeting
Needs tobacco products to feel “normal” or turns to them during times of stress
Gives up activities or won’t attend events where smoking or tobacco use is not allowed
Continues to smoke despite health problems
There are many treatments available for tobacco addiction. However, this addiction can be very difficult to manage. Many users find that even after nicotine cravings have passed, the ritual of smoking can lead to a relapse. There are several different treatment options for those battling a tobacco addiction...
The patch is known as a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). It’s a small, bandage-like sticker that you apply to your arm or back. The patch delivers low levels of nicotine to the body. This helps gradually wean the body off it.
Another form of NRT, nicotine gum can help people who need the oral fixation of smoking or chewing. This is common, as people who are quitting smoking may have the urge to put something into their mouths. The gum also delivers small doses of nicotine to help the you manage cravings.
Spray or inhaler
Nicotine sprays and inhalers can help by giving low doses of nicotine without tobacco use. These are sold over the counter and are widely available. The spray is inhaled, sending nicotine into the lungs.
Some doctors recommend the use of medication to help with tobacco addictions. Certain antidepressants or high blood pressure drugs might be able to help manage cravings.