Cigarette smoking is hazardous to health, is a known fact. However, a study ‘Choose Life’ released by leading pulmonologists and chest physicians from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore on Wednesday, states about how cigarette smoking can be equally hazardous to patient’s mental health.
The study was conducted amongst 1000 males, of which 500 smokers and 500 non-smokers, between 25-50 years of age across different socio-economic classes. These smokers consumed at least 10 cigarettes a day. The study was conducted in 5 cities in the country- Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Lucknow.
“The main objective of the study is to highlight the mental as psychological effects of smoking. Across the country, the results of the study reveal that they are prone to hypersensitivity. Moreover, to understand how smokers also try to quit smoking and their outcome,” said Dr Prashant Chhajed, part of the team who conducted the study and a leading pulmonologist from Fortis and Nanavati Hospital.
“Smokers show hypersensitivity at least 200% higher than non-smokers. This is the first time that mental effects of smoking are so broadly studied in the country, I believe,” added Dr Chhajed.
Hypersensitivity can be explained as a tendency to be easily hurt or highly sensitive. “Smokers are generally highly sensitive towards rewards and are less sensitive towards punishments for the work they do. When one smokes it causes biochemical as well as psychological effects,” said Janki Mehta,director, counseling psychotherapist at Mind Mandala.
Smokers get affected with mental stress that is 178% higher as compared to others, with further issues such as broken sleep, lack of motivation, anger outbursts or so.
“Smoking, of all forms of tobacco consumption is highly rampant in our country. Given that, smoking has psychological effects such as hypersensitivity because it works like a vicious circle. Smokers smoke when they are happy and smoke when they are sad, this alters their emotional balance,” said Dr Rohan Jahagirdar, consultant psychiatrist at Chaitanya, de-addiction centre and many other hospitals.
It is, however true that everybody who smokes has tried at least once to quit smoking, points study. It points that smokers from Mumbai, which is 78% have made maximum attempts to quit smoking but were unable to quit.
“The dependency on the habit is so high that even after several attempts to quit, smokers struggle to succeed. Stress and increasing workload are often considered as triggers to smoke. Ironically, while it gives you temporary relief, the long term effects on mental as well as physical health could be seriously negative,” said Dr Vasundethra Kasargod, pulmonologist, Vikram Hospital.