My husband is 51 and is addicted smoking. I have been telling him of its ill effects, advised him begged him and threatened him—all to no avail. I would like to know the potential diseases from smoking and the available medications that I can let him take for him to get rid of this bad habit?
What Is It
For a physician, it is frustrating when patients come because they want to get well, but refuse to stop smoking. They are already addicted to nicotine. First, smoking produces an exhilarating effect and then, a craving once a person is hooked to it.
For the record, there are about 4,000 chemicals released by a cigarette smoke, with 60 of them already proven as cancer-causing. Smoking has already been established as the number one cause of lung cancer. Hence, the warning on cigarette packs: Smoking is dangerous to your health. But it seems like those who smoke (as of a health report) do not read this warning anymore.
There are other sites for cancer associated with smoking, such as the lips, tongue, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, and urinary bladder. It is also a major cause of stroke, heart attack, emphysema or chronic lung disease, and aortic aneurysm. For women, smoking is hazardous to pregnancy, leading to miscarriage, low birth weight, sudden infant death, and respiratory distress syndrome in babies.
What You Can Do
First, prevent yourself from being a passive smoker. This has the same or even worse consequence. If your husband will not stop smoking, then at the least, do not allow him to do it inside the house to prevent exposing you and your children from the hazards of cigarette smoke.
As for your husband, continue to be patient in advising him to stop. Do not nag him and whatever you will say or do about his habit, do it with prayer, love and respect.
What Your Doctor Can Do
Many drugs have been available for ridding the habit. The most recently released drug to cut nicotine dependence is varenicline tartrate tablet. Other forms are as chewing gum, nicotine patch, nicotine nasal and mouth inhaler, but these are not available locally. These are used as part of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). All of these are aimed to give the smoker a small amount of nicotine, to gradually wean or withdraw him from the cigarette. The nicotine gum contains very small amount of nicotine minus the harmful ingredients of cigarette. It is used to satisfy the craving during the withdrawal period.
However, the most important part of the therapy is his willingness to get rid of the habit. Unfortunately, many smokers stop the habit when it is already too late-after a stroke, a heart attack, or after they have been diagnosed with cancer.
There are hospitals who offer smoking cessation programs.
Doctors have a big part in controlling smoking. All doctors are now encouraged to spend even just five to ten minutes of their time to convince their patients to stop the habit. (Unfortunately, there are also doctors who smoke!) Counseling from your doctor or concerned organizations will help.
Major Diseases Caused By Cigarette Smoking
* Coronary heart disease
* Brain stroke
* Aneurysm of the aorta
* Chronic obstructive lung disease
* Cancer of the Lips
* Mouth and tongue
* Throat
* Larynx
* Esophagus
* Stomach
* Pancreas
* Lung
* Cervix
* Kidney
* Urinary bladder
* Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
* Infant respiratory distress syndrome
* Low birth weight at delivery

-Dr. Linda Lim-Varona

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