Nicotine replacement therapy aids people to quit smoking: Expert

Dr Gutta Lokesh, interventional pulmonologist at Manipal Hospitals
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Dr Gutta Lokesh, interventional pulmonologist at Manipal Hospitals

Highlights

Tobacco smoking is linked to several chronic ailments, including cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke, stated Dr Gutta Lokesh, interventional pulmonologist at Manipal Hospitals here.

Tadepalli (Guntur District): It has long been established that tobacco smoking is linked to several chronic ailments, including cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke, stated Dr Gutta Lokesh, interventional pulmonologist at Manipal Hospitals here.

Speaking with The Hans India here on Monday, he said that tobacco smoking is one of the leading causes of death and disease in the country with about 1.35 million people dying each year.

Stressing on the necessity of quitting smoking, the pulmonologist says that it improves health to live longer. Quitting smoking also reduces chance of heart and lung diseases, kidney failure, infection, stomach troubles, diabetes and cancer, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, make skin look younger and minimise the chances of having sex difficulties. He said that most people find quitting difficult and it may take numerous attempts. However, assistance and support are nowadays accessible. The pulmonologist said that nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as increased appetite, sadness or anxiety symptoms, sleeplessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, constipation and restlessness are common after quitting smoking.

On the importance of changes in behaviour to quit smoking, the doctor said that one has to make lifestyle changes to reduce stress and improve quality of life such as starting an exercise, minimise time with smokers.

Referring to the nicotine replacement therapy, the specialist said these medicines reduce the body's craving for nicotine.

Nicotine patches deliver nicotine to the blood through a skin patch. Several doses are available, he said adding that the highest-dose patch (21 mg/patch) is usually appropriate for people who are used to smoking 10 cigarettes (half a pack) or more daily. People who smoke less might choose a lower-dose (14 mg) patch. Patches reduce the withdrawal symptoms but do not eliminate them.

Referring another method, he said that nicotine gum contains nicotine that is slowly released as one chews it. Gum is available in two doses—4 mg (for people who smoke their first cigarette within 30 minutes after getting up) and 2 mg (for people who smoke their first cigarette after being awake for 30 minutes or longer). Varenicline and bupropion are pharmacological medicine that works in the brain to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cigarette cravings.

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