Artwork by

Tobacco Addiction: An Extensive Report on the Addiction

Medically reviewed by

Written by

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco addiction facts, there are around 1.1 billion tobacco users worldwide and 6 million tobacco-related deaths annually. Though these alarming statistics are hard to believe, they are a reality and tobacco addiction is a grave concern worldwide.  

Tobacco Addiction in India

In India, tobacco consumption is present in both smoke and smokeless forms of tobacco. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unless smoking prevalence rates decline dramatically, the absolute number of smokers will continue to increase.

Tobacco consumption harms nearly every organ of the human body. Tobacco consumption may give rise to adverse health effects such as cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive diseases and other serious health problems.

In India, every day 2500 people per day are dying due to tobacco consumption and every year, 9 lakh people are dying solely due to tobacco consumption. A man who consumes tobacco may increase their risks of dying from bronchitis by nearly 10 times, from emphysema by nearly 10 times and from lung cancer by more than 22 times.

A woman who consumes tobacco may increase the risk of dying of heart disease and lung cancer by nearly 12 times. People who are consuming tobacco in any form should take their health seriously and seek treatment immediately.  The tobacco cessation programme is to be evaluated on them through various assessments.

Since the consumption of tobacco is increasing day-by-day, this study aims to bring awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption and suggests suitable measures to prevent people from consuming tobacco and to promote tobacco cessation counselling.

India is second among the top 20 countries with the highest male smoking populations. In India, about 229,392,725 male smokers are using all kinds of tobacco products according to the Global Tobacco Survey of 2008. India is third among the top 20 countries with female smoking populations according to the Global Tobacco Survey of 2008. In India, 11,908,517 female smokers are using all tobacco products.

What are the causes of Tobacco Addiction?

Nicotine is a chemical present in tobacco that keeps you smoking and addicted to it. While smoking, nicotine reaches the brain and increases the release of  brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help regulate mood and behaviour. Dopamine is a kind of neurotransmitter that is also triggered while smoking. Dopamine causes feelings of pleasure and improved mood.

The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good and you keep getting addicted. Common tobacco addiction causes which trigger the urge to smoke include:

  • Taking smoke breaks at work
  • Talking on the phone
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Spending time with friends

It is important to be aware about the circumstances that are leading you to consume tobacco in order to get rid of your tobacco addiction. Awareness about the causes of your addiction will help you overcome them and seek the necessary treatment you require.

Harmful Effects of Tobacco Consumption

Compared with non-smokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of

  • Coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • Stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • Men developing lung cancer by 23 times
  • Women developing lung cancer by 13 times
  • Dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times.

Smoking causes the following cancers:

  • Acute myeloid leukaemia
  • Cancer of the oesophagus
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth)
  • Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
  • Stomach cancer

Smoking is associated with the following adverse health effects:

  • Infertility
  • Preterm delivery
  • Stillbirth
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Treatment for Tobacco Addiction

Getting rid of tobacco is really hard. In many cases, the individuals have made failed attempts to quit. Many may have started smoking as a way to cope with anxiety, depressed feelings or simply to get rid of boredom.

To quit smoking can be a very difficult journey as one needs to deal with the addiction and the withdrawal symptoms such as craving, but with determination, persistence and support, it is possible. Let us look at a few ways to quit smoking:

  • Make an action plan – Once you decide to quit, come up with a plan on how you are going to do it. Either plan to cut it down completely or gradually quit it.
  • Get rid of cigarettes – Remove all the cigarette packets from home and office. This will help you avoid cravings.
  • Avoid triggers – Look at the things and situations that trigger smoking behaviour. This can be a social event or visiting a particular place, try avoiding these once you realise these situations. Staying away from triggers will prevent you from indulging in the behaviour.
  • Stay busy – Staying busy will help you stay distracted from your thoughts about smoking.

Paste typeform embed here. Don't forget to delete this before pasting!

Tobacco Cessation Programs

Tobacco cessation is an effort to quit tobacco use at an individual level that may or may not be supported by external help i.e., family, community or health professionals. It can be described as an act, requiring a good deal of will power to overcome immediate discomforts that accompany the withdrawal of nicotine.

Tobacco cessation (colloquially quitting) is the process of discontinuing the practice of inhaling a smoked substance. Tobacco cessation programs mainly target tobacco smoking, but may also encompass other substances that can be difficult to stop using due to the development of strong physical addictions or psychological dependencies resulting from their habitual use. This study focuses mainly on the cessation of tobacco consumption. However, the methods described may apply to the cessation of smoking other substances.

A person with tobacco addiction manifests diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disorder, peripheral vascular diseases, diabetes, mellitus, lung disease, psychiatric conditions etc.

The available tobacco cessation programs in India are:

  • Self-Help Treatment: Self-help strategies may include written materials, audio or videotape, computer programs and telephone hotlines. Materials can be tailored to particular populations such as different ages or ethnic groups, or individual smoker characteristics.
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available in gum, transdermal patches, intranasal spray, inhaler devices and sublingual tablets. The total duration of treatment was examined and the use of patches beyond eight weeks was no more effective than stopping treatment at eight weeks.
    The gum was found to be least effective in the hospital setting. The results for patches were more consistent between settings suggesting that patches may be more suitable in the hospital setting.
  • Other Medications: A range of anxiolytic and antidepressant medications has been tested for effectiveness in smoking cessation. Of these, only bupropion was found to be effective when compared with placebo or NRT.

It is believed that very few smokers can successfully quit the habit in their very first attempt. Many studies indicated that many smokers find it difficult to quit, even after they get afflicted with tobacco-related diseases. A serious commitment and resolve are required to arrest nicotine dependency. For that, Tobacco Cessation Counselling is needed.

The stages of tobacco cessation programs are:

  • Precontemplation Stage: The person has never thought of quitting or has never listened attentively to smoking/chewing tobacco and health information.
  • Contemplation Stage: The person is thinking about the harmful effects of continued tobacco use as well as thinking about the ways to stop consumption.
  • Preparation Stage: The person has already worked out ways to stop tobacco use.
  • Action Stage: The person is no longer using tobacco and has managed without any form of tobacco for up to 6 months.
  • Maintenance Stage: The person not only has stopped using tobacco for over 6 months but has made changes towards long-term abstinence. This is called maintenance. The person returns to regular tobacco use after a period of abstinence. Once relapsed, the person may go to any of the previous 4 stages. This process is called relapse.

The intervention techniques used in this Tobacco Cessation Counselling are behavioural counselling, ventilation, psychological support, and motivation.

Tobacco Addiction Treatment at Cadabams

You may know friends and family members who would be using tobacco very casually. However, the harmful effects are not clearly known by people. Our de-addiction specialists at Cadabam’s Anunitha are here to help your loved one recover from tobacco addiction. Cadabam’s Anunitha uses a holistic approach to help the person recover from addiction and also helps the client abstain from using the substance. Taking time is losing a day, reach out to us now at +919611194949.

Book screening with our director of triage,  Kamlesh Verma
Take the first step


Here are the 5 most asked questions about tobacco addiction.

  • How does tobacco become addictive?

When you use tobacco products, nicotine present in them gets quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. The nicotine reaches your brain and releases adrenaline, creating an effect of pleasure and energy within a few seconds of entering your body.

The effect fades quickly though and leaves you feeling tired, a little down and wanting the effect again. This feeling is what makes you light up or chew the next cigarette or other tobacco products and this becomes a habit. Seeking this feeling very frequently, leads to consuming tobacco more and more.

  • Do you know what tobacco contains?

Tobacco primarily contains nicotine besides about 300 other chemical com­pounds all known to be harmful to the user. Some of the compounds which induce cancer like carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, tar, many irritant substances, at least 16 of them, are known to be dangerous. This leads to lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema, heart diseases, gastric irritation.

  • The reason why it is hard to quit smoking tobacco?

Most smokers say they do not plan to be smoking in 1, 2 or even 3 years. But, in fact, more than 70% of smokers continue to do so. When smokers halt or reduce their tobacco use, a host of distressing symptoms quickly set in. People are tempted to start smoking again to relieve distress.

  • Do you know tobacco has withdrawal symptoms?

With respect to the level of addiction, the timeline of the symptoms might differ (mostly 30 min after the last use). The severity of the symptom depends on the amount of usage on the daily basis. The symptom of withdrawal includes the intense carving of tobacco, continuous coughing and sore throat, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, tingling in the hands and feet

  • What is the situation of tobacco addiction in India?

There is an array of smokeless and smoking tobacco products available in India that people can smoke, chew and snuff like cigarettes, bidis, hookah (Indian water pipe), cheroot, cigar, khaini, zarda, gutkha, paan (with tobacco) and mawa.

Healthcare experts estimate that around 5 million people are addicted to tobacco. Most users started when they were under the age of 18. Those who have friends/parents who use tobacco are more likely to start than those who don’t. These data display how tobacco has, unfortunately, become the biggest global health threat.

Share this article on social media

Articles you may like

Also watch