Prohibition is not the answer: doctors advise to find a less harmful alternative to cigarettes

Victor LitvinenkoLife
Prohibition is not the answer: doctors advise to find a less harmful alternative to cigarettes

"Prohibition is not the only way to fight bad habits," says Viesturs Šilins, head of the Latvian Public Health Foundation, pulmonologist, MD. A scientist with extensive experience of working with "professional" smokers is sure: smokeless products can become the driving force that will contribute to the psychological support of smokers, help gradually give up the habit and significantly reduce the harmful effects of smoking on the lungs and cardiovascular system.

Why should students in institutions be shown the lungs of long-term smokers? What was treated with tobacco leaves and cola? How can smokers effectively "cooperate" with a physician? Read on!

Why do they smoke? Smoking as a social phenomenon

"The lungs are one of the most important organs that connects us to the outside world through the process of breathing," Schilinsch says. That's why it's so important to take care of the health of the respiratory system. Lung and respiratory diseases are some of the most common in the world and are often caused by smoking cigarettes.

According to the scientist, smoking is a socio-psychological proccess, closely related to the desire to communicate, to be in the company of like-minded people. The researcher believes that the novice smoker can become hostage to the bad habit because of constant stress at work or in his personal life.

"I think one of the biggest needs today is to show students the lungs of smokers in an anatomy museum," the doctor says.

It's almost impossible to see changes in the lungs after 1-2 years of smoking. The organ begins to change after a long period of smoking. This period can take about 20 years, when lung volumes and exhalation rate change.

"For example, compare the fingertips of a person who works at a computer with those of a person who works as a carpenter. I'm sure you'll see a significant difference!"

"The same analogy applies to the respiratory tract," the doctor states. Inhaling cigarette smoke each time a smoker poisons his cells with tar and his lungs with combustion products that eventually settle there. This is why the lungs of a smoker even visually differ from those of a non-cigarette-smoker. They are much darker compared to healthy pink lungs.

Over time, smoker's lung tissue loses its elasticity, becomes thinner and begins to miss oxygen. The expert believes that in people who have been smoking for over 20 years, the lungs will not regenerate even if they give up the harmful habit completely.

Quantity solves everything?

Tobacco leaves were once used as an effective painkiller and anti-inflammatory product to treat wounds and insect bites. Later people began to use the plant in unlimited quantities and unnatural forms, causing lung and cardiovascular diseases.

"Take, for example, the same Coke! Once upon a time, a drink made from this plant was sold in the drugstore as a therapeutic energy drink. Today the drink has a lot of sugar and is consumed in such quantities that it is impossible to call it useful," the scientist shares his opinion.

The dangers of traditional cigarette: new solutions

It is known that tobacco smoke affects the heart and blood vessels the most, so having stents that save from heart attacks is not uncommon among "professional smokers."

"The biggest problem with the regular cigarette is tar. Tars and other dangerous products of combustion significantly damage the airways, which are the hardest to repair."

While searching for a solution for his patients, the doctor began researching new smoking tools. He concluded that cigarettes should be replaced with tobacco heating systems that provide nicotine without the combustion process. Of course, tobacco heating systems are not completely safe; nicotine is addictive and causes short-term acute vascular effects. However, there are now quite a few studies that have proven the greater safety of electronic devices compared to the regular cigarette.

"Of course, I'm sure you shouldn't suffer at all. But my medical practice shows that patients who have switched from cigarettes to alternative nicotine-containing products have actually had fewer respiratory health problems."

There are those who are physically and psychologically unable to quit smoking. Then there are those who enjoy the process itself. The specialist suggests that they try to replace the traditional cigarette with something lighter and less harmful.

"Those who eventually plan to give up the habit should pay attention to the advantages like the absence of combustion, smoke, odor and small doses of nicotine," the pulmonologist is sure.

"I'm not one of those doctors who advises replacing a cigarette with a peppermint popsicle. Everyone is well aware that this is impossible. Finding a safer alternative that is not as harmful to your health is not a bad option for smokers who are not ready to give up cigarettes," says the doctor.

Prohibition does not work.

Having more patients among asthma patients and so-called "old" smokers, Dr. Shilinsch believes the medical profession has the hardest time working with smokers. After all, even with serious health problems, patients with a long history of smoking do not cooperate with physicians because they cannot quit smoking.

The pulmonologist states: you can put age restrictions on tobacco use, but you can't just ban everything, as that's not the method. Smokeless nicotine-containing products can help doctors and patients maintain lung and respiratory health and extend the length and quality of life of smokers.

Other News

'This is serious': former teammate revealed the truth about Milevskyi

"This is serious": former teammate revealed the truth about Milevskyi

Milevskyi and Popov played for Dynamo together