Tobacco is extracted from the Tobacco plant and contains about 50 harmful chemicals like nicotine and carbon monoxide that harm different parts of the body. Nicotine is the substance that causes addiction and a psychological dependency. It is a common myth that only smoking causes cancer and other diseases. Chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco (snuff), passive smoking, hookah and cigars are just as harmful as smoking cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are thought to be a way to wean self off nicotine but even they contain a significant amount of nicotine. There is a huge possibility that people in mental distress could be addicted to substance abuse to momentarily take their minds of their discomfort.
Using tobacco is the most common human-induced cause of illnesses. Cancer, asthma, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, heart diseases, female infertility are just a few ill effects of tobacco. Apart from diseases, it causes disfigurement of the face, loss of teeth and cancer of the tongue, mouth and throat. These diseases are irreversible and can’t be rectified. The components of tobacco target each of the organs and consumption over years could result in multiple organ failure. According to a survey by WHO, developing countries have tobacco with higher nicotine content as it is cheaper and easily available. It is more alarming to note that the use of tobacco and smoking is increasing in adolescents and young adults. It is imperative that children are conditioned against the use of tobacco since a young age to decrease the possibility of them using it in the future.
Having mentioned the physical effects of tobacco and how it does nothing but harm the body, it has far reaching consequences on mental health as well. People with mental illnesses are much more susceptible to using tobacco than normal people. Even performing menial daily tasks is an effort for disturbed people and nicotine supplies them with momentary bliss. Since the need to de-stress is more, so is the dependence on nicotine. Addiction itself is a matter of the mind; it only takes steeling the mind and distracting it off substance abuse. Excessive use of addictive substances is contagious and the habit may pass on to others, triggering a chain. This has been observed in young adults who are in the same educational or working environments: as the levels of stress are on the rise so are smoking and substance abuse.
The primary reason to use tobacco is reported as stress release. Individuals who use tobacco have stated that it helps them release stress and momentarily gives them pleasure. However actual studies show that the stress levels of tobacco users are much higher as compared to those who don’t use tobacco at all. So there is actually no positive effect of this addiction. The release of stress is merely perceived, the actual momentary pleasure is the growing addiction to nicotine. Stress levels increase between cigarettes when the nicotine in the body depletes, and the user needs a certain level of nicotine in their system to maintain their good mood.
The ill effects of tobacco far out-reach the momentary pleasure. Life is a wonderful gift and it is woven around many other lives. Continuing to use tobacco is putting not only you in danger but also compromising on the quality of lives of your friends and family. Quitting the use of tobacco is in everyone’s best interests and is a one-time process. You will face withdrawal symptoms and crave to use tobacco again, just like any other addiction, but if you withstand the temptation for some time, you can wean yourself completely off tobacco. Better safe than sorry. The nature of nicotine addiction is such that quitting can’t be a gradual process; it has to be a complete cut off at once. It’s a herculean task, but once you quit, you will feel like a new person.